Heart of the Home: Woman Shows Appreciation for Men on Garbage Truck

A reader talks about random acts of kindness shown by her mother, specifically her generosity to the men on the garbage truck in her neighborhood.

| Fall 2017

  • Working on a garbage truck is hard work.
    Photo by Getty Images/PeopleImages

My mother, who raised eight children, knew how difficult things could be, and she also realized there were a lot of thankless tasks that had to be done.

So, one particularly hot summer day many years ago, she put a bottle of soda inside a paper bag filled with ice, and set it on a small chair in the front yard, along with cups and napkins for the garbage men. She included a note, letting them know that the cold soda was for them, and that she appreciated them and the job they did week after week.

From then on, it became routine to leave a drink for the garbage men. Even when she was battling cancer, she never forgot those hardworking men who collected the trash.

Years after my mother passed away, I saw one of the garbage men, and he told me they still missed my mom. He said they truly appreciated what she had done for them. He said it was a thankless job, and that it was nice to know that someone realized how tough the job was, and that they always worked up a thirst.

I was happy to know that someone, other than friends and relatives, still remembered my mother. She would have been pleased to know that her gesture meant something to them –
and happy that they appreciated her efforts.

This act of kindness reminds me that what we do really does matter. Sometimes, the simple things not only change our lives, but they just might change others’ lives, too. So, each night before I go to bed, I try to ask myself, “Have you done anything to make a difference today?” Hopefully the answer is, “Yes.”



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