I’m about to sound like I’m tooting my own horn. So feel free to leave if that annoys you.
Oh, you’re still here? Great!
It’s no big deal. But it felt good, so I thought maybe you’d enjoy reading about it.
On a rainy day a couple of months back, the boys and I were venturing out. We were ready to sprint from our front door to the car, when we spotted some boxes sitting outside our neighbor’s door.
The Bug said, “Mama! Maxine’s packages are getting ruined!” So we quickly picked them up and put them in the covered passageway across from our door.
I rang her doorbell a couple of times, but when she didn’t answer, we just left the boxes where they would be safe from the rain.
By the time we got back from our outing, the boxes were gone and I had forgotten about it.
Fast Forward a Couple Days
My neighbor was on her balcony, smoking a cigarette, as I pulled up.
I got out of the car and she called down to me: “Jane? Was that you who took my packages out of the rain the other day?”
I said yes, it had been me.
She seemed momentarily overcome with emotion. Then she nodded her head and said, “Yes, I thought that was you. It seemed like something you’d do.
“You don’t know how much that meant to me. What you saved… It would have been ruined! But you saved it. I can’t thank you enough…”
I assured her it was no problem and I’d be happy to do it any time. She repeated her thanks yet again, and I was struck by how touched she seemed.
Fast Forward Some More
As I said, this was weeks, if not months, ago. On a couple of occasions since then, my neighbor has thanked me again for saving her boxes.
Then yesterday, the doorbell rang.
I opened it to find a beautiful gift bag sitting on the doorstep. My neighbor was waving to me from her door. She smiled and said, “I’ve been meaning to give you something to thank you, but I didn’t find what I wanted until today.”
At first, I was baffled. I wasn’t thinking about the packages in the rain incident. Then she said, “What you did, it meant a lot. What you saved would have been completely ruined in the rain. I cannot thank you enough.”
I assured her it was nothing, that I was happy to have been of help. She smiled, shook her head in what seemed like wonder, and wished me good night.
Inside, I opened the gift bag to find a little thank-you note and an adorable apron wrapped in tissue paper. I’m a sucker for a cute apron!
Something So Small
In Germany, any of our neighbors would have thought nothing of something like this. We did that kind of thing for each other all the time.
But here, it really strikes me how my neighbor seems to view this little act as extraordinary.
I don’t know if it’s cultural or not. Is that something people just don’t do?
To me, it’s part of being a good neighbor. Looking out for each other.
Being, well, you know… Neighborly.
A Little Kindness
It really does go a long way.
And it felt really good to be able to do such a small thing, and yet make what seems like such a large impact on someone’s life.