On garbage trucks and life

A friend sent this article to me quite some time back. It has helped changed my attitude towards ‘garbage trucks’ a great deal. 🙂 

Read on:  

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 one can get back their focus on what’s important. Sixteen years ago I learnt this lesson.  I learnt it in the back of a New York City taxicab. Here’s what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station.  We were driving in the right lane 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!

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. 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 personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy you did.”

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,” 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 favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. 

He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was 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?

Here’s my bet. You’ll be happier.

Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so…
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don’t.


A quote on similar lines that I read somewhere and loved:

“When you are talking to a fool, make sure that he is not doing the same thing.”


Filed under Life, Motivation, Musings, Sourced

12 responses to “On garbage trucks and life

  1. kaushik

    Hi Priya, Thanks for the cool story. Its a neat way of looking at it. Somehow, i guess i´ve been doing this for quite sometime now instinctively but this is a nice story to enforce this thought!


  2. priyaiyer


    hi! i guess i was doing it intuitively too for some time, but after reading this, i can clearly picture a garbage truck in my mind when i am faced with such a situation. it has helped me a lot. 🙂

  3. Good one 🙂 Helps a lot indeed to tackle ‘garbage trucks’. Needs a lot of resolve though.

  4. priyaiyer


    thanks! yep, it does need a lot of resolve, but the picturisation helps. 🙂

  5. hi
    nice story…
    and the last quote…is a good one…

    Take care

  6. priyaiyer


    thanks! 🙂

    welcome back. long time?

  7. D.K.Suriya

    🙂 , Hi.. , Nice One..Have a Nice Day !!

  8. priyaiyer


    thnks! wishing you the same! 🙂

  9. A similar quote: “Don’t argue with a fool, the spectators can’t tell the difference.”

  10. priyaiyer


    he he! that was a good one! 🙂

  11. had read the garbage truck thing before. Had gone out of my head. I am glad I read it again now. I needed it.

  12. priyaiyer


    hey! welcome here! 🙂

    am glad it helped….

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