To clean-up, it takes only ‘One’

In the current environment of “Cleaning up India”, a lot of people ask “what can I do alone that will make a difference”? This story details what can be done at the physical level. Moving beyond physical “cleaning” , we can look at “cleaning up” the environment around us: at office, at home, socially etc. And “ONE” can make all the difference.

to clean up it takes only oneThere’s a stretch between two Chicago avenues that’s always surprisingly clean. That’s because of an ageing man called Don.

His neighbours know almost nothing about him, other than that he’s polite, sturdily built and very quiet. And they know that virtually every day of the week he brings out brooms, shovels and a barrel on wheels. Then he starts sweeping the streets, shoveling the litter into his barrel.

He’s been at it for several years, from early in the morning until his barrel is full. The weather means nothing to him. Just about all the merchants in the area know him. Some have offered him money or a cool drink on a hot day. But he won’t accept gifts, and he doesn’t like to talk much.

“I managed to speak to him once,” recalls a local car salesman. “He says he’s lived here all his life, and he’s proud of Chicago and thinks everyone should join in keeping the place nice.”

Another businessman said, “He doesn’t want any recognition at all. He says other people volunteer to work at hospitals, and this is what he does.”

In this tell-all age, it’s nice to find someone who likes things neat and makes streets clean. Simple enough. But it’s more than most people do for their town.

By Mike Royko in Chicago Tribune