Doing The Right Thing When No One Is Looking

doing the right thing

I'm not arguing that it's not cool and all to get props when you do nice stuff, go the extra mile, and extend kindness — in fact, I love giving credit where credit is due and acknowledging when someone is showing signs of legit badassery. It's important to show appreciation for the good acts others bestow upon you and your community, but equally important is that we all strive to do the right thing when no one is looking. And I was reminded of this good human standard on the day after the recycling truck rolled down my street. 

You see, the front entrance of my community had experienced something of a paper goods malfunction. Loose remnants of shipping envelopes, empty takeout containers, and Amazon Prime boxes had gone rouge throughout the grassy easement between the street and the shrubbery that frames my 'hood. It was a significant amount of liter that had somehow escaped the metal mouth on the backend of the recycling truck earlier that day. 

As my family and I exited the neighborhood on our way to dinner I remarked, "Oh my gosh! Look at that mess," but within one mile I had forgotten about the paper graveyard, awkwardly welcoming friends and pizza delivery drivers into our little cluster of homes. That is until I left the next day on my weekly grocery gathering excursion (which is way more exciting and glamorous that "grocery shopping") and noticed a woman collecting all the cardboard and card stock that had been blowing into the bushes and trees over the past 24 hours. 

Just one woman and a bag; seeing a problem and providing a solution. Did I pull over, get out and offer to help her? Nope. I cruised on to the store thinking how awesome this lady is for doing the right thing just because it needed to be done. Now that the moment has passed, I'm disappointed in myself for not joining her and helping, as there was a buttload of debris and I'm sure she would have welcomed another set of hands. 

I can't change the fact that I was too self-absorbed to seize the moment and help a sister out, but I can move forward with a new perspective and the reminder that opportunities to be a better human are abundant and diverse. The key is to not overthink the situation or make it too complicated. If there is an issue that I have the means to improve, then I should simply do the damn thing; grab my metaphorical bag and get to work. Committing to take the opportunity to do the right thing in the present moment is the best way to elevate your life and the lives of those around you on a consistent basis. (Whether someone has eyes on you while doing it or not.)