Knightly Trash Service

I was driving on the freeway during my lunch hour the other day when I witnessed something that brought to mind the actions of a knight. The road I was on was not far away from the county landfill, and the trucks on their way to the dump sometimes lose some of their contents. On the side of the road you often see all sorts of refuse.

This day in particular, I noticed a big stake-bed truck driving along with an advertisement for a local tree trimming service on the side. I’m sure it was full of cuttings and branches, and was on its way to deposit them in the landfill. It was a typical landscaping service vehicle: The truck looked like it had a lot of miles on it, and like the entrepreneur owner was far too busy with his business to worry about regular maintenance.

Then, up ahead, I saw a large bag of garbage on the shoulder of the road. The bag had obviously fallen off of one of the many vehicles taking trash to the dump. It had split open when it hit the ground, leaving an ugly pile of household trash on the roadside.

As I drove along, I was surprised to see the gardening truck slow down, then stop, then in my rearview mirror I saw the crew of gardeners scramble out and start to collect the trash, tossing it all into the back of their truck.

This struck me as a particularly noble and generous thing to do. Most people would certainly have sped right by the trash spill, assuming someone else would pick it up. Most small business owners would certainly have claimed they didn’t have time to fix someone else’s mess. But these gardeners saw something they could do to help, regardless of the fact that there was no profit in it for them and that the job would doubtlessly be an unpleasant one. They screeched to a stop and took responsibility for something that wasn’t their responsibility. If that’s not chivalry, I don’t know what is!

— Martin Overton, Oregon

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