Garry woke up at 6:15 this morning to shovel our snowy driveway. Later he shared with me this sweet story. It needs to be part of our family record. The following is in Garry's words.
I had a great pay-it-forward experience this morning. I went out early to shovel the driveway since it snowed overnight. I got an early start and was feeling good so I just kept going. I did the sidewalk all around the neighborhood and then started on the neighbors' driveways. Just as I was finishing the second neighbor's house, the dad from the next house in line stepped outside and started on his own driveway. To put it mildly, our relationship has been strained. Our kids just can't seem to get along and the parents have basically told their kids to stay away from our family. I considered asking if I could help him with his driveway, but was afraid that would just give him the chance to refuse. So I just walked right up and started shoveling alongside him without saying anything.
At first he didn't acknowledge my presence or assistance, which was just fine. We quietly shoveled side by side until his driveway was done. I wished him a good morning and started walking to the next house. Surprisingly, he said, "I think I'll join you for a bit."
And so we continued around the cul-de-sac, one house at a time. I kept expecting him to bow out and go back to what he had planned for the day. Instead, he kept right by my side the whole time. It was only eight degrees outside, but we were both sweating and working hard. We probably said fewer than 10 words to each other during the 45 minutes we shoveled side by side, but it was good work and I felt like I was doing something positive to both serve my neighbors and repair the ailing relationship between our families.
When all was said and done, we'd finished six houses together. I thanked him for joining me, since I honestly hadn't expected help from anyone. He responded, "No, thank you! Your good deed was contagious."
I know our kids won't suddenly become best friends, or even begin to get along. But I hope that at least we can be friendly toward one another and I also hope they know we harbor no bad feelings about them. Additionally, it was great to provide a service to my neighbors and to be joined in that endeavor by someone who probably wouldn't have ever considered doing it on his own.