I love going to the dump. I have always loved going to the dump. Some of my earliest memories involve climbing into the back of my Dad’s old Ford truck and “helping” him unload various manner of debris. I enjoyed tossing many items into the hole, but I especially enjoyed this when something broke. As further evidence of my stunted evolution, a few weeks ago, I hucked an old toilet onto the concrete deck at the bottom of the dump pit and it shattered, big-time. I carried this small thrill with me for the rest of the day.
Yesterday, I went to the dump again. I was met with mixed emotions as my dump had changed. A large and complicated renovation has been in the works for quite a while and is now complete. “Out with the old and in with the new” is the way of the world. I understand this, but still feel a little sad knowing that I will never again stand on the same worn and chipped slab that my Dad parked our truck on so many years ago.
Well, as I always do, I got over my melancholy and saw the tremendous opportunity in this new facility. It has separate recycling, scrap and yard waste areas. I like this. I always feel a little guilty throwing known recyclables into the trash. However, my guilt is always overcome by my laziness. My new dump will allow me to recycle and still be lazy. This is good.
As I drove into the new building and pulled into an empty stall, a dump worker came over to my vehicle. This has happened before and, in my experience, it is never a good thing. This day was different. He inventoried my load, which was mostly grass and grape vines. He asked if I had any garbage mixed in. I did not. He then directed me to the new yard waste area and informed me that it is cheaper to dispose of clean yard waste than trash. He then took the extraordinary action and called the lady dispatcher in the cashier shack and informed her of the change in my load status.
I was awed by his gesture and began to really embrace this new dump. I have come to not really expect much in the customer service department from dump workers, but this guy was awesome. He was genuinely helpful and took ownership of his job, and by extension, my experience. And, if I were ever so inclined to actually hug a dump worker, it would have been him.
I left the dump happy on several levels. Firstly, I am always happy having disposed of some baggage and the cleansing that comes with that and this was achieved. Secondly, the new dump allows me to also cleanse my conscience by not chucking my recyclable goods straight into the landfill. Thirdly, my new dump showed me that human goodness and integrity exists in any and every field of vocation. This lesson is often challenged, but my hope in this idea always lives and was indeed confirmed by a simple gesture by a guy in an orange vest.
Inspiration and faith in the value of a common humanity has many shapes and wears many differently colored vests. But, it is as simple and obvious and evident as a walk down the street or a trip to the dump. It lives wherever we live. We give hope life by being hopeful. And we give faith life by being faithful. We create the world we live in. So…create well…like the guy in the orange vest did…
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]