Yes, this is a story about a garbage can. Well….sort of. More importantly it’s a story about determination and the innate desire to do the right thing.
As I was walking home on this blustery, bitter cold afternoon, I sat down on a bench for a quick moment to write an email. Far too cold to walk and type. It’s days like this I realize I basically live in a wind tunnel on this little island in the East River of NYC. The bench I sat down on was in front of a small fenced (caged?) in playground. In the playground there were a few parents and a bunch of little kids. A whole pack of 2 ft high people.
I noticed this one little boy escaping. He was working really hard at undoing the latch which was out of his reach. When another adult happened to walk in he made a run for it. Of course his alarmed mother yelled out to him and he promptly responded, “I need to throw this out”.
With that he made his way to the garbage can which was just beside the bench I was sitting on. Up he tossed what was left of a quarter of an orange peel. Of course the hole at the top of the can was out of his sight and certainly out of his reach. So he gave the orange his best shot which landed on top of the can but not in the hole.
The look on his face was priceless. His sweet profile trying to figure out what to do now. With that he turned to me and without needing to say a word, he asked for help. Of course I got up and nudged the orange into the can. He smiled and off he ran.
All I could think about was “A” for effort. The amount of determination this little guy showed in getting out of the playground, over to the can and the look of dismay when he missed the shot. But he wasn’t done. He had a problem to solve and with almost no hesitation he asked for help from a stranger. It was clearly very important to this little man that he not litter and the orange peel needed to be properly disposed of.
He was determined to complete his task. And so he did. Just one of those little moments in life that makes you smile, teaches you a lesson and offers an opportunity to never look at some things ever the same again. Even a garbage can.