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Christine and Steve Statzer

Neighbors Being Neighborly

Oceanside CA– I thought it would be a nice way to begin our second year with a new feature ‘Neighbors Being Neighborly’. This feature won’t work without your help. Every neighborhood has someone or a family that goes just a little (sometimes a lot) further in making the place better for those around them. We would love to know about them so we can share their stories. If you have someone in mind and would like their story told email me so we can contact them. It’s not limited to Oceanside. Good stories tend to be contagious and motivate us to try to be better too.

One such family is the Statzer family in Oceanside. I workout every day on the San Luis Rey River Trail. Recently, I pushed myself further than usual and went by a home along the trail that had a basket full of fresh drinking water bottles tied to their fence. Next to it is a basket for empties ready for recycling. I made it a point to carry a business card with me so if I ever went by and they were outside, I could give it to them and set up a time to get and share the story behind this act of kindness. One evening I went by and they were outside roasting marshmallows. It also happened to be the one night I didn’t bring my card. I did stop by and asked them about the bottles and gave them my email address so I could get their story. What I got back is the following. Christine and Steve took the time to write it so, I will share it in its entirety. Thank you Christine and Steve. Truly Neighbors being Neighborly.

A few years back, our friend was training for a marathon and he mentioned that when he finally ran by our house he was spent–thirsty, hot, tired. So we started leaving him a bottle of water with a little phrase of encouragement on it, such as “You can do it!” or “keep going!” He told us how blessed he felt whenever he found a bottle of water there for him. We didn’t really think it was that big of a deal–he was our friend and it was just a bottle of water.

Then one particularly hot day, we were sitting on the patio swizzling iced drinks and we noticed many overheated people going by. It’s hard to enjoy a cool drink when you see others needing one, so we got the idea to put drinks in a basket on the fence for people in general, not just for friends training for marathons. No charge, no strings. If they need a drink, they just have to take one. We didn’t think it was that big of a deal–it just seemed like the right thing to do, but there are people who have told us it has been just what they’ve needed. There are times when we put a message on the bottle to encourage or thank or bless people. At first, people were afraid or skeptical about taking one; they would hesitate or ask if it was free or for sale. I think now most people are comfortable with it. People can even leave the empty bottles in the other basket and we will recycle it or let people take the bottles for recycling.

The really cool thing about the water bottles is all the people we have met and with whom we have developed friendships. People’s response has been so nice and many express gratitude, but we have found it has been a blessing to us to do this one simple little act of kindness! We hope those who take the water will be encouraged to pay an act of kindness forward to someone someday, too. The world is a better place when we are kind to each other! So if you are on the bike trail and find you are thirsty, please take a bottle of water and enjoy it.

Steve, thank you for dropping by on that Tuesday night. It was nice of you to ride out to chat with us. We are usually out there on Tuesday nights. I hope this was the kind of information you were looking for. Have a great week! 🙂

Steve and Christine Statzer