A man with a bag....a challenge to apathy

As I was driving to robotics training out at TSTC today, I witnessed something truly amazing and rare.  At the intersection of Steinbeck Bend and Lake Shore drive, in the middle of a grassy island separating the intersections, there was a gentle old man.  His body was worn; his back slumped, and his gait arthritic--but he boldly wore a smile as he gingerly carried his plastic bag.  At first I was concerned.  What was he doing?  Why was he in the grass at the middle of this intersection and why was he carrying a bag?  And then I witnessed what America used to be about...that thing that made us all want to stand and salute our flag as one nation UNDER GOD....that thing that brought us all together after 911....that thing that somehow, somewhere along the way, the younger generations and even the nation as a whole lost sight of.  What am I talking about?  I am talking about an elderly man in the middle of a Central Texas intersection in the midst of the deadly Texas heat carrying a garbage bag, wearing a smile and picking up TRASH.  Yeah that's right!
He saw a mess.  He saw a mess in the middle of a city that he took pride in and he didn't simply roll his eyes and drive by.  He didn't sigh and make some sarcastic comment about kids these days.  He DID SOMETHING.  He struggled to not stumble, I could see the wear on his body with each step, but there he was...smiling and all the while methodically picking up trash tossed out of the windows of passing cars without even the slightest hesitation or second thought.
I sat there at this red light and watched as he bent and picked up piece after piece of trash.  No one asked him to do that.  He wasn't earning a paycheck.  He wasn't serving some kind of community service.  He did it because it needed to be done.  Car after car passes that intersection day after day and they all either didn't notice or just expected the people who are paid to do that to show up and clean.
As the light turned green, I rolled down my window and yelled "Thank You!".  He gave a quick glance my way and a friendly wave of the hand and continued about his task.
I was moved.
I thought of him all day.
What could I do?  How could I pass along the joy of this sight.
I pray this post did just that.  I pray that you pause a moment and consider this single lil old man who decided to DO SOMETHING.


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