I thought I would share a story of good news, an example of how to do etiquette right!
Some back story, my husband and I were living at and working for a charity organization. A couple years ago the organization closed down and last year we were given notice to close down everything of the organization and move off the property. Just before this notice came in, my husband lost his job he had outside the organization. So with little time, little money (because everything was devoted to the charity) and no job, we suddenly had to move. We moved into the basement of husband’s parent’s house. In the rush to get everything done and move from a large house to a tiny space, some stuff was left behind.
Fast forward to last week, our area has too many people, not enough jobs and many businesses looking to save a buck so not paying living wages, as a result, our temporary living in the basement is still going a year later because husband hasn’t been able to get a job. He gets a temporary job with a long commute and then we get hit with a big snow storm. And it looks like one of the things left behind was our snow shovel. I knew the storm was coming so I tried to go buy a snow shovel since we live on a hill. However, husband has our only vehicle out trying to earn a bit of money, so by the time I get to the store all the snow shovels are sold out.
Sunday, we’re able to get his parents vehicle out to go run a much needed errand for them but when we return we can’t get their vehicle back up the hill. It would also be unsafe for husband to drive our vehicle down the hill the next morning and the nature of the errand made parents vehicle not something he could borrow to get to work. The boss at the temp job says they are working Monday morning so he doesn’t want to call in and say he can’t get to work because they may just replace him with another temp. We figure no way around it, we’ll just have to use whatever makeshift stuff we can find to clean off the driveway. So we start chipping away at the ice with whatever is on hand. Then the neighbor across the street steps out and sees us and says she has a snow shovel, would we like to borrow it. Husband and I try to hide our desperation and respond, “yes please, if you don’t mind, that would be wonderful!”. She tells us to keep it as long as we need and we get to work.
We were able to clear the driveway enough for husband to get out safely the next morning and me to get parents vehicle back where it needed to be, purely because we had her snow shovel. As soon as we finished with the shovel I returned it to her and the next day took her a thank you note and some home baked cookies.
I know some have been blessed with nice neighbors and this may not seem like something all that big but I could probably count my history of nice neighbors on one hand and have fingers left over. And I say that as someone who has moved well over 20 times. Most of the time we’ve done good to be ignored by neighbors. On the bad side we’ve had neighbors who sold drugs or even tortured and killed our animals. So a neighbor who volunteers to lend us something that helps us out in a bad situation is a nice change as far as I’m concerned! 0127-16
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Best of luck to you and your family!
You sound like wonderful and charitable folks, I hope things get better for you.
With all the help you’ve offered others over the years, sounds like your “good karma” bank is full.
My folks are in their early 70’s, and my dad has MS.
He physically cannot shovel, and my mom shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting.
Unfortunately, we live about a 30-40 minute drive away from them in good weather, so my boys driving there to shovel for them is out of the question, although they’d like to.
This past week, with all the snow, my mom’s neighbors shovel and snowblow their driveway for them.
They also have a fire hydrant on their property which must be shoveled out, no matter what.
My mom said she was out during the storm, sweeping off their front steps when the very nice man down the hill yelled up, “Hey! Just what do you think you’re doing young lady?!?”
My mom laughed and said “just sweeping what I can off the porch.”
This neighbor came up and did her porch and driveway.
A few hours later (still snowing) the lady across the street came over with her downloader and did the driveway again.
Then, once their street was finally plowed, yet a third neighbor and his wife dug out the hydrant for them.
It’s nice to know that when my kids and I can’t get there to help, they have many wonderful folks living near them that will pitch in and help them out.
I have mentioned lots of times in other posts about the strange lady that lives next door to them, and went out of her way to make my folks lives hell.
Turns out, she passed away a few weeks ago, which my mom didn’t know until she read it in the local paper.
My folks were sorry that she died, but breathed a little sigh of relief….until I opened my big mouth and said I hope no one WORSE buys the house.
….that should be “snow blower”….not downloader……Oops.
