Software Exec Becomes ‘Garbage Guy’ Walking 12 Miles Every Day in D.C. to Pick Up Trash During Pandemic

Billy Adams has found a lockdown ritual that not only benefits his health, but the mental health and beauty surrounding others in his beloved Washington, DC.

Billy Adams on his morning walk – Caroline Miller

Since June the software executive has been selecting a different 12-mile route every day, picking up just about any piece of garbage on it—in rain, snow, or sleet.

He even gets an empty bag from Starbucks at the half-way mark near Canal Road in Georgetown to continue his clean-up, depositing full bags of litter in public trash cans.

He sets off from his Maryland home just over the D.C. line at 8:30am and uses his hands to pick up the trash for three hours.

Adams told the Washington Post that the habit has been immensely satisfying. “When you see it beforehand, then you walk by it after and it’s all clean, that’s a good feeling.”

Employees at the M Street Starbucks call the 54-year-old “garbage guy,” and they often have a bag ready for him when he stops in to buy a coffee, always leaving a generous tip.

Store manager Ahmed Oukchir told the Post that because of Billy he also has become inspired to be more conscious of litter.

Caroline Miller on a walk with her brother

Billy’s sister Caroline Miller has gone on the walks her husband and says it has had a “contagious impact” on her, too.

“Billy is somebody who likes to do the right thing,” she told the Post. “If he sees trash on the ground, he can’t just walk past it.”

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Caroline, who was named a GNN Good News Ambassador in 2012, grew up with her brother in Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to DC, and have deep roots here.

“It is especially important to our family because our great-great-great-grandfather was Jacob Karr, who owned the most popular watch store, within walking distance from the White House,” she told GNN. “Abraham Lincoln and all of the US presidents, from then until he retired in the early 1900s, were friendly with him and he tended to their watches.”

Caroline Miller

“Since D.C. is in his blood, I think it’s even more important to my brother that he lend a hand to beautifying the city.”

Although it is a one-man mission, Billy is thinking about organizing a weekend clean-up for Earth Day in April, so he can try to get others hooked on doing good—and feeling good, at the same time.

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