Well, sort of. It’s just a fancy way of saying we now volunteer to pick up litter on Interstate 80. Some time ago, we decided our company should help beautify the roads and “Make America Glisten Again.”
To become a Cal Trans volunteer, I first had to watch an entertaining safety video and sign several forms swearing that I would NEVER bag things like hazard materials, explosives or dead animals.
I thought for a moment… “I seriously can’t collect dead animals?”
Not five minutes into the training video, I watch a guy sporting a bright neon volunteer vest attempting to fetch a gun from the bushes. A watchful supervisor hustles over, grabs his arm and waves a finger at him like most concerned moms do when their kids are reaching deep into the cookie jar.
Five minutes pass, and the same poor guy is now reaching over to stuff a dead skunk into a bag. Just before he does, the same smart supervisor runs over and sternly waves his finger at him as if to say, “George, that is a BAD habit…you have to stop!”
But George is determined. In the next shot, our dedicated volunteer has decided to grab a huge black jug plastered with skulls and crossbones. A similar scolding scenario unfolds, with George now sporting a puzzled look.
At this point, I’m sitting at the Cal Trans office, laughing. A worker comes over and says, “are you at the skunk or gun part yet?”
My actual experience volunteering to clean highway wasn’t that interesting. There was plenty of litter, and facemasks outnumbered beer bottles eight to one. Styrofoam was the hardest to pick up, because I picked a windy day to participate.
A half mile into the cleanup I spotted a dead vulture. Many ants were feeding upon it, and I realized the irony of the situation. But I restrained myself from taking photos to show my fellow co-workers. At the end of the morning, I collected 6 huge bags of litter, and felt good about my efforts. I hope more people (and companies) see the need to be responsible and will volunteer for a common good.
And in case you were wondering, I did NOT bag the vulture!