Whenever I see stories like this, it reminds me of the street I grew up on. Everyone knew each other, and would help out during snowstorms. Only a few neighbors had snowblowers, but they would come pretty much do everyone’s driveway and walks, and help out. We had a few elderly people and couples too, and they were always done first. It was just a nice place to live, and nice to see that during times like that, everyone would pitch in!
Reminds me of the area I grew up in. My grandparents lived in one house on one of the rural roads in our area, with an apartment complex they owned next door, a house belonging to my aunt and uncle just past that, the house my great-grandparents used to live in across the street and the one they lived in now just down the road, my grandpa’s brother in another house on that road and said brother’s kids in two more houses, and then my family on an adjacent road. Grandpa had a truck with a plow attachment, so he did all those driveways just mentioned, along with covering for a few other neighbors who didn’t have access to their own plows.
My father actually worked out an arrangement with one of our next-door neighbors — he could borrow her snowblower pretty much whenever he wanted, and in return we would do both our house and hers (including shoveling the porch and other small areas where the snowblower was impractical). I’m sure it saved us from a lot of mornings of not being able to get the car out.
A few of my neighbors have ATV’s with snow plow attachments. Sometimes they will plow a couple of streets worth of sidewalks for the fun of it.
Not a neighbor, but last winter my next door neighbor hired someone to plow his driveway.
I was pretty low on money at the time, no savings and barely making it paycheck to paycheck due to crazy high expenses (terminally ill dog on 5 kinds of meds, and my son living in a dorm for his 1st year of college – he since moved into an apartment that’s almost half the price of what the dorm was.) So could not afford to hire a plow, and figured I could use some exercise anyway. We had a very snowy and cold winter and I ended up getting a lot more exercise than I’d counted on. I broke three shovels over last winter. Then, because I was piling the snow up on one side of the driveway, the other side being my neighbor’s driveway, and because the snow was not melting, I ran out of room to put more snow… by late Feb-early March, I had to carry the snow up the driveway and into my backyard. And we still kept getting snowstorms, it was pretty bad.
One weekend as I was shoveling my driveway, the plow came to my neighbor’s home to do his. After he did the neighbor’s driveway, he then pulled into mine and shoveled about 1/3 of it, plus the apron, which is the hardest part to shovel by hand due to the snow being so wet and heavy in the apron. He then continued to do this at least once a week for the rest of the winter, for free. After seeing him do this a few times, I asked for his number, because at that point I was thinking, I don’t care how little money I have next year, I’ll save on something else and hire this guy! Hired him this winter and he’s been doing an excellent job. He also did some gardening work for me (tree removal) and fixed the lid on my drain in my driveway, that was wobbly and sticking out or flipping sideways anytime anyone drove over it… charged very little. I would recommend him to anyone!
We hit the jackpot with our neighborhood. We live in a townhouse community in a cul-de-sac.
We live on the East Coast and got hit with the Blizzard of 2016. The next day I go out to start the job of digging my car out, made worse by the plow trucks. It was a huge job.
Neighbor to my right brings out a thermos of steaming hot chai tea and is passing cups of it to everyone. Neighbor three doors down brings his snowblower to help me clear the back of my driveway.
Lots of laughter watching the kids in the neighborhood climb the snow mountains made by the plows.
It was a fun day.
During this last snowstorm, it was my 13 year old daughter and I vs. 3 feet of snow (northeasterner here). My husband is in Cali for work at the moment, and we went out to start shoveling the front walk. One of our neighbors was passing by with a plow attached to his pickup truck and he asked if he could clear our driveway for us. I was beyond thrilled with this offer, and gladly took him up on it. God bless that man. Turns out, he knew the former homeowners and is the pastor at the local church.
I live in a part of the country that’s well-known for its heavy snowfall. Helping one another is part of the “code” of living here, but it never fails to lift people’s spirits when it happens. OP, I’m glad you and your husband finally caught a break in life, no matter how small. I hope that better times are ahead for your family.
It’s the simple things. One thoughtful little gesture like this can make an enormous difference.
Thank Goodness that neighbor was so kind. I’m scared to lend much to neighbors in need because I got a hand truck stolen from us at my old job. I still flinch thinking about it. My boss was the “help your neighbors” kind of guy and off loaded lots of stuff for next door businesses, so I didn’t think anything of it at first, doh.
