"I felt like I was going to be a mashed potato," little Elias Quezada said

A curious 7-year-old who'd climbed into a garbage bin was saved from a grisly fate by a careful sanitation worker who spotted him in the nick of time.

Elias Quezada was wondering what the inside of a trash can would be like — so on Tuesday, he climbed inside one outside his home in Tampa and closed the lid, he told Fox affiliate WTVT.

But just moments later, a garbage truck rolled by, picking up the bin with a mechanical arm and tossing it in the back, where a garbage disposal-like blade awaited.

"Yes [I was scared]," Elias told WTVT. "I felt like I was going to be a mashed potato."

Inside the house, Elias' grandmother Carmen Salazar said she heard screaming, and initially thought her grandson may have been hit by the truck, or was trapped beneath its wheels.

Fortunately for the family, sanitation worker Waldo Fidele was behind the wheel — and as he checked his surveillance video, managed to spot Elias and hit the stop button just in time.

"It was a bad day for me," Fidele told WTVT. "I was scared."

Sanitation worker saves boy
Elias Quezada
| Credit: Fox 13 Tampa Bay

Shawn Plunkett, operations manager for Waste Connections of Florida Operations in Tampa, said that the truck treats trash the same way a garbage disposal does, and that after it gets dumped, it's taken straight to an incendiary.

"He's truly a hero. If he hadn't been paying close attention to the job, we would all be searching for a missing 7-year-old today," Plunkett told the Tampa Bay Times. "Nobody would have ever known what happened to him."

As for Elias, he said that he's certainly learned his lesson — at least, when it comes to the big trash cans outside.

"Unless it's like, a tiny trash can that's inside the house, then it might be fine," he told WTVT.