Member Stories

Neighbors Help Melvin, a Beloved Local Busboy, Get Back on His Feet

Written by Anne Dreshfield

Eric Walls, a neighbor in San Antonio, often visits his neighborhood’s local diner with his wife.

Over the years, he’s gotten to know a busboy at the diner, Melvin, who he describes as kind, respectful, and a man who “has a kind word for everyone he meets.”

A few weeks ago, Eric found out that Melvin’s car broke down and was in need of repair. As a result, Melvin had been biking ten miles to get to work every day. Despite the distance, Melvin always showed up on time, cheerful and ready to work.

Then, Melvin’s bike was stolen. Without it, he was forced to take the bus, which took considerably more time and required three different transfers. After hearing of Melvin’s plight, Eric devised a plan: he’d figure out a way to get Melvin a new bike.

Eric turned to his neighbors on Nextdoor, asking the community if anyone had a bike they no longer needed and might want to donate to Melvin. The response was immediate.

“A kind gentleman down the street, John, had a bike sitting in his garage that he’d only ridden twice. I took a look and there wasn’t a scratch on it,” Eric said. “John originally asked $40 for the bike, but after he heard Melvin’s story, he just shook his head. He didn’t want the money. He just wanted to help out a good man in our community.”

The brand new bike and lock, ready for Melvin’s surprise.

The brand new bike and lock, ready for Melvin’s surprise.

Eric didn’t stop there. He and his wife bought a sturdy lock for the bike and approached the manager of the diner, letting him know they’d like to surprise Melvin at work. The manager agreed to the plan. The next day, they hid out back with the brand new bike while the manager asked Melvin to take out the trash. He did, and received what Eric describes as “the surprise of his life.”

Melvin and his brand new bike.

“He was shocked,” Eric said. “He couldn’t believe it. He just kept saying that it was too much and he couldn’t accept it. Of course, we weren’t going to let that happen.”

Eric added, “We just asked that when you have the opportunity to help someone, just do it. That’s all we were trying to do. Don’t hesitate – just do it.”

Do you have a story about how you have used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

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