I hope everything turns around quickly for you and your husband!
As a life long New England resident, I can attest at how important the charity of others can be. On more than one occassion I’ve had people really go out of their way to help me when it wasn’t expected:
– The time I was able to work from home, but my husband had to go to work an hour away during a snow storm. I decided to snow blow the driveway, but couldn’t get the snow blower started. In exasperation, I decided to walk around front (our driveway is behind our house) and shovel the front steps and walkway. By the time I got back, our driveway was cleared by a neighbor. It was such a relief!
– The time I got stuck in ice on the street outside my house. My neighbor, in a full crisp, clean, suit, insisted on helping push me out of the ice rut I was stuck in for well over an hour. Couldn’t thank him enough.
– The time I was leaving work after an especially HUGE snowstorm that piled snow so fast I almost couldn’t open the door of my car. I couldn’t get my car out of the parking area. My office at the time was in a “less than desirable” neighborhood, so when two boys walked by (with no gloves or coats in a awful snow storm) I didn’t even attempt to ask for help. They ran over without hesitation and pushed my car out for me, no gloves and all. I couldn’t even get into words how thankful I was, and they were just happy to help. Just goes to show that we should not judge a book by its cover.
It can literally be the difference between life and death. During the epic snowstorm here a couple of years ago, there was a woman in her 40s who had been trapped in her car. She had been in there for 13 hours and had written farewell letters to her family. Every so often, she would wave a snowbrush out the window in the hopes that someone would see it and stop. Eventually, someone did. He saved her life.
My parents had a neighbor who pretty much ignored them — that wasn’t really bad, so that was okay. They also had a neighbor who developed a great relationship with them — Neighbor borrowed my dad’s tractor, so Neighbor brought fresh picked produce from his garden to my parents every week, by the basket load. My parents gave them tubs of their home grown berries, grapes and fruit in season from their fruit trees in return. My parents allowed Neighbor’s son to borrow their dog and go rabbit hunting on my parents’ land, and Neighbor’s wife took my parents’ young granddaughters to the swimming pool in town when they visited my parents. My dad let Neighbor have a key to his well-stocked toolshed and told him to help himself, and Neighbor always locked up after getting in the shed, returned any borrowed tool in clean and excellent condition, and put it exactly where he had found the tool. My parents were a lot older than the Neighbors, so when my parents’ weren’t in the best of health, Neighbor cleared their walk and driveway and Neighbor’s wife took them to town or ran errands for them. They had the best neighborly relationship I’d ever seen. OP, congrats to your parents on having some gems as well!
I moved three years ago and I still miss my neighbors. We were a community in which we all helped one another. I have always had some good neighbors, but that neighborhood will always be special to me because of the kindness of so many people.
My (elderly) parents have neighbors who shovel their driveway. (My folks pay them, but have to insist to get them to accept, and they started shoveling just as a good deed without asking for pay.)
Your neighbors sound great too, and the day may come when you’re in a position to lend a shovel too.
That’s great that the neighbor loaned the OP a snow shovel…but this is a pretty low bar for neighborliness. Other neighbors tortured your animals?? Yikes…
I live in Michigan, so snow shoveling is a fact of life. As I got older I started to hire plowing by the season. But when I was younger I would shovel the driveway myself, and could get enough to get my car in and out. However, we had this wonderful neighbor who had a riding lawnmower/garden tractor that he got a blade for. There were elderly people on each side of me and he would plow all our driveways. He and his wife have always been great neighbors.
By the way, for those with elderly parents in snowy areas, a seasonal snow plow contract is a great gift. In my area, you pay about $300 and they plow whenever there is more than a couple inches of snow.
While I think your neighbour was lovely I do have to wonder why you couldn’t go to your neighbours to ask them to borrow a shovel in the first place? There are wonderful neighbours out there that do things without being asked or just to help but have we all really had such horrible experiences with the people around us that as a whole people would rather make do with whatever they can find then go ask a neighbour politely to borrow something?
