I knew that the trees in my neighborhood that were near utility lines have been under assault for the last couple days. I live in a low-medium income neighborhood where most people own their homes. It’s a diverse neighborhood in a city in the South (of the U.S.) that is well known for a high crime rate for its size, but to my neighbors and I it feels very welcoming. People of many colors, cultures, and backgrounds can live here in relative harmony versus what we see not only happening in close proximity to us, but also what we get fed to us by angry people from all aspects of media on a daily basis. For all intents and purposes of this story, I am a white guy in my mid-thirties.
I heard the roar of commercial trucks outside my window as I was preparing for a long afternoon-late night shift. I saw that the huge truck that was facilitating the felling of any limbs from the beautifully mature, yet very dangerous and potentially harmful trees in our neighborhood had found a parking spot in my driveway.
My first reaction was slightly indignant.
“I like that damned tree. It gives me shade!” Then I remembered how often the lengthy branches of the mature loblolly pines lining the street I live on come crashing down on our power lines any time we get the slightest hint of ice. “Ok. I’ll play ball with this, but sh*t, they parked that huge truck behind me.” I thought as I could catch a glimpse out of the window in my shower. “I’m going to be late to work.” I calmed myself a bit, and just went about my routine, all the while telling my dogs to be cool in a chill voice because I didn’t want these guys that were working hard to cut down limbs I can’t reach to be hassled by fearful dogs. I walked out to my car and was meant by many stern-faced, probably Mexican men. I base that on my ability to recognize their dialect rather easily. It turns out, they were not blocking me in, and they helped me ease out of my driveway.
No big deal. I thought nothing else of it…a couple smile and thumbs-up, and I was on my way.
Until I got home late at night.
One of these guys had taken a leaf-blower to my very neglected carport and cleaned out a bunch of neglected leaves and debris that I had let pile up over way too much time. He pushed that debris to the curb to be collected with the tree trimmings. I really dreaded that chore, and a complete stranger just whisked it away for me for no reason other than general kindness.
I know our world has a lot of negativity in it on a daily basis, but I have to be grateful for this gesture, and I will do my best to find a way to pay it forward. This random act of kindness restored my faith in humanity.
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