Would You Like Fries (and a Trash Can) With That?

Several years ago my Mom and I were each enjoying a McDonalds ice cream cone from the comfort of our Windstar mini-van when a car full of teenage boys pulled up next to us in the parking lot.

A few moments later, the guy in the passenger seat rolled down his window and threw an empty cheeseburger container on the ground.

“Excuse me,” Mom immediately said, pointing to the ground, “but I think you dropped something.”

“I didn’t drop nothin,” the guy snapped.

It was only mid-afternoon, but I guess the suburban delinquents were getting an early start to their shenanigans that day.

“Mom, stoppppp,” I whispered, crouching down in the front seat. I appreciated her concern for the environment, but I also didn’t want her to get stabbed over a Quarter Pounder.

Ignoring my pleas, she continued. “No, I think you did drop something. Didn’t your mother teach you not to litter?”

“I have a great mother!” the guy exclaimed.

“She must not be very good if you’re littering all over the place,” Mom said.

“You better shut up before I shove that ice cream cone…” (Well, I think you know how that sentence ended.)

Beginning to recognize that we were, in fact, in danger of being stabbed in a McDonalds parking lot, Mom threw the Windstar in reverse and we high-tailed it out of there.

Although I did not appreciate the altercation that took place, I had to give her credit for taking a stand against litter. Sure, I could have been the victim of a violent ice-cream cone attack, but hey—it’s important to keep the streets look their best.

Fortunately, many apartment residents feel the same about their own communities.

Lynn Gill, Property Manager for Madison, Ala.-based Madison Park Apartments, started a “Clean Team” at the beginning of the summer to remove the roadside litter she noticed every day on her way to work.

Gill, her assistant, and 12 residents now meet in the morning on the third Saturday of every month and spend approximately an hour walking the roads surrounding the community and picking up trash. Afterward, they enjoy breakfast together.

“We all work very hard to keep our own communities looking good,” says Gill, whose 308-unit community is operated by King Management Solutions, LLC. “By pitching in and helping to keep these roads clean, we are not only creating a better atmosphere for our own community but helping out the entire city. People [prospective residents included] notice our efforts—and it pays to have a great reputation in town.”

In addition to the Clean Team’s regular members, Gill says there are four more residents on standby, should someone else be unable to help one month. All willingly—and happily—volunteer their time.

In the future, Gill hopes to entice other neighboring communities to become involved in the monthly clean-up, as well as other community service events.

The Clean Team has received nothing but positive feedback thus far, and has yet to be threatened with any sort of dairy product.

For more on the Clean Team, check out “‘Clean Team’ Keeps it Green” in the December issue of units, which mails Dec. 11.