Love and respect

March 30, 2021

By Jeff Becraft

This morning I took our recycling bin out to the curb.  The reason I knew that today was the day is because my neighbor had his bin out there.  That’s how I keep up with such things.

As I was mashing up boxes to stick in the bin, a man was walking down the street.  I have seen him before.  He walks around our neighborhood on a regular basis.  He is usually on his phone and I never see him looking around much and so it has been hard to get his attention to be able to have any interaction.

Once, I caught his attention just for a second and I waved and he semi-waved back.  I have never seen him smile.

The mashing of the boxes was taking longer than expected and I was starting to run a little bit behind.  When I looked up and saw the gentleman coming, I said in a lower-than-usual voice, “Hey… how’s it going?”  He replied with a similar response.  (Now I’m not sure why I do this sometimes… speaking in a lower voice.  I’m not sure if that’s like a dog sticking up the hair on its back or a bird puffing out its feathers or what.  Or maybe it just made me feel better because I’m having a hard time showing these boxes who’s boss.)

I was on a mission to get off to work and so I continued mashing the boxes.  (And I would like to know… why is it that when I need a box I can only find some flimsy contraption that easily falls apart but when I have to break down all these boxes in a short period of time, they are thicker than normal cardboard and are taped together with this industrial strength tape that you have to cut with scissors?)  The man walks on by.

As he is about 15 feet past me, I catch myself, and I call out, “Thank you for what you have done for our country.”  (I have often seen him with an Army shirt on.)

He turns around toward me, looks me directly in the eye and with a huge smile on his face says, “Thank you for that!”

“You are in the Army, right?”

“Marine Corps!”… still smiling.

“Thank you for what you have done.”

And still with a huge smile on his face, “Thank you for saying that!”

Two people, who for years now have had no interaction with one another, connect for a few moments on a street.  Not only is his day shifted (who knows what sacrifices that he has gone through so that I can live in a neighborhood and haul a recycling buggy out to the curb) but my day is shifted.

Love and respect… it doesn’t take much talent.  It just takes effort.

It’s a great day to have a great day!


Jeff Becraft is the Executive Director for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives.  Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].