Lessons From the Trash

One evening, my brother and I saw a man digging in the trash at a local Coffee Bean. My brother and I recognized this man as one of the cafe’s “regulars,” usually sitting outside with his dog and a cup of coffee. Because the man uses a cane and walks with a limp, we inferred that he had some a physical disability. Since my brother and I assumed the man was not homeless based on his clothing and car were both thrown off to see him digging in the trash.

A few minutes later, the man went up to the register and started talking to the barista. Being nosy, my brother and I tried to hear what he was saying, but all we heard was him repeating a number– 75. The barista gave the man some gloves, and he continued digging in the trash. My brother and I just watched as he dug and dug. 

After a couple of minutes, another man (let’s call him Bob) was about to order his coffee when he saw the man digging in the garbage. Instead of ordering, Bob immediately took out his phone, turned on the light, and held it over the trash can. The man was so happy for his assistance, but unfortunately, he still couldn’t find what he was looking for. What happened next was even more surprising. Bob put his phone back in his pocket, and began digging for him, and within a minute, he found the item that the man was looking for: a huge ring. My brother and I then heard the poor man thank him, telling him that the ring was in his family for 75 generations. Bob then smiled, washed his hands and ordered his drink.

I share this because Bob’s kindness deeply touched my Brother and I. Rather than just watching, Bob took action and made the man’s day. My brother and I learned a huge lesson that day. Rather than just watching, we learned that we should take action. We both felt embarrassed for just watching and not doing anything about it. We learned to be selfless. 

“And help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” [Quran 5:2]

About the Author: My name is Michelle and like many of you, I’m constantly on the go. If I am not busy studying for school, I’m volunteering for my local community. My love for Islam kept me motivated. I grew up in West Hollywood, and although I love my city, I never had strong Muslim community. Most of my knowledge came from my parents and online. What constantly kept me motivated were personal articles that I would come across describing Islam and the impact it had on people’s lives. Specifically, I once read an article about how smiling was a form of zakat and even though the act is small, it really does go a long way. I wanted to create content where even the busiest of people would still be able to take a quick break to be reminded of the beauty of Islam and how it truly is a way of life. By sharing my stories and how Islam has affected my life, I hope to motivate my brothers and sisters the same way I stay motivated.

Check out Michelle’s Website!: muslimgap.com

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