The Law of the Garbage Trucks

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, for an instant you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly she can get back her focus on what’s important.

I learned it in the back of a Harare City taxi cab. Here’s what happened. I hopped in a taxi and we took off for Westgate . We were driving when all of a sudden a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches!

Here’s what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any Zimbabwean, some words in Harare come with a special face.

Now, here’s what blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personal. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy you did. I guarantee it.

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck." I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said,

"I’m not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," where the little boy said, "I see Dead People." Well now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don’t make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favourite Football players of all times, Ronaldino, does this every day on the football field. With a smile he always jumps up as quickly as he hits the ground after being tackled. He never dwells on a hit. Ronaldino is always ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.

Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? You’ll be happier. I guarantee it.

Author unknown


4 thoughts on “The Law of the Garbage Trucks

  1. Ye Olde

    Hi Kate,
    just a small expresso today please, thank you!
    What a philosophical man… far to wise to be driving a taxi, but reading your words made me think, and you / he are right.
    There are too many garbage trucks around, ( what a great description ), with too many people just ready to dump on you.
    Most mornings on the way to work I have a " garbage truck " incident , and arrive well worked up, with my own garbage truck in tow.
    Well not tomorrow, for I shall take on board the words of the wise taxi driver fron Harare City, and his disciple, and I shall keep you updated as to my state of  mind!
    just as a small comment, what an interesting name,  Author Unknown, and unusual as well : o )
    Have a good weekend, the weather here has been  wet again all week,but is supposed to be dry for the next couple of days.
    Apparently we are in for an " indian summer ", so we will all wearing shorts for the next few months ( I dont think so somehow ).
    take care,
    see you soon
    Woof woof x

  2. Cindy

    I love this story … I have too often in my life let too many garbage trucks dump a lot of garbage on me and I’m sure I’ve been the garbage truck myself a time or two or several.  Something to think about.  Thanks!

  3. Kenneth

    This must be the most mild mannered taxi driver in the world, most taxi drivers I have known have always responded to the
    erratic driving of other road users, by blasting out a venomous stream of expletives.
    He is quite correct of coars high blood pressure is a killer, something I have never suffered from, mainly because I do not allow garbage trucks to "steal my energy" my power and my peace of mind. I quite simply will not have it.
    "Remember"  if someone is trying to anger you, that it angers them more to see you waltz away smiling.  🙂 


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