So...I was at a red light today about to make a u-turn and I see this idiot jackass in front of me throw out his wrappers of food (literally a box of what seemed like chicken nuggets and a box of something else - big litter pieces of junk) and I had maybe less than 30-seconds before turning green and I was about to get out of my car and approach him to both tell him what he did was not right and was wrong and to pick up the pieces of trash and put them in my car to throw away myself but I hesitated as there were other cars in the intersection but I feel really bad I didn't do it...the car did not have a license plate but the driver did not seem intimidating at all...I felt like I should have done it and regret it now as it would have taught him a lesson and hopefully have made a difference in his future behavior...what would you have done??

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I hate when I see something like that - even "just" a cigarette butt.  Usually, it's while driving down the road and there's no chance to stop and do anything about it.  Sometimes I'll get my camera out and take a picture of the guy's license plate which I would then intend to send to the appropriate authorities.  I called a number I found once and they said they would send a letter to the cars owner.  Don't know if it did any good but that made me feel better.  I lost the phone number and haven't tried to find it since, but I only did that for a really blatant case.  I see plenty of trash on the road from these morons while biking around town and have heard of bikers getting garbage thrown at them.  I also see lots of little compressed gas cylinders along the curb from morons who apparently get high on the compressed gas.

A friend of mine tells the story of the time he had stopped at a light behind a car whose driver tossed a cigarette out the window.  His brother-in-law was in the car with him and got out of the car, picked up the butt & handed it back to the driver saying "you dropped this."  Apparently the guy was so stunned that he just kept the cigarette butt and didn't say anything. Wish I could have seen that!

Maybe it's the thirteen year I spent punching holes in the ocean with a submarine that have scrambled my circuits, but a small, perverse, part of me is grateful for the people that litter like that.  After witness their blatent pollution of the planet, I can sail through the rest of my day knowing that, no matter what, I will not be the biggest a#$hole on the planet!

 

Ahh, (transitory) bliss!!

Well, the 'right' thing to do would have been to get out of the car and confront him about what he did. Littering (especially blatant littering like that, where someone is throwing an entire meal's worth of garbage on the ground, but littering is littering regardless of quantity) is such an asshole thing to do. I hate it. I despise it. And it's not going to stop unless people are confronted and challenged when they do it. It's lazy, ignorant, and selfish to throw garbage on the ground and pretend like nothing happened.

 

BUT. With that being said, there is the 'right thing to do' and there is 'what most people do/would do, and for proper reason'. I mean, I'm not going to pretend to be a professional good Samaritan who would have gotten out of my car immediately and confronted the asshole who threw his garbage on the ground. In reality, I probably would have done the same thing as you, which is essentially nothing. I mean, I would have thought "What if I get out of my car and go to talk to him and the light turns green, and I'm standing in the intersection like an asshole with my car idling and a bunch of impatient work-goers honking madly at my incompetence?"

 

So I probably would have been angry, and maybe honked my horn or yelled out the window, but I wouldn't have gotten out of my car. Maybe more people should be the ones who get out of their car.

I just feel guilty that I was about to do something but hesitated and didn't do anything. :( Idiots don't understand what a disaster they are to the environment and with such idiots the future of the environment is very bleak.

look at the bright side, the idiot may have been armed.

exactly, probably even more likely on a car without a license plate.

 

Additionally, I think there are very few circumstances where leaving a car unattended in a road is justified, and bitching at someone for littering, to me, is not one of them.

 

I have doubts as to how effective the confrontation would be anyway.

These days, unfortunately, confronting someone over littering or any other offense can get you shot, so I likely would not have gotten out of my car to confront the person. If I'd had time, I might have picked up the trash, but honestly, in your particular situation, you just weren't in the right place to do anything.

You'll get a kick out of this story. I worked as an armed truancy officer in Kansas City for two years. We patrolled the city looking for and picking up truants. I had the great misfortune, at one point, to be partnered with the "Reverend" Brown. He had a nice habit of throwing wrappers out the window as we were driving around. One day I confronted him about it, noting first of all, we were in a MARKED car, and secondly, wouldn't his God be upset that he litters? His response was "Why are you worried about it? YOU don't believe in God." Then I made the point, "But YOU do! And that's the friggin' point!" He didn't have much to say after that. What an ass. "Reverend Brown" was a slimeball in many ways, too. Reverend, my ass!

In a similar situation, I've pulled alongside the offenders at the next light and yelled at them. But they were just shithead rednecks, and they flipped me off an continued merrily along their way. It was a busy thoroughfare, so getting out & picking up their shit wasn't an option. But I have been known to throw other people's junk left on the street onto my trailer when I make dump runs.

Thanks for the comments y'all...you made me feel better of myself...I was feeling like a negligent asshole but now I feel better...and next time, I don't think I will hesitate..

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