Neighbor 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.

    • We could also contact or boycott Ramada for turning him out in the cold. Thank you for your kindness, and I send my best to you both and will check out James’ youtube. Xo

      • Let’s not jump to conclusions. Things are not always negative. Maybe the Ramada should be thanked for giving this man a room for 8 months in exchange for his show in the lounge. It would be nice if things could last forever, but that’s not usually the case. Just maybe it was a good thing they did to help this gentleman out. To boycott them without knowing the whole story is an injustice. Hopefully you understand what I’m saying. Thank you.

        • You are amazing yourself. Rare today to see one that looks at a situation from both sides, unless it involves them or their approved ones. Thank you!

    • Sorry Cathi! Your first comment was too long!! I am a slow reader and this is way too long for me to read..
      After going through your comment, I am interested in “Santa on youtube”.
      Anyway, that Arizona neighbor sounds good and all a that!..If, I were you; I just call Cali home 😉 and tell friends to come visit. Especially, if Santa is an artist.
      P.S: I’ll get back to you after youtube 🙂 have a nice day!

      • After all, that Kingman place in Arizona seems a good place to live! And California seems a not-so-good place for Santa..I wish you good luck and If you were my neighbor; I would give your feet, good shoes if mine fit.

        Take good care,

  • 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.

    • Brenda, I share your frustration as I’m disabled, live alone and a victim of domestic abuse. Just asked a neighbor who is always looking out their window if they had seen someone that was banging down my door-nothing. I am kind and thoughtful to my neighbors, report safety issues to them, but it is never reciprocated. Sad people are so jaded, or is it too plugged in to their devices? I hope that they are more kind to you, appreciate the wonderful person you seem to be. Hang in there, God bless.

    • I suppose you need to continue to say hello, and not allow their rude isolating behaviors to convert you into that isolating, controlling manner that is causing them to miss out on wonder relationships.

  • 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!!!

  • I was to help a friend paint and I arrived 15 minutes early. I walked 2 houses down and asked the elderly lady if she had another rake and told her I had 15 minutes to offer. Her face lit up as we got most of the leaves raked ? and she told me how she had lost her husband in March and had to visit her mother daily. I changed her whole outlook on people. She was very happy.

    • God bless you Barbara, when my sons were young (now in there 40’s) there was an elderly women directly across from our home and when it snowed I told them to shovel her walkway and not to take any money from her. Her neighbors to the south of her mowed her lawn in the summer and ran to the store for needs between her family visits. There are not many people that will help a neighbor or stranger, “love thy neighbor as thyself”.

      • Thanks for bringing up your children to see and help others in need. God bless you and family. When my son sitting on a crowed subway car stood up and gave his seat to an elderly lady I was so proud of him.


    • Barbara, that was such a nice thing to do!
      I have just discovered this blog and am not yet sure how it works. I wonder why there are no pictures next to anyone’s names. How do you know what area each person lives in? I would like to get to know some of my surrounding neighbors but it’s really not easy in today’s times. Everyone is always inside. These gated communities are not set up for socializing , especially when most front doors are hidden back to the sides of the houses.

  • I moved here about a year and a half ago. I introduced myself to neighbors on each side. They almost immediately started making complaints and criticism. They have acted rudely and judgemental. I am determined to coexist peaceably and so have not made response. I simply ignore their existance. I live alone and am 88. It would have been so nice to have real neighbors.

    • My dear,
      Not everyone is a jerk. I think you have found your quota for a lifetime. Don’t let them change you and don’t give them the time it takes to think of them. That way, they don’t win.
      Reach out to some good groups of people. What they have to offer is so much more in your lifestyle. Find the good people.

    • What neighborhood do you live in? I am disabled and hard to get around. But sending you computer love and your always welcome in my computer Neighborhood… Sending you Love and Great Cheer…

  • My neighbor had knee replacement surgery and her trash can is down a long drive way. The three children ( 8- 11-14 ) from next door vied for the opportunity to take the trash to the road and return it, even asking if there was anything else she needed. Great kids and wonderful parents. She gave them McDonald gift cards to pay them back.

  • ?…I started handing out cold drinks for the city disposal team for the weekly trash and recycling teams that service my block…in texas it gets hot, so I gave each man a soda and the smiles I received were astounding…a simple gesture has warmed their hearts…I am glad I contributed to a little bit of happiness for the men…christine in dallas tx…

  • its the people who should help you thats too busy for you like your children,but you find nice people who checks on you everyday I am 92 live alone,and I have many who check on me and a big thank you to them and lots of love

    • You are a truly blessed lady. Just found this blog on National kindness Day, kinda serendipitous. My roommate for the past 4 1/2 years lives free in my home in Napa in exchange for light housekeeping and good company for both of us. At 68 and a little mobility challenged, she has been my own godsend. Especially with my daughter and family in Texas. Just wanted to continue a beautiful thread—pass it on. You are it!!