Depending on the area you grow up in, knocking on a strangers door is not always wise on many levels.
Since OP is displaced, they wouldn’t know if that door was the local shut in with dogs, a gun or a short fuse 🙁
That seems extreme, I know. I grew up in a neighborly area, others I know are from much larger, less predictable locations to say the least.
I can tell you that today, I wouldn’t bother to ask for help. Experience over the last 20+ years in this area has taught me that I will not be given help because I was not born and raised in this town. Charity is extended only to the people these folks grew up with. (Believe me, I have heard this sentiment expressed in countless ways over the years, including in several churches when pastors have tried to get people to contribute to help those less fortunate down the road or around the world — they get nowhere).
Where we are now snow happens but usually not in huge amounts and it will melt off. A foot here is a LOT of snow, and if you shovel or scrape, where that happened it usually melts off to bare in a few days. DH has a small tractor, bigger than a garden tractor and has a bucket on the front and will do our driveway then go scoop the curb swipe (car wide) and empty that so water will drain when things melt and neighbors can get their cars out with minimal effort (if the county comes along they put the blade down and leave the gutter full of a huge ridge of snow or past your car if they swerve out. (both sides of us have small kids)
All these snow stories reminds me of when I was in my 20’s and had been dating a very nice young man for about eight months.
He was on the “rebound” from his wife divorcing him because she got caught cheating, and I was going through the same thing.
We both came to the conclusion, that had we met in a few years we might have had something, but we were still getting over “getting screwed over”.
One day, we sat down and had a long talk and decided to just be friends.
As I went to leave to go home, it had been snowing and he asked me to stay (he took the couch) as I had been crying and he didn’t want me drive.
Turns out, it turned into a two day snow and sleet fest, and I got stuck there for three days.
Finally, on the third day, after being cooped up and broken up, I said I’ll take my chances….I’m going home…..this time, I didn’t get an argument….He was VERY happy for me to get the hell out of there!
Not snow, but weather related….
In 2004, multiple hurricanes criss-crossed through my hometown area in FL. Our next door neighbor was a little old lady who couldn’t leave to go to her son’s house in time. She had the corner lot, and during one storm, no fewer than 7 pine trees fell in her yard/around her house. Two fell across both ends of her driveway, effectively blocking her in. Luckily, none of the trees struck her house.
After the storm was over, we went over to help cut up the trees blocking her driveway and around the house. Her son and his family came over, and helped as well, before helping cut up the one tree that fell in our yard, and added our stuff to the pile they’d collected for a specialty disposal company to haul away, with no cost to us.
Lady herself was very grateful and kept us all well supplied with ice water. 🙂
Drat! I was hoping that Just4Kicks anecdote was going to end with ..So after three days of being snowed in, we fell in love and have been together to this day…
But going back to the OP: I actually feel quite sad for you in that your bar of kindness is set so low that you had to make a post about someone offering you the use of a snow shovel.
I do not mean that in any denigrating way. I have been the recipient of ninja driveway shovelers and the like. Back in the day when I was much more mobile, I did my share of helping out in that regard. But to be so very grateful because someone offered you the use of their shovel suggests to me that you have not had many kindnesses extended to you in your life. Again, I am not trying to take away your rightful feeling of gratitude. I guess I am just I dunno, offering an internet hug?? And I hope that you and your husband get back on your feet and on track soon.
I get what you’re trying to say, and no, we’ve not had a lot of kindness bestowed upon us in our lives.
Even so far that a couple years ago all our closest friends dumped us when we stopped providing lots of perks to them.
Long story but we had a very close group of friends. Hubby and I often had everyone over to our house for meals, games and even spending the night/weekend. Everyone would be provided with everything they needed (even personal toothbrushes) and I’d cook crazy amounts of food. One guy even moved in with us when he fell on housing troubles and then when he landed in the emergency room and lost his job we provided him with housing, utilities, and food for many months till he got back on his feet and employed again.
Then hubby and I had hard times and bad health. I stopped being able to provide all this stuff for everyone and in turn all those “friends” suddenly stopped being able to acknowledge our existence…
And we weren’t doing all those things as the well off friend in the group. We have always had the lowest income of all our friends. To work for the previously mentioned charity one had to take a vow of poverty. One worked at that charity because they believed in the cause and wanted to fill a need.
