THE POWER BEHIND THE SMILE AND THE PHRASE--- "THANK YOU."
It was May 4, 2018. Three days earlier, I’d moved into my new (New to me-but actually “older”) home in Hot Springs Village. It was the most stressful move of my life. As a result, I kept suffering “movers-panic”, constantly- wondering when I’d find all-the-pieces of my life.
I’d spent another sleepless night, alarmed by the unfamiliar night-time sounds around me. A neighbor told me that Monday Morning at 8:30 AM was the regular garbage pickup for our street. Today was Monday and, looking around, I noted several large bags of trash that qualified as garbage.
By the time I heard the garbage truck headed in my direction, I’d placed the garbage can on the spot where my driveway ended at the street. As the huge truck rounded the cul-de-sac, the two men standing on the truck’s back platform looked surprised to see me. I’ve since learned that most retirees in the Village-- no longer forced to live by an alarm clock or a morning schedule---tend to be late risers. They put their garbage cans outside the evening-before so they can sleep through trash pickup.
I Smiled and Waved and-at the same time- yelled “Good Morning.” I watched as one of the men expertly-emptied my garbage can in the garbage truck then returned it to its original spot. Still smiling, I said: “Thank You.” Both men were looking my way as the truck began moving to the next block and joined me in waving “goodbye.”
There was nothing unusual about my exchange with the garbage collectors; it seemed completely natural. All my life--- I’d watched my Father speak to delivery men, wave to Policemen and Emergency Workers, and never-fail to say “thank you” to every Postman who delivered the mail.
I also remember the day my Father suggested to my brother that anytime he saw the garbage men collecting his trash--he should stop, smile, and say “Thank You.” Like my father said: “Some people are forced to take jobs they don’t want--jobs they feel are “beneath” them--but they take the jobs because they need the money. When you make-it a point to “thank” people for performing a service-- like disposing of your trash—you make them feel needed. You allow them to take-pride in themselves and what they do.”
Fast-Forward to December, 2019. Just a few days before Christmas, I went to the end of my driveway to retrieve my recently-emptied garbage can. I was surprised to see a white envelope taped to the top of the can. Releasing the envelope from the can’s top--I noted it was addressed to “MS. MILLER.” I carefully opened the envelope to find a beautiful Christmas card covered in gold and silver Angels. The pretty card said: “MERRY CHRISTMAS”--FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOUR HOUSE.”
At the bottom, someone had carefully- written, in beautiful cursive: “Your smile and friendliness always brightens our Garbage Pick-Up Days. God Bless You--forever.”