I believe that I have shared about our love of trash day around here. We live on a circle, and on Thursdays three different trucks pass our house twice daily: one truck is for trash, one is for yard waste, and the last is for recycling. The trucks circle the block for one side of the street, then turn around and cover the opposite side of the block.
The little people in my house love Thursdays–all day long they stop their play to run and watch the trucks with their beep beep beeps and loud noises. You would think after a few trucks went by they would lose their interest, but they don’t. They run to wave at the men driving the trucks. On those days when we have an unusual pile in front of the house, they watch in rapt fascination as the workers haul it into the big dumper on the front of the truck.
It used to be that the trucks would pass our neighbors’ house and then pull over along the common area and empty to dumper into the back of the truck. The little guys couldn’t see the process too well, but they craned their necks trying to see what was happening. One day, the driver of the “trash” truck saw the little bodies lined up at the front door watching and he did a trash truck show for them, raising the dumper and emptying it RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE! The kids clapped and waved and jumped up and down. They were SO EXCITED! The driver waved and drove on his way, but he had made several children very happy.
The following week, he did it again. And the next week, and he has continued putting on the trash truck show every single week since he saw the joy on the faces of a bunch of toddlers.
We love our trash truck driver. His name is Lamont and he works for Waste Management. He sings and smiles and waves, no matter what the weather or the quantity of our trash. Sometimes Superman goes out to talk to him and help dump the trash, or my daughter has taken him bottles of water when its been so hot. But this week, my husband and I saw something new.
It was about 7:30 AM and we were sitting in the living room while I downed my coffee. My husband had turned the sprinklers on to water the garden and the lawn in anticipation of the 100° plus temperatures we have been having day after day. My husband told me to look outside and we saw Lamont standing in the sprinkler trying to cool down. I forget what my husband said to him, but it was clear that he was welcome to cool off for as long as he needed.
As they chatted, Lamont shared that he was trying to finish his rounds as early as possible, not because of the heat, but because he was to sing in a wedding that afternoon. Bottle of water in hand, he headed back to his route with a wave.
My husband got on the phone and called Waste Management. We both got to tell a very surprised customer service representative how this man, our trash truck driver Lamont, had brought joy and happiness to us because of the way he approached his job. As we took turns sharing stories about his kindness, the man on the other end of the line was practically in tears. He said we had made his day by calling him to praise another employee.
It is a lesson to me about how easily we can build up another person, or take one’s service totally for granted. Lamont is a person who has come into our lives in a very unusual way, but we value him. He brings joy to his job, and joy to my little people, AND hauls away all the rotten smelling garbage that we generate every single week.
How thankful are you? Do you value that person that is almost anonymous but who really is a part of your world? Do you even recognize their presence? The service(s) they offer? Or do you limit your interaction with customer service departments to only your complaints?