I’m a weird bird, I’ll admit it.
If I’m home when my mail carrier arrives, I’ll meet him at the door and tell him thank you. I figure they don’t see a lot of people on their day route, and I should be grateful to them for saving me time by delivering my mail every day (and picking up all the packages I send out on a daily basis).
Also, My aunt (who’s retiring soon) works as a supervisor in his office, so every now and again I get “Stories” from him. Fun stuff.
But I also say thanks to my sanitation engineers.
Most of the time, I just shout out a “THANK YOU!” as they’re scooping up the bins and driving away.
But not today.
On our sanitation trucks (and I think this is common in most areas, but just for clarity) there is a driver and a rig man. He’s the guy that rides on the back end of the truck to grab the bins and dump them into the back end.
Seems pretty dangerous and labor intensive to me. Which is one of the reasons I make sure to say thanks.
But today’s rig man was a jerk.
So he got no thanks of any kind.
In retrospect, he may have been having a bad day, and I think that’s true in any business. We have days that aren’t so great. We shove and slam and bang things out of frustration, thinking that taking it out on the inanimate object will make us feel better.
But he cracked the wheel on my trash can when he hucked it half way across the road.
Needless to say, I felt a little disgruntled and saying “thank you” would probably have sounded a bit sarcastic.
So I just sighed as he drove away, collected my impaired trash bin, and hobbled it up to the garage for next week’s adventure.
And I started thinking about all the times I’ve been the trash man to others.
When I yelled at my kids when they didn’t deserve it.
When I ignored a request from a friend because I didn’t feel like it.
When I had a bad day and didn’t give 100% to my customers.
When I (God Forgive me!) lied to my boss about being sick, so I didn’t have to work on an important project that bored me to tears.
When I get frustrated with myself and start calling ME names.
I could go on for hours with this list – as I’m sure you could, too.
The point is, we can either accept these “character flaws” as a part of who we are, or we can strive to improve with each passing moment. We can make a point of doing the work it takes to do the right thing, or we can keep hucking the neighbor’s trash cans across the street, breaking the wheel, and along with it their trust and our credibility.
So I’m sorry for being a jerk. To You. To My Kids, family, friends and former bosses.
I’m also sorry for being a jerk to myself. Getting frustrated when I truly had no control over a situation, knocking myself around when I didn’t deserve it.
And I’m sorry I couldn’t tell today’s trash man what I always want to say.