Member Stories

Random Acts of Neighborly Kindness

Written by Shannon Toliver

At Nextdoor, we believe that your neighborhood should be more than just where you live, but a place you are proud to call home. 

Oftentimes, the simplest way to foster a welcoming community is with a random act of neighborly kindness! Whether it be offering a stranger a favor or baking a plate of homemade cookies for a housewarming gift, take some inspiration from the following neighbors for simple ways you can brighten someone’s day.

Mary S. | Seattle, WA

After feeling disheartened about the amount of negativity in the world, Mary decided she wanted to be a part of the change. Feeling particularly grateful for the people she had met and who had expressed kindness to her, Mary wanted to express some gratitude to her neighbors by starting a “thank you thread” on Nextdoor. 

Mary began the post by thanking the neighbor who offered up her favorite delicious white grapes from their garden, and another neighbor who begged people to come pick Asian pears from her yard, provided they donate some to the food bank. Others went out of their way to help Mary find the perfect peanut butter bar recipe so she could surprise her guests from France with their favorite treat. Then, Mary expressed her appreciation to the many people over the years who offered her dog toys, an ironing board free of charge, and good old-fashioned home advice.

Mary was thrilled by the response as neighbors began commenting their own stories of gratitude and thanks. Mary says the purpose of her post was to focus on the good and how we can be kind to each other in small and large ways, sharing, “there is much good in the world, and this neighborhood is proof positive! Thank you, neighbors!”

Wally R. | El Dorado Hills, CA

Each morning, 95-year-old Wally wakes up early to greet kids on their way to school with fist-bumps and “Wallyisms” – original sayings that promote love and kindness. After serving in World War II and the Korean War, Wally found comfort in spreading positivity, sharing that “hate and anger leads you nowhere; spending time in war shapes what kind of person you want to be and see in the world.” 

Despite his age, Wally is quick witted and very active on Nextdoor. For years, Wally has taken to Nextdoor to connect with his community and share words of kindness. When Wally fell ill, his Nextdoor Neighborhood came together in worry posting “Where’s Wally?” and in turn gathering a group of nearly 60 neighbors to visit him in the hospital and wish him a speedy recovery. Wally says that joining Nextdoor has been the best way to reach his neighbors and spread positivity around his community.

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Amy K. | Tucson, AZ

When Amy needed to leave town for a few weeks, she was worried about leaving her car outside at the airport in the triple digit heat. She posted on Nextdoor to see if any neighbors could recommend a car service to drop her off at the airport, but within minutes neighbors she had never met were offering to drive her themselves – free of charge! 

Amy was so blown away by the generosity of her neighbors that she wrote a letter to her local newspaper to publicly thank her community for their selfless response. This simple act of kindness brought Amy to tears just knowing that there were people she could count on.

Joe W. | Marietta, GA

Joe noticed an elderly neighbor struggling to clear brush from his yard. The 80-year-old Vietnam veteran was wheezing from emphysema when he explained the county had given him a deadline to clean his overgrown yard. Joe gathered a group of more than 20 neighbors from Nextdoor and spent the next three days with chainsaws and brush-cutters to help neaten up their neighbor’s yard. Joe hopes that this will be the first neighbor of many that his community will come together to help.

How will you spread kindness around your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • My friend, James Zyla, a blind musician 68 years old is the subject of Kingman Equals Kindness. He has been blind and alone ten years in Kingman, AZ The Community adopted “Santa” James as their unofficial Grandfather. He was a wandering poet. Reader’s Digest chose Kingman, AZ as the Nicest City in Arizona. They presented “Santa” James with the Key to the City, April 16, 2019. After that the Ramada which gave him a room in exchange for playing music in the Canyon 66 Restaurant, asked him to leave the room he held for 8 months! So on Sunday April 20, 2019, “Santa” James was homeless once again, sleeping in the park. He fell down the Laughlin Riverwalk on April 26, 2019, as he could not see to walk to his job at the Riverside Hotel Gourmet Room, where he played the Grand Piano. I got him a room at the Pioneer with the help of some of his fans, and finally on June 6, 2019, he came on a working vacation to stay at my house in Ontario, California. We hope to go back to Kingman, AZ where his friends are, but I own a Habitat for Humanity House in Ontario, and they won’t pay me fair market value so I can move on after 16 years of living here. We are both 68 years of age. I am crippled and he is blind, but we do have a good time, playing music every night. I put it on the Internet Piano Bahn for all to see around the globe. We have many friends in Africa watching James make music, the universal language. I made him a website, and I handle his publicity. He was in the Los Angeles Times on April 10, 2019, the cover page and one whole inside page. Now Reader’s Digest. “Santa” James is on your tube as well. He is a world class entertainer! We are going to the eye doctor next week to see if his eyesight can be restored after ten years of blindness! Thank you to Next Door for sponsoring the Nicest City in America Contest. Kingman Equals Kindness! Santa James is one in 7,200,000 residents of Arizona.

  • This blog is truly uplifting. We see and hear of such violence and hatred throughout the world. This is what neighbors did so long ago. You have inspired me to look for the good and try reaching out a little further to help and give back.
    I thank the person who initi!ated this blog

  • You all are so lucky to live in such great neighborhoods. After retiring from my job I moved to Palm Coast a small city in Florida, it was so strange to me that none of my neighbors reached out to me. In fact, I would wave or say “Hi” when I see them but most would turn their head. I have some who are still trying to intemidated me with their friends as I live alone. It is good to know that this ugliness is not country wide. God bless.

  • I lost my job last Thursday due to a coworkers indescretion.Then somehow i got overdrafts due to a unique bank problem. My promised paycheck has not arrived one week later. The Neighborhood kindness came when a neighborhood business helped me with some gas money( on empty) so i can go to the doctor today. Thank you!!!

    • Are not these acts of kindness what the word “neighbor” is all about? An act of helping someone will pay you back and act of indifference or malice will come back to bite you. Your choice.

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