What is it? One sunny afternoon in Redondo Beach [CA], I saw a man on the beach picking up trash.
“I’ve been doing this for 30-years,” he said with a smile. “I’ll sit down on the beach to read and I’ll notice trash all around me. I’ll put my reading aside for a little while and start picking it up.”
“Why do you do this,” I asked and he replied, “It’s my beach and I want it to be clean.” And with a grin he added, “It’s being nice to the environment and I also get some exercise from doing it.”
As I looked at the white sand around him, I noticed it was clean. There were no soft drink cans, no candy wrappers, no cigarette butts nor other garbage.
“Most people don’t do this,” he commented. “Sometimes I wonder what they think when they see me do it. Then I say to myself, ‘who cares,’ and I do it anyway,” he said with a grin.
And as we parted company, I shook his hand and thanked him for making our community nicer.
A few weeks later I met a woman at the beach who walks each day to keep in shape. “Whenever I see graffiti,” she said, “I call the city. I like to keep the beach looking nice and when I call, they always remove the graffiti.” I shook her hand and thanked her as well.
Later that day, I met two teenagers, a boy and girl doing community service by taking recyclables from the trash and recycling it for the city. The city made money from their work and the trash that would have gone into a landfill went instead back into productive use.
And these teenagers learned about the environment and the difference their work made. But no-one thanked them. So with pleasure, I did and watched their faces light-up with joy and with pride.
As you see, it only takes a person or two to make a community a nicer place to live and there are roles for anyone who wants to participate. And the best thing is it feels good to do.
Occasionally a good deed might even bring romance. The Webmaster of this site, Craig Edelman met Angie Bera, his love of five-years when he volunteered with a group of others to pickup trash on the beach for a day. Angie was the project’s coordinator and love soon bloomed.