We are often so caught up in our own lives that we just completely ignore everyone else that we may pass by in the street; they are strangers after all, so why should we take note of them?
The following story though, shows just how important something as small as a smile and a wave can mean to total strangers and how far an act of kindness will go…
Three young girls in Blue Earth formed a special friendship with an unlikely duo, and it all started with a wave and a smile. The Evenson sisters stop what they’re doing during garbage pick-up. The short encounter each week has changed everyone’s lives.
Every week the girls, Grace, Rose and Sophia wait to hear the garbage truck round the corner. They scramble to climb into position on the perch at the window. They have been doing this wave and smile each week from afar for about a year. Brandon Olsen and Taylor Fritz, the garbage men with Hometown Sanitation, wave back just as vigorously.
“There he is, I found him with my binoculars,” 3-year-old Rose says.
“We wait and we look for them. For us it makes our day,” Olsen said.
“It could warm anybody’s heart, seeing those girls wave,” Fritz said.
Around Halloween the guys dropped off treats for the girls. In return the girls drew them pictures, which the trash guys now treasure.
“And I wrote a little note, not intending for it to be anything,” mom Angie Evenson said.
“I always keep it on me. When I’m having a bad day I just look at this and read it,” Fritz said.
It said, “We may miss you some Thursdays upcoming, our 3-year-old girl was diagnosed with cancer and has chemo on Thursdays.”
Angie didn’t want Olsen and Fritz to feel badly that the girls wouldn’t be around to wave most weeks.
Doctors diagnosed 3-year-old Rose with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer in September. 2016. It had spread to her lungs, and treatment required radiation and chemotherapy and lots of time away from home.
“I have three kids of my own. I could never imagine it. Like it tore me apart,” Olsen said.
“She knows that she’s loved and everyone has her back and she doesn’t have to be alone and the family doesn’t have to be alone either,” Fritz said.
The next week Olsen and Fritz left the Evenson family a note from their company.
“Our teammates Brandon and Taylor filled us in on the situation and shared the very kind note that you left for them. We were so proud that their gestures gave you a reason to smile recently. Please accept our gift of free garbage service for you through the end of 2017,” Angie Evenson read.
Olsen and Fritz traded in the complimentary service they get as employees to help the Evensons.
“I started crying, it was only a few weeks out from the diagnosis. Sometimes it’s hard to be positive but little things like what Hometown did are helping us limp along,” Angie Evenson said.
“It really brightened our day just to find that and just that they cared,” dad Aaron Evenson said.
“It’s hard to put words to it other than — and thank you seems so insufficient,” Angie Evenson said.
The guys made another delivery late last year: Christmas gifts for the girls and their baby brother Lincoln. Making the most of a visit where all the girls were home.
“We miss them when they’re gone but we make up for it when they’re back,” Fritz said.
Rose regularly checks into the hospital, or the castle as she calls it, for another week-long stay for chemo, so has missed a few weekly waves, but her chemotherapy is changing to Mondays in 2017, so she’ll be around to wave with her sisters on garbage day. Olsen and Fritz promise to continue to look for the girls in the window.
So, the next time you think “that is just a stranger” remember this story – one never knows what someone else is going through, and the mere fact that you smile at someone or wave at them may just mean the world to them – it may also be the only smile they get that day, or the only thing they have to look forward to…