So, yeah, our bar is pretty low. We’ve seen far too much of the “people are loyal to their need of you” bit, and not much in the way of kindness for the sake of kindness.
@Clockwork Banana: First off, I love your name! 🙂
Secondly, sadly no….it didn’t work out that way.
He was a really nice guy, and I do think that if we had not both come into the relationship with so much baggage, it might have ended up differently.
I heard through the grapevine that he ended up marrying his next door neighbor when HER marriage went to hell.
He was just devastated his wife cheated on him, and I had just ended a year long relationship with a man I thought I was going to marry.
His roommate took me aside one day and said “you are such a nice girl…I really need to tell you something….he’s being lying to you from the get-go.”
Turns out his frequent “business trips” were to visit his OTHER girlfriend!
Oh, well…..live and learn, right?!?
Our next door neighbor is an absolute nut case. This is our first house and our mower is completely broken. We couldn’t afford a new one and I had been calling around trying to find a lawn service. She knew this because we had chit chatted about it a few times and I had asked if she knew of anyone. She didn’t. Next thing I knew she was calling the town and reporting me for having long grass. Repeatedly. I painted my clothesline to match the crabapples on the giant crabapple tree in the backyard…so a nice dark red. She complained that the color caught her eye whenever she went into her back yard. I’m finally past trying to please her and I just completely ignore the woman.
However my dad lives across the road and an elderly woman whose mother was friends with my grandmother lives across from us as well. Walk outside and we wave and yell “HOWDY NEIGHBOR!”. Bring each other cookies, muffins, homemade pickles….she’s watched my kids for me, I’ve watched her dog for her. My dad has helped me out with stuff that needed fixing, we’ve fixed his computer. You name it. It’s the nut behind me that we all avoid like the plague.
@Ergala: Wow….your neighborhood sounds just like my parents.
Except the nut job that lived next to them for over 20 years passed away a few weeks ago.
She was a real head case, but I do hope she is resting in peace.
She would do, and call the cops for the weirdest stuff.
The rest of the neighbors are wonderful folks, who helped them out a lot with the blizzard last week.
Yeah this neighbor is a total nutter. She actually complained about what she could see through my windows in my living room. I will now purposefully sit there and pick my nose when I see her staring hard to see through the hedges from her windows. And I make sure we make eye contact. I have really really dark eyes, so all she sees are pretty much black eyes staring back at her with a finger up a nose. Or I’ll get out of the shower at night and make sure I do some yoga stretches and drop my towel. I have hedges for a reason….if you are going to stare into my living room with binoculars and then complain about what you see it’s not my problem. Enjoy the view you crazy old bat.
Not to speak ill of the dead, but your neighbor and my folks crazy neighbor could be sisters.
My folks have a lovely deck they like to sit on in spring and early summer to read the paper and drink their coffee.
This chick would sit in her upstairs window which faced my folks deck and yell stuff to them like,”Jesus Christ! Do you two think you could make MORE noise at eight o clock in the goddamn morning!?!”
They were reading the paper and talking….not having a rave, for Pete’s sake.
My kids were often targets when they were playing in the pool, which yes, they can get noisy but it was in the middle of the day….not midnight when folks are trying to sleep.
She was a strange old gal, but I do hope she is at peace now.
I’m so glad our neighborhood weirdo is just one of those nuts who think they own the street parking by their house. The lady left a long winded note on a friend’s window saying she’d call the cops if friend continued to park there
It started with “I dont know you! If you live across the street. Park there!”…if I weren’t peaceful and live in an area I plan in staying in awhile, I’d park there just to get the cops out there and angry she doesn’t understand public parking.
My parent’s neighborhood grump called the cops on them for the dumbest stuff.
She put up huge and ugly “NO TRESPASSING!!!” signs all along the border between their houses, after one of my son’s went a LITTLE too far over while cutting my folks lawn.
My mom once got her mail, and not to be accused of stealing it, walked up and put it in the neighbor’s mailbox.
