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Advice from Dear Webby
Neighbor Never Thanks for Kind Deeds

Dear Webby,

My husband (age 74) shovels the snow (using our snow blower) and in the summer cuts the grass. After he does ours, he always shovels the drive and sidewalk of an elderly couple next door and the single woman on the other side.

The elderly couple is most appreciative and occasionally brings him cookies or offers him a refreshment. The woman on the other side seems to take it for granted, never thanks him and seems to be demanding of his work.

The only time she even mentions it is when he is late with the grass cutting and she questions me as to if he is ill or away.

I say he should quit doing her work. What do you say?

Feeling Used

Dear Feeling Used

Webby would have quit a long time ago. A simple "thank you" costs nothing. But it is Webby's job to look at this from all sides.

Has the woman lived there long? Is she handicapped? How old is she? Did she ever ask him to shovel or does he just do it?

Does she think "here is a nice retired gentleman with nothing to do and this is a good way for him to keep busy and get his exercise"? Need I say what Webby thinks of that? (They would only edit it out)

Some people are takers and some are givers (most of us fall in-between somewhere). If I were your husband I would stop doing her yard and if she asks why tell her since she never mentioned it he wondered if he should be on her property doing these things.

He can also say he has gotten too busy. Good deeds are great and we all count on them but no one should be taken for granted. Kindness should beget kindness. This does not necessarily mean monetary or constant sucking up, but sincere gratitude. At the very least a simple thank you would be appropriate.

Some people think the world owes them, and some people are enablers. That is what makes it so easy for the first group.

Webby knows a man who does the whole side of his street. One year he handed out flyers saying he was going into business and charging $5.00 for an entire season to pay for the gas. Absolutely no one offered to pay. God bless him, he still does it! He's a much nicer person than Webby.

The other side of the coin is that your husband must really enjoy doing it. That he likes to do for people and feel needed. Unless it is affecting his health, why get involved?

Whatever the reason, it is his decision to make and yours to support. Maybe ungraciousness does not bother him.

Perhaps she says "thank you" when she sees him and he doesn't bother to tell you. He might enjoy the idea that you are a little jealous of his kindness to her. Hhmmm.

Good luck,


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