Originally posted on my previous blog archive site
Friday, June 12, 2009 - Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
Current mood: amused
I needed to make a quick run to the convenience store to get some milk this morning. Normally, I’d actually run (well, let’s be honest, walk) to the store because it’s only a few blocks away. For some reason, I took the Rav instead.
Bizarrely, the closest convenience store was OUT of milk! So, I navigated around some back streets (the street that the convenience store is on is one way) to go to the next closest. The street I choose is one that I drive on quite frequently. It’s not a major street but it’s not a minor one either, especially at the tail end of rush hour.
The light at the corner was just turning from yellow to red as I approached so I slowed to a stop. Apparently the car behind me was in a rush because the woman blasted her horn. I was obvious that the light was red and that I wasn’t turning right. Did she want me to go through a red light? I glanced at them in the mirror and there was a car full of teens driven by an older woman. One of the teens was trying to ask the woman something and she just pointed to the window in disgust while continuing to glare at me. The teen shrugged, opened the window, and threw out one of those large plastic Dunkin Donuts ice-coffee cup.
Now, I really don’t like people who litter. I especially don’t like people when they throw trash out of cars. It shows a lack of respect, a lack of personal responsibility, and a disregard to the people who live there. I doubted that saying anything to them would change the situation so I figured that I’d lead by example.
Since the light was red, I put the Rav in park and got out. I walked toward the passenger window of the offending car. Without looking at them or addressing them in any way, I simply bent down, picked up the trash, and walked back past my Rav to the trash bin on the corner.
However, before getting to the bin, woman started to honk and yell, “move it!”. Apparently, when I was picking up after them, the light had turned green and she couldn’t go forward because I was in parked at the light in front of her. She couldn’t go around because of oncoming traffic. Basically, she was stuck there until I put the trash into the bin. By the time I got back to the Rav, the light was red again and the woman was screaming a blue streak and the kids were laughing.
She rolled down her window and screamed at me to “get in the fucking car and go!”. I wasn’t quite back in the Rav at that point so I turned back to her and calmly responded with, “If you hadn’t allowed your child to irresponsibly throw trash out the window, then I wouldn’t have stopped to clean up after them.”
She responded with, “You have no business doing that! We’re going to be late because of you!”
That’s when my bitch kicked in. I (still standing outside my Rav, with the light having changed back to red again) said, “If I see someone doing something wrong and I don’t take action to correct it, then I am just as much to blame as they are. I figured that saying something about trash would be lost on you so instead I chose to simply pick it up and throw it out. You’re the one who let the child thrown garbage out onto the street and you’re the one who confronted me. I was simply teaching by example.”
She said, “Yeah, how do you like this example? Are you going to pick up my trash too?” and promptly threw her Dunkin Donuts sandwich bag and ½ full coffee cup out the driver side window. With a very large smile I said, “Nope. I’m going to let you take responsibility for your own actions.”
What she didn’t realize, was that there was a cop about 30’ away watching and listening to the whole thing. When he saw her throw trash out the window into traffic, he came over and said to me, “Why don’t you get on with your day. I have this.”
As I drove off to the convenience store, the nice police man was writing her a ticket.
The moral of the story? Do the right thing BECAUSE it is the right thing to do Sometimes when you do the right thing for the right reason, you get the added bonus of watching someone being forced to take responsibility for their own actions.