We like to think that the internet is a wonderful invention, a tool that makes all of our lives better. While that’s often true, we all know that online activities can cater to the worst in human nature.
In fact, neighborhood-focused social media sites seem to be some of the nastiest offenders. But when a Georgia man encountered people making a fuss on such a site, he decided to turn complaints into compassion.
Joe Ward of Woodstock, Georgia, logged on to a local app in April to see familiar grumbling. On his neighborhood’s site, people were complaining about a badly overgrown yard, according to WSB-TV.
Such complaints aren’t uncommon. In fact, HowStuffWorks highlighted the tendency for seemingly practical social-media spaces to degenerate.
The site quoted an established Philadelphia blogger who’d become fed up with the way complaining had become a substitute for action.
“Reminder,” the blogger wrote, “posting on the internet in private groups doesn’t count as working hard to be a good member of your community.”
Neighbors pitch in to help disabled Viet Nam vet tackle a yard overrun by bushes and weeds. 4pm pic.twitter.com/u2e8UPxWZK
— Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) April 30, 2019
That’s a sentiment with which Ward agreed. While everyone piled complaints on to his neighbor with the overgrown yard, he decided to do something different.
He drove over to the property in question and met the neighbor.
What he found would’ve shocked people on that neighborhood site.
The person who lived there wasn’t some drug-addled ne’er-do-well or a lazy pensioner with a yearning for daytime television.
Instead, Ward found an elderly veteran trying his best to straighten out the situation, but his physical limitations had made it almost impossible.
See, the man had emphysema, KOKI-TV reported. When Ward arrived, the veteran was attempting to clean up his yard on his own.
“He was loading brush on his own,” Ward said.
“He’s 80 years old. He was wheezing and having a great deal of difficulty with a massive task ahead of him. And no one offered to help him.”
Ward soon changed that. He grabbed a group of willing volunteers and they started work on the veteran’s property.
“We’ve gotten responses from people who wanted to help veterans or the elderly,” volunteer Tim Cheseborough told WSB-TV.
“I think it’s just great that people are helping a neighbor.”
Ward hopes that more people will get their hands dirty rather than carping online.
“When I saw that post, I was horrified,” he recalled.
“Then to have everyone suddenly be quiet and have the positive people chime in was very inspirational. We’d like to have neighbors help neighbors instead of causing problems or being negative about their situations.”
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