Caught in the Act!

September 10, 2007 Blog 27 comments

Evidence that demands a verdict?

This morning, as I was taking the lift from my home downstairs, I caught a man red-handed as he nonchalantly tossed a burning cigarette butt on to the floor. He probably didn’t see me coming from behind.

I immediately asked him in a polite but firm manner, “Excuse me sir, did you just throw that cigarette butt on the floor?”

Caught unaware, he complained in a soft voice, “Umm.. the trouble is that there are no rubbish bins on this floor.”

I then stated matter-of-factly that it was just a short lift ride downstairs on the ground floor where all the rubbish bins were.

The man then went to pick up the cigarette butt.

I next asked him, “Do you live here?”

He replied rather sheepishly that he does. At this stage, I could see that he was obviously uncomfortable with how things were developing.

Just then, the lift arrived and I went in, holding the lift door open. He was already out of sight at this time. I asked him, “Are you going down? We can take this lift together.” He replied, “Its ok, I can walk down on my own.”

I guess walking the few flights of stairs down to throw away a cigarette butt isn’t that bad after all. Compared to facing up to it.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. That’s a shame. As a smoker myself sometimes I can’t stand such things. If I know I am heading out, either I smoke at home before I step out or wait until I am downstairs where the dustbin is.

    Oh you’re back, waiting for your pictures to be up.

  2. I agree with Cole that it was extremely daring of you to have confronted the litter bug. If you’ve not developed muscles then you must have tugged a newspaper under your shirt that looked like a concealed weapon. People have been known to be assaulted for confronting litter bugs and smokers.

    If he didn’t discard the lighted cigarette butt at the upper lift landing, I believe that he would have brought it into the lift (which is against the law as well). What he should have done is to extinguish the cigarette (using that box) and then discard the package into the dustbin.

    Although he should be ashamed of himself, I really doubt that he has learnt something from this episode. Let us know if you can catch him a second time.

  3. Haha…he probably thought u’ll some kind of NEA officer or something…he might be afraid of being called to do some CWO…

  4. ed,

    Yeah, it is isn’t it? I have got many friends who smoke too, but they don’t toss their butts on the floor. Sometimes, all it takes is a short walk which may even be healthier for you!

  5. victor,

    Thanks for your advice. I agree that he should have found somewhere else to dispose of the butt. Will let you guys know if I catch him – or he catches me – again. Anyway, I felt that it was something that I had to do.

  6. chillicraps,

    Hey it just came out at the spur of the moment. I don’t know what consumed me. Maybe it was the trip to Australia where everybody was so civic minded and aware of their impact on the environment.

  7. I totally agree that YOU ARE BRAVE! Did he appear to you the kind who will not strike back? If he had been the hooligan-type, he might have seen you as busybody and did something else to you! :O
    Again, bravo! Hero!

  8. tigerfish,

    I guess he appeared not that hefty or hunky. A bit on the uncle side of things, maybe late 40s to 50s or so. Hmmm… I wonder if I dared to do that if he was built like a pro wrestler?

  9. Coolio brudder Walter, I must admit you got real guts to approach a litter bug. I kinda know where you stay and the people around there aren’t exactly the approachable, friendly, let alone accommodating sort.

    A huge pat on the back for the efforts man. I too try to approach people when they litter too not letting them know where I come from of course.

    And yes as a fellow contributor to our already messed up climate, I make sure my butts stay in the bin..and packet too.. 😉

    Hats off to you buddy!! 🙂

  10. jason,

    Hey thanks bro. Its disheartening to see so many people treating our planet like a rubbish bin. Environmental awareness in Singapore is unfortunately at a very infant stage despite the numerous exhortations in the press. When I was in Australia, everybody was talking about the drought and the importance of recycling. Most folks brought recyclable bags for their purchases.

  11. Everybody seems to be afraid of trouble or getting beat up. Why let the guilty get away because of your fear? I would do what I have to do even if it means getting stab. Now blood gets me real mad!

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