Litter: A Tale of Karma

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Occasionally in your day to day life something happens that can only be described as “karma”. There are YouTube Videos about the negative karma that comes back to you when someone catches you littering. Actually, they are more about getting payback for getting caught trashing public spaces. I’m talking about the Good Karma that comes back in a way that is unexpected.

Here is my litter karma story.


I was walking into the local Harris Teeter near my kids’ school. I had my usual tote full of reusable bags (including produce bags) over my shoulder when I spotted a stray plastic bag on the ground. I snatched it up. A little farther along I spotted a used single-use plastic floss pick on the ground so I used the bag to pick that up too.

Just then a car comes around the corner, slows to a stop and the window starts to open. I have never been harassed when picking up litter so I assumed this was not going to be a threatening situation. The lady inside said to me “Thank you for picking up litter. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who does that.” I thanked her back and went inside to do my shopping.


We passed a couple of times in the isles and gave a simple “we are connected through a common enemy of litter” nod. I proceeded to check out and on my way out the automatic sliding doors; I looked down and saw a driver’s license face up on the ground. I recognized the face on the ID as the litter lady from earlier. Looking around, I didn’t see her anywhere. So, I ran the ID back into the store and gave it to the store manager for safe keeping.


Heading back out, I recognized the lady in the car just driving by me and she gives me a familiar wave. It was her! I flagged her down and told her about the ID on the ground and that it was at the desk inside. She didn’t even know she had lost her ID and was very grateful. Had she not commented about the litter, I would not have even made the connection to the picture. There is no telling when she would have discovered the missing ID. 

Good karma? I think so! Just by taking a moment to make a nice comment to me, the woman in my story received a positive outcome to what could have been a much worse situation. 

Have you ever had something good you did or said come back to you in a positive way? Have you felt the positive energy after doing something as simple as picking up litter and have it change the mood of your day?

Have you decided to make small changes in your lifestyle to reduce your use of single-use plastic? Are you moving to reusable grocery bags or floss that does not have so much plastic waste? Are you ready for some good karma?