RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – If you don’t live around Richmond Hill you may not know the name.
“My real name is Zacariah Martin. But we like to call it Zach,”
To his Bryan County community, Zach is kind of a big deal.
“I don’t think he realizes that he’s a local legend as much as he is,” said Zach’s mom, Erika Martin.
For as well known as he is around Richmond Hill, it’s the train cars running through town that mean the most to him.
Zach is 21-years old and he is autistic.
“When Zach was younger, he used to line things up. That was just one of those things where he self-stimulated on – which is typical for kids with autism,” Erika told WSAV.
Zach’s love for locomotives really took off when he was younger living in Vermont. That affection blossomed after a train ride in Pennsylvania.
“Boxcar, have you heard of that one? Tank car,” Zach asked.
All of that has turned into afternoons around Richmond Hill visiting the tracks and waiting and watching for a train to race by.
“I like how long they are. I like the variety of cars. It has to have two or more engines pulling,” Zach explained.
The love Zach finds in trains has peaked an interest around Richmond Hill.
“For parents of kids that are differently-abled, we want people to not be aware of them, we want them to accept them,” Erika said.
Almost 2,000 Facebook followers are curious about what he’s up to. The train workers also notice him as they drive by sometimes tossing him things like branded company clothing and an old train key.
“I want those engineers to recognize me so they can be my friends,” Zach said.
The Richmond Hill community is full of Zach’s friends whether or not they’ve ever actually met in person.
“He’s not mine anymore. He really belongs to this community. He’s Richmond Hill’s boy,” said Erika.
The simplicity of Zach’s adoration can be an example for the rest of us taking the small things for granted. But, it can be even bigger than that. Perhaps it can be a lesson in learning how to navigate life.
“I think a lot of adults think we have some wisdom to impart to the younger generation but I think sometimes we have to step back and let that younger generation teach us a little something and I think that’s who Zach is,” Zach’s mom said.
Through the help of the Richmond Hill community, Zach has started a job at a local McDonald’s.
On top of his love for trains, he’s also got a passion for drawing, thunderstorms and collecting crickets.
You can keep up with Zach and check out his drawings at his website, www.cricketsandtrains.com.
You can also visit him on Facebook by clicking here (https://www.facebook.com/zachsworld1/).