Think of it as a variation of the conundrum about a tree falling the forest. If a person performs an act of patriotism unaware that he is being watched, is his virtuousness heightened?
A community in Portland, Ore., would say yes.
CBS affiliate WSBT offers up a feel-good story whose protagonist is a trash collector named Jeremy Fischer:
Last week, … Fischer saw an American flag that had blown off a neighbor’s flagpole sitting in the street, according to Portland television station KATU.
Being a garbage man, it would have been easy for him to simply toss the flag in with the trash he was picking up. Instead, he took the time to pause on his route and fold the flag up military-style.
“There’s a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hope, a lot of other stuff that is the American flag. I figured since so many people have died for that the least I could do was pick it up,” Fischer told KATU.
Fischer wasn’t expecting a thank you and didn’t tell anyone about the flag, but a woman looking out her window was touched by what she saw.
“I was looking out my window up here and I saw him carefully folding the flag over the garbage can,” neighbor Nancy Neet told KATU. “I felt in my heart it was such a moment that nobody else was seeing.”
Neet made sure people knew about what happened after that, posting a kind message on the garbage company’s Facebook page thanking Fischer for what he did.
“Thank you Mr. Garbage Man,” Neet said to KATU. “May God bless you.”