Law of the Garbage Truck

My friend Malcolm trolls the internet and often sends me interesting items I would never otherwise see. Recently one landed in my inbox entitled “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” I don’t know the origin of this story nor can I credit its author, but I will paraphrase it to pass it on.

The man successfully flags down a cab, jumps in and gives his airport destination. He flops back in the seat for a quick moment’s rest and to get his ticket and ID in order for airport security. He is running late. Suddenly he lurches forward as the cab driver slams on the breaks skillfully stopping just inches from a white compact that pulls out from a street parking space. The offending middle aged male driver now sticks his head out the window, screams and curses the cab driver, while violently waving his arms in the cab’s direction. The cab driver just smiles in return and gently motions the offending driver to continue on his way. The driver does but he is still yelling and looking back at the cab as he speeds off. The passenger is perplexed. “Why were you so kind to that idiot?” he asks.

“Many people are like garbage trucks,” the cab driver explained. “They run around full of garbage, full of anger, frustration, disappointments and even fears. They need a place to dump it and sometimes that place is on you. It is not personal. Just don’t take it that way. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.”

“The secret is not to let them dump the garbage on you to take home to your family, friends, or even spread it among co-workers. Let it end with you! Don’t let the law of the garbage truck survive beyond you!”

When I finished the story I said to myself “I know that.” But I soon had to admit I did a poor job of executing patience and kindness with garbage truck drivers. My first impulse is to seek immediate justice as if the other person cared what I thought. I thank the unknown author for this simple but effective story. It could help reduce road rage.