Greatness when no one is watching.

A few days ago was recycling day on our street. We put the recycling out at night for a 7am pickup. Needless to say most people are not up and out before the pickup. Every few recycling days over the past couple years (at least every few that i’ve noticed), a man comes down the street with a shopping cart picking out the glass bottles (wine and beer) from the recycling. I’ve never really paid attention to him, figuring he needs the money he’ll get from turning them in and he’s really dedicated.

But the last recycling morning was after a major storm. So that morning as I was getting ready for work, I heard him coming down the street, and just looked out the window in curiosity. (Side note: shopping carts coming down a street is really not a stealth move. They are loud. Really loud.) I saw, looking out, that our neighbour’s garbage/recycling had tipped over and was spilled along the gutter by the rain and wind.

I watched as the shopping cart guy came to their driveway, took a glass bottle from the recycling bin for his cart, then proceeded to pick up all their recycling that was strewn about, and put it all back in the container which he put upright. It took about 45 seconds to do. 45 seconds that i’m assuming other people walked by on their morning walks and ignored. This guy did it with no thought, no reason and no reward (minus a found bottle).

Would you take 45 seconds to be great when no one was watching, and the result was doing something nice that no one will ever know?

Here’s my cheers to this guy, and the simple, yet great, thing that no one would even know he did. Till now.

13 Comments

  1. thatguyinlondon
    June 12, 2011

    Thanks for sharing that.

  2. AndrewEchidna
    June 12, 2011

    +1

  3. Greta
    June 13, 2011

    Good story 🙂

  4. Matt Bergmann
    June 13, 2011

    Nice story. Sometimes it can be the little things that make a difference in a good way. Glad you took the time to write this blog post.

    I know the guy (if he’s the one downtown)… If you really want to make his day, leave a case of empties out for him.

    Cheers!

  5. Sebastian
    June 13, 2011

    I like this story. I like what these guys do so I usually put empty beer bottles in the recycling so these guys can make some extra cash.

  6. Anonymous
    June 13, 2011

    There is so much truth in the saying “Your true self is shown in the things you do when no one is watching”.  Thanks for sharing Aaron, the world needs more stories like this one!

  7. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    Thanks Greg!

  8. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    Thanks Greg!

  9. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    Thanks Greg!

  10. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    That’s really nice of you.

  11. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    I’m just outside of downtown, so he may be. Its definitely a proactive way to get some money. I’ll see if i can leave some next time. I think wine bottles works too.

  12. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011

    If only one person in a household understood this, wouldn’t our world be a lot better place? 
    Thank you for sharing this story and reminding us, at least me for sure, about how the small, seemingly insignificant, acts can mean so much. 

  13. Lisa Bondy
    June 14, 2011

    Great post Aaron! It’s always the little moments that make us realize something really big.  Thanks:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *