I was walking behind a man who was smoking a cigarette. When finished, he flicked it high into the air, aiming for the street I guess. In an odd twist of circumstance the wind caught the still lit butt, sending it back over his shoulder and into my face, leaving a small burn on my right cheek.
He did not look back to see where his cigarette landed. I brushed myself off, crushed out the burning cigarette, and put it into a nearby ashtray on top of a public trash can.
I smoked for twenty-two years. There were many times I threw the butts out without thinking about the consequences of my actions. Did I ever burn anyone? Did I start a fire on the roadside? Did someone ever step barefooted on a still lit cigarette of mine? Did a toddler ever pick up one I threw out? Who did pick up my tossed out butts?
I understand what it is like to behave without thinking about the consequences of my actions. I am grateful for the day I accepted the behavior I put out eventually comes back to me in one form or another. That was the day I began caring how my actions impact me and how they may impact someone else.
The interesting thing is we are ones who benefit most from caring about our behavior. Other people may never know how our remaining self-aware of our actions benefits them but it never fails that we feel FANTASTIC about ourselves from choosing to do the responsible thing.