I left the house at 5:25 this morning. As a 'torchbearer' for United Way, I talk about Second Helpings to companies during their United Way campaign. Torchbearers typically tell a tug-at-the-heart strings story about someone that their agency has helped. I'm not good at that kind of speech, my talk is about Second Helpings, which is am amazing story on its own. I throw out a lot of facts and numbers -- 3.5 million meals prepared and delivered, 8.2 million pounds of food rescued and almost 300 adults trained for meaningful careers in the last nine years and how we make that all happen.
I seem to be fairly popular as a speaker. Its hard to talk about hunger while people are eating waffles, but I make people feel comfortable. I'm also asked to give a lot of talks at factories, which I love. I've gotten to see lots of cool behind the scenes things, walk through production floors wearing a hard hat and safety glasses and give a talk in an airport hanger.
I was actually excited about the four talks (in spite of my lack of sleep) I was scheduled to give a the trash company. I use that company for the trash and cardboard pick-up at work and the City contracts with them for some of the residential curb trash pick-ups, including my street. There is only one guy on the truck, they jump out, grab the trash, toss it in the truck and jump back on and drive to the next stop. I usually put my meager trash out in the morning. Occasionally I'll hear the truck as I'm still getting ready and I'll run out as he's a house or two away. He seems like a friendly enough guy.
I pulled in to the lot as the drivers were parking their trash trucks in front of the building, it was still dark and I wished I had my camera. It was a cool thing to see.
The meeting was combined with their monthly safety meeting. One hundred guys in green vests piled in to the room grumbling about the lack of donuts. They were given a quiz about fire safety (after four meetings I could have given the quiz -- and probably in Spanish also). They were lectured about the fact that no one both writes and signs their name to to quizzes, even though they are repeatedly told to. My observation was that maybe the company should print more than just "name" on a line of the quiz, "name" and "signature" would make more sense. Not that I said anything, of course. The guys -- yes, it was all men in the room, were still grumbling about donuts. They added gripes about gloves, rain suits and the cold to their linty.
Somehow, and it was probably connected to the four and a half hours of sleep of sleep that I had, I was still feeling good about my part of the morning. Who doesn't love Second Helpings or me, for that matter?
I was finally introduced. I started out with "Hi, I'm Nora S --, 5200 block of Winthrop, blue bathrobe." Funny right? Nothing, nada, zilch from the guys. I launched in to my talk. I talked about how we've kept over 8 million pounds of food from the dumpster so they didn't have to deal with it. No reaction. I cut my losses and my speech short.
I plowed through the rest of the talks. When the last one was over, the man who was running the meetings apologized. They said the guys were made 'cause there were no donuts. Said they always act like that when there are no treats. Seriously? Next time I'll buy the damn donuts. Not that I said anything, of course.
[Update, I took a walk Friday morning and saw my trash guy. He waved and said "Hey Nora, I enjoyed your talk." Not only was I surprised, but want to yell back "Hey dude, you could have piped up yesterday." Not that I said anything, of course.]