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Random Acts of Responsibility

© Fred Nickols 2012


Each morning I go for about a one-hour walk.  I vary my route but I frequently walk down to a grocery store that is roughly half an hour distant.  Recently, I have noticed on several occasions that someone threw a beer bottle onto the sidewalk and broken blue glass is scattered about.   I pictured myself coming back with a broom and dustpan to clean up that broken glass.  After all, children and old folks walk that sidewalk regularly and it doesn’t look like anyone from the city is going to clean it up any time soon.  Then I shrugged off my passing fantasy.

Today, as I was returning to the Naval base where my wife and I are  staying in an RV park (known as a “FamCamp”), in addition to the broken glass down the street, I noticed an empty beer can lying on the sidewalk at the entrance to the main gate.  I bent down, picked it up and, once on the base, I placed in a recycle waste bin.  As I did so, it occurred to me that I had just committed what could be called “a random act of responsibility.”  That started me thinking about what the world might be like if hundreds or thousands or even millions of people engaged in random acts of responsibility on a regular basis.  What might such a world be like? 

Picture a company where the employees regularly engage in random acts of responsibility.  What might that company be like?  How would you encourage that kind of behavior? 

Frankly, I think all you’d have to do is introduce the concept accompanied by a few examples. 

Consider this.  I trekked down to the grocery store this morning because I had a few things I wanted to pick up.  I used one of the little hand-held baskets but, instead of leaving it at the checkout station as I usually do, I put it back in the stack of baskets by the entrance where I got it when I came in. 

I’m sure you can think of your own examples of random acts of responsibility. 

Me?  I’m going go clean up that broken glass.


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This page last updated on June 27, 2015