Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Law of Garbage Trucks

--by nickgrand, posted Jan 28, 2008

[ Original story, by David J. Pollay ]

Sixteen years ago I learned an important life lesson, in the back of a New York City taxi cab.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station.  We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.

My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded,
and missed the other car by mere inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us.  My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.  And I mean, he was actually friendly!

So, I asked him, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and could've sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me about what I now call, "The Law of Garbage Trucks."

"Many people are like Garbage Trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it, and if you let them, they'll dump it on you.  When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. Instead, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happier because you did."

Wow.  That really got me thinking about how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? AND, how often do I then take their garbage and spread it onto other people: at work, at home, on the streets?  It was that day I resolved, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

Since then, I have started to see Garbage Trucks everywhere.  Just as the kid in the Sixth Sense movie said, "I see dead people," I can now say, "I see Garbage Trucks." :)

I see the load they're carrying ... I see them coming to drop it off.  And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

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Readers Comments

joel wrote: I have a chromebook, and i just missed the garbage, last night when i fell asleep at 3 in the morning, i didn't realize that i was suppose to take the garbage out, my dad does this thing where he let's me take the can to the dump so we don't have to deal with it. It's gotten really bad, but i'm just trying to understand this story because it's a good way to understand why i'm not taking out the garbage. Anyways i look at it like this i have a bunch of garbage that i don't remember to take out. And it piles up, and then i get introuble.
michelelpurcel wrote: Awesome way to handle these situations. Thanks!
Tarik wrote: God plus you , its true you face so many of them throughout your live at work at the street and they are full of thier garbage we gott do what u have been doing and release the garbage some where else , thanks the moral of your story is to mind your own business and let others move out of your space
agnes wrote: Its so touching
Salvatore Buttaci wrote: We would be wise to let go the trivial things and give more attention to the joys of life. A wonderful article, one i need to keep reminding myself each time life's "garbage trucks" try to run me down!
BIll wrote: Excellent perspective! One of the simple principles i gleaned out of my psychology background is that the way people treat you is 90% about *them* and their history - and has little to do with you. It's hardly ever "personal".
thaata wrote: It really is very difficult to act cool on such occasions and requires a lot of will power. But this graceful act brings such peace of mind, it is worth practicing.
ollie wrote: Thank you for this lesson. God bless you too tom.
doris.plaster wrote: Wonderful, inspiring story.

Thanks for sharing.


Www. Doris-socialworker. Blogspot. Com
Baxter wrote: This really touched my soul and opened my eyes! Now i can see everyone has a garbage truck but i can lighten their load if they wish to dump it on me just by smiling and nodding or waving. If they dump on me it will just roll off my back and they may have less garbage to carry. I hope!

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