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Ah, January: when that so-called winter wonderland becomes an endless slog of cold, dark days. So how about something to warm your heart, at least?
Sandee Ramsey, 64, had awoken to heavy snow and double-digit lows in Seymour, Indiana on Wednesday morning. While steeling herself to greet the gloomy day, she heard the doorbell ring.
There stood Zack Croquart, 12, Levi Croquart, 13, and Jacob Stevens, 13 — all strangers to Ramsey. “They said, ‘Good morning. Would you like us to shovel your driveway and walk?’” Ramsey told TODAY.com.
“I asked how much, and they replied, ‘Nothing. It’s free. We just want to help some people out today.’ They looked surprised that I had even asked.”
“I said, ‘Sure, under one condition — you let me make you hot chocolate and give you some money for lunch,’” Ramsey said.
“They were hesitant to accept, but I insisted. And once they had finished, I got to sit down with these young men and find out more about their involvement in the community — in local sports and at church.”
Ramsey was so moved that she called a local paper, the Tribune of Jackson County, thinking others might appreciate some positivity in the often heavy news circuit. Sure enough, a photo of the boys received hundreds of shares on The Tribune's Facebook page.
Ramsey wasn't surprised the story resonated.
“We're a town of 18,000, and it's a pretty close-knit community. But it can be easy to get stuck in our own circles," she said. "Turns out these young men live right around the corner from me. I even know their uncle! But I’d never have met them if they hadn’t reached out to do something so kind.”
After warming up, the boys continued down the block, shovels in hand. “As they left, I thanked them for their hard work,” Ramsey recalled. “They said, ‘No, thank you for your hospitality … and the hot chocolate.”
Even better, the brief exchange set off an avalanche of good deeds. When Ramsey’s three young granddaughters came by later that day, they were so inspired by the story that they went out to shovel a few sidewalks of their own.