She called 911 to say my mom was trespassing on her private property.
The cops (who know what goes on between them) came and when my mom answered the door, the officer said, “Well….Mrs. N….what did you do now?!?”
My mom said put her mail that we got in her box….She called 911!!! Are you kidding me?!?
The cop said he figured it was something like that, but still had to come and find out.
We just got a nice snow here where I live. It snowed a good 10″, which is not a lot, but it also went from 0″ of snow to 10″. Schools were cancelled (this is important later), and since driving conditions were labeled as hazardous so I telecommuted. Now, only our neighbors directly behind us (we face east on the corner of a crossroads and our neighbor faces south along the east-west direction street) knows our working schedules. So, they know we are not home until quite late. They also know that my FIL, who lives with us, will shovel after he gets back from work but they are not overly fond of him doing that since he is older. So, my neighbor, having a snow day from his school, plowed most of the neighborhood including our sidewalk and driveway! I was stunned to see him in our driveway, still in the middle of my work day, plowing!! I felt so blessed!!
Any suggestions for a thank you gift?!
A homemade apple pie.
We’ve got some very nice neighbors here as well! There’s an older man down the road who has a miniature snowblower, with which he plows the sidewalk all the way up and down the block. There’s a few kids in the apartment building next door who help shovel out people who are ailing, infirm or just unable to do it themselves. There’s a nearby man with a plow on his truck who people often hire to plow out their driveways for a reasonable price (we discovered him last year; he also does general handyman-type stuff during the warmer months for the same reasonable fees.) I love it here, really.
My parents’ house is across the street from a home for missionaries, basically a single-family home owned by one of the local churches for missionaries to stay when they’re in-between their travels. Last year, we got a lovely family who had just come from work in Africa; they plan on staying for a couple of years so their daughter can finish high school in America. And my Dad met them via a snow shovel.
Snow is infrequent around here, but not entirely unexpected in the winter. Sure enough, last February we got a pretty good amount of snow. My dad set about clearing the driveway to the house; this is not a difficult task even though it is a long and hilly driveway, since he has a plow and chains he can attach to his riding mower that pushes the snow away in no time. Often, he would go ahead and plow the ones of our two sets of elderly neighbors along the street as well, since he knew they couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do it themselves.
He had put his mower up and was tidying up with a shovel on the end of the driveway when their new neighbor came over. The new neighbor politely introduced himself, explained that they had just moved from Africa, and wondered if he could borrow the snow shovel to clear his driveway.
My dad looked at him. “No, you may not.” There was a pause, but before the guy could say anything in response, my dad finished with a smile and the sentence “I’ve got a plow on my riding mower. I’ll be glad to clear it for you.” Dad got his mower back out and had it done in no time. The neighbors brought a cake over as a thank you a couple of days later.
We just got another batch of lovely snow. I have no doubt that Dad has added that fourth driveway to his journey this time around as well. I think he kind of has fun with it.
This story actually made me a bit sad because this sort of kindness is to be expected in my world. My parents routinely come home to find their driveway shovelled, I’d think nothing of lending out a shovel. People usually shovel for elderly neighbours, or if someone is away. It’s just what we do. I’m far away from my family (ie 10 hours and 2 planes) and am so thankful that both my parents and grandmother are surrounded by such kindness.
It’s so nice to read all these heartwarming positive stories of people’s goodness!
I grew up very far north in US where a few feet of snow in one snowstorm wasn’t unusual, and one common courtesy was to help others dig out push out if their car got stuck. I went to college not much farther south and one day I was struggling along though a couple of fresh feet with two brown paper bags of groceries and three guys were stuck under an underpass. One was running the car, two were pushing and it looked like they had had a shovel out and … I put my groceries on a snowbank, crossed the road and put my shoulder to the bumper and that was enough to get the car out. Never seen them again. I helped push many a car over the years and gracefully accepted a couple of classic digout and push helps in return. It was just what you did. I now live where snow is rare and a foot is an incredible amount at once, so helping push or dig out a car isn’t common. I would still help if someone was stuck.