Top trash man

Think a minute…In 1968 Terry Toussaint was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke to a crowd of street sweepers in Memphis, Tennessee. King told them: “If you’re a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that everyone…will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” 

That is why Terry Toussaint, for all these years has proudly kept his town of Fort Valley, Georgia cleaner than almost any town in America. He proudly admits that he is happy and honored to be a trash worker. 

But as a boy, Terry had every reason not to be an honest, hard worker. His father left the family when Terry was only 11-years-old. So he had to find other good examples to follow, including his uncles, mother, grandmother, and later soldiers in the U.S. Army. 

After Terry finished his military service, he was in a terrible car crash with his vehicle flipping and rolling over two times. Yet miraculously he walked away with no injuries or even a scratch. 

Terry worked hard for years not missing one day of work, yet he never received the promotion he deserved. However, he did not let that unfair rejection stop him. He started again in another job doing the lowest paid, humbling work of filling holes in the road. Terry says, “I’ll always be the best I can be, at whatever job I have.” His personal character defines who he is as a man, not his job or status. After only 8 months, Terry was promoted to the top supervisor of the trash department. 

On April 20, 2010, Terry was not on the job but simply out walking when he saw a violent criminal escaping from a police officer. Terry immediately started running and caught the criminal, and held him down until the police could catch up and arrest him.  Shockingly, the police never even thanked Terry for risking his own life to do that policeman’s job for him. 

But instead of being bitter, Terry says my reward is to always do the right thing: to work hard, honestly, and happily, even if I’m not paid for it. Terry may be poor financially, but he is rich in everything of real value.

Will you ask Jesus to help you change and grow that kind of character and attitude toward your work every day? Just think a minute…

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