  • In my adult life, I always make every day a act kindness day to everyone. When I see someone in distress, needs help crossing the street, getting a heavy door to open for them, seeing a person having a hard day and crying, I go sit with them just to show my respect for them, and Incase they need or want a shoulder to cry on or need to talk it out. 3 years ago, I was in Walmart, behind a couple that was pregnant with a baby at home with grandma. They were Christmas shopping for their daughter and came up short $ with what money they had on them. I heard and watched the whole event transpire. I got into my wallet and gave it to the clerk and said this should pay for the rest of their what they have, and please give them the change. The clerk and the 2 people were shocked that a stranger would chip in to help them, and the change that went to them, they put gas into their car so they wouldn’t run out gas before getting home. What I got out of it was a warm feeling inside for being able to help them, and I didn’t want anything back in return. However, all three thanked me, which was way more than I expected. When the couple and I walked out of the store together, the husband asked for my name, home address and phone number so they pay me back when he gets paid. I told them I don’t want the money, I just wanted to help them out so their daughter could get her favorite stuffy on Christmas morning. Doing things like this EVERYDAY is what makes me happy just watching others be so thankful that passing it forward is my reward I cherish in my heart forever. ??

    • Julie Marsh Carter, You just made my day! What a great attitude.

      I was in the drive tru of Dunkin Donuts , when it was my turn to pay the cashier said “ the guy in front of you paid for your order” I gave him the $5. I was going to use for my order & told him to put it toward the next order. He said I was the 10th person in line to pay it forward.?

  • Thank you for all the stories evrryone has shared It’s. really inspired me. I live inva small town in Texas. Sweetwater, Texas. People here some try to be neighborly and help one another then you have the hateful neighbor that no matter how you try to get along they are not going to.

  • thank you for the wonderful stories. your stories remind me when we just moved to our new home. on my first day working outside of my house. my neighbors came and greeted me with some cookies and welcoming smiles. that was very nice.

  • In the “spirit of world kindness” allow the message of love and forgiveness to be with you every day.
    A little kindness goes a long way! We can change the world if we treat others as we wish to be treated!

  • Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is your present, your gift, live it to the max. As your first act of kindness, commit to living on the sunny side of your “next door” Street. When walking or driving around your neighborhood, look for someone doing something nice, thoughtful, or something pleasing, beautiful, and snap a pic of it. Share the pic with your neighbors on Next Door.” It’s that simple. Instead of managing by walking around (MBWA) live your life on the sunny side of the street (LLSSS). ?????

  • thanks everyone for such great sharings. As we learn to love ourselves more, it will overflow to listening better to Spirit/Wisdom and so overflow to everyone else. I am so grateful to be here and alive. Ruth K

  • My husband and I moved into a new neighborhood where most of the residents are retired. We are both able to get around without assistance.. We have a weekly trash pick up and my husband goes out and moves our trash barrel and the ones on either side of us because he just wants to help them especially in the winter of if it is raining. He doesn’t want anything for it He just wants to be a good neighbor. It is really to bad that are some who don’t want to be a “good ” neighbor. The neighbors appreciate it,

  • We will help Mundo Verde compost bins get a little upgrade this morning!
    We are also asking the city to install a drop-off location for compost in our closest Farmer’s Market if you would like to sign up, here is the link!

  • It is such a fantastic feeling of satisfaction and joy to pay a random act of kindness to a stranger. I recently grocery shopped at our local Krogers and decided to treat myself with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Minutes after the purchase I realized I would get more pleasure from giving them away. I scoped the store for the person I thought could use a lift and soon found her. A sweet little 80 something white haired lady. I tapped her on the shoulder, she turned to me and I said hello and asked her if she would like to have the bouquet. Of course because of the times we live in she said, Why? I told her I just wanted to make somebody happy today. She beamed and took the flowers. Saying thank you and that I made her day and she would always remember it. We both walked away smiling.

  • I moved into my brand new house in 2016. Once all of our homes were sold (92 homes) I thought the builder would have a welcome party. Nothing. Not knowing how many people would attend, I made a flyer, delivered it door to door and invited people to a backyard party. It was a huge turnout with 47 homeowners present (in total easily 80 people). Everyone brought a dish to share and my next door neighbor was neighborhood watch Captain. So we talked about things going on in the neighborhood, shared stories about our buying experience, shared knowledge of our new city and enjoyed each other’s company. I’m now neighborhood watch Captain (as my neighbor had to move in with her daughter to a nearby city) of all the homes with two co-captains. We have an annual party at my home; participate in National Night Out (which is an event held all over in the US in August); and this year we did a holiday walk over to the next door neighborhood to watch a laser light show and then back to my house for soup/bread, appetizers and desserts. Every year more and more neighbors participate in these events. Now if I can just remember all these names! Lol. I’m really good with faces, but if I only see them once a year, name remembering is a challenge. Anyways, I think anyone that makes the effort, can have a great neighborhood. It just takes one person to get the ball rolling. I’m fortunate to live where I do and now I have neighbors which are friends too. ❤️

  • So true. Jesus showed us kindness so we are required to show kindness. After all he is our example.Cast your bread on the water and you will find it after many days.

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