I went to go get waxed this morning.

When I parked, I gathered up little pieces of trash to throw away the same way I do every time I get out of my car.

On the sidewalk I saw a bench and a green metal trash can. I threw my trash in it, and turned to walk into the wax place.

There was an unhoused gentleman sitting on the bench next to the trash can, and when I walked away, he started yelling.

“What the fuck are you doing, lady? This isn’t a fucking trash can!”

I turned to look back at him and realized what I thought was a trash can was actually a container he was using to hold all of his stuff.

I immediately felt like shit.

I walked back over to him and began apologizing profusely.

“I am so sorry,” I said.

“I saw what I thought was a trash can and threw that stuff in there without even looking. Please forgive me. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

His demeanor immediately softened, and I found myself wishing I had cash on me to give to him, but I legit never carry cash.

It didn’t matter. He smiled at me and said, “It’s OK. I understand.”

I apologized again and started walking away.

Another older gentleman witnessed the whole thing, and he said to me, “Did you throw your trash in his basket? ‘

“Yeah,” I said, still embarrassed.

“It’s not your fault. The way it’s sitting there next to the bench, it looks like a trash can.”

“I still feel really bad,” I said.

All I could think was, imagine being unhoused and someone comes and tosses their trash in your stuff.

I’m super glad it was just a straw wrapper, the paper from my banana bread from Starbucks, and a napkin.

I still had espresso in my cup, or it could have been worse.