man shoveling driveway

“Am I Wrong For Not Paying The Kids That Shoveled My Driveway?”

If you are a neighbor, would you ask for compensation if you shoveled someone’s driveway? The answer to this would direct the article that follows. As it stands, the very concept of a good neighbor is subjective. It is different for different people. To some, it entails baking an apple pie for someone. For others, it is helping them out when they need it. But one idea seems to be common. A good neighbor would do things for their neighbors without any selfish intention in their head. So if you ask for compensation for a very trivial thing you do, you might not be a very good neighbor to your neighbor.

But this has always been an age-old question. Even Moses spoke about it in his commandments. And here, we would discuss the events that took place with a Redditor who shared an argument that they had with their neighbors. As it stands, four kids in her area shoveled the Redditor’s driveway (without the Redditor asking them to do so), and then asked for payment. OP naturally refused, only to be paid a visit by the mother of the kids. This then took the form of an argument between OP and her mother, which led to OP wondering if they were an A-hole. 

OP, or u/beaversm26, stated that they were indeed feeling good about not paying the kids for shoveling the driveway. Simply because they hadn’t asked the kids to do this in the first place. They mentioned[1]:

There has been a lot of speculation on them intentionally running this as a scam or shakedown, and also speculation on if the mom is sort of the mastermind. I think the internet can get really carried away on imagining these elaborate scenarios, and I don’t know what the truth is. Either way, even if the whole scenario was an innocent mistake, I think it was probably a good lesson in boundaries and consent which needs to be talked about more with kids.

Who Gets The Short End of the Stick If the Kids Injure Themselves While Cleaning the Driveway?

driveway being shoveled. A shovel is stuck in the snow with a dog beside it
Image Credits: Pixabay

When Sam Dogen, the author of “Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom” was asked about this, he believed that it was important that neighbors maintained strict boundaries with others. This would help in negating situations exactly like this. The founder of the Financial Samurai blog mentioned, “First, there is the issue of trespassing.

An owner may not be comfortable with someone on their property. Second, there’s a liability risk! If the shoveler slips and falls and breaks his leg, then what? The owner could be sued.” And he is right. Would the mother of the kids take any responsibility if one of her children hurt themselves? Or would she sue OP for having a snowed-out driveway?

As it usually happens on r/AITA posts, OP didn’t really expect their story to go viral. But with the entire internet waiting to judge someone or the other, should they really be surprised? The Redditor was justified in their place. They didn’t ask the kids to shovel the driveway, so there was no point in them paying the kids. Sure, the kids did do a good job and maybe this was simply a kind gesture- but again, boundaries matter. No one would really be happy with their neighbor walking all over their property on the pretext of ‘helping’.

Read: Man Shamed for Demanding Girlfriend Pay for New Sheets After She Leaked on Them

Reddit Judges, and Their Verdict on the Curious Case

Nevertheless, OP does feel guilty about not thanking them. After all, they did do a good job:

They did ultimately help me for no pay, but their attitudes and then the mom’s reaction stops me from feeling too much regret. I ultimately wish I just hadn’t opened the door.

OP further clarified that they don’t have a tightly-knit neighborhood:

Everyone kind of keeps to themselves, and my husband and I are by far the youngest people in the neighborhood. But we’re quiet. I don’t respond or engage in the next door nonsense and so I imagine some people will hold a grudge, but that’s okay. I think the neighbors that do know me will know there’s more to the story.

Users of r/AITA quickly jumped to defend OP, with one user stating:

NTA 100%. As others have mentioned, shakedowns are illegal, so you can die on this hill if you want to.


Another user elaborated[2]:

It’s a common scam in my area of people doing ‘helpful’ tasks and then asking to be paid for it. Firstly I never gave permission for you to be on my property and secondly I never agreed to pay for you to do a task I do each week/month. That’s not being helpful, that’s a scam.

mother paying children

u/SaikaTheCasual went on to respond:

Those kids are intrusive. It’s like someone jumping on your car in the middle of traffic, force-cleaning your windows, and then expecting cash for it. Honestly, I would have just shut the door. It’s obvious where those kids learned their bad and intrusive behavior.

Read: Husband Asks Wife To Cook Dinner 30 Minutes After She Finds Out Her Mother Passed Away

Would You Pay Someone For Cleaning Your Driveway Without Asking For Your Permission? Or Would Gratitude Be Enough?

OP was decreed NTA, with several other users defending their actions for not paying the kids who barged into their driveway without asking for consent. u/Smuff23 stated:

Don’t give them a dime. Thank them for their volunteer work, get a camera installed because these angry kids are going to have disposable income from your sucker and they’ll probably egg your house or something.” 

u/Full_Worldliness1480 had a different perspective on the entire situation. They stated:

This is also something we see quite a bit when kids are being financially abused. They’ll be sent out to do jobs, or beg because quite frankly adults wouldn’t get a penny out of people. If two men had shoveled then knocked and demanded money it would have ended up in a straight no from anyone concerned. Kids though are cute, given the benefit of the doubt. The mum showing up and now creating a s**tstorm to intimidate you could be a sign for this. Them having mum’s Venmo too. Fishy fishy.” 

We agree. What the kids did to OP’s driveway was a nice gesture- if it was meant as a gesture in the first place. But, they had no right to ask for compensation for a task that they weren’t asked to do in the first place. And even if we can forgive the kids for being naive, the actions of the mother were definitely unjustifiable and self-righteous. 

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  1. AITA For Not Paying the Kids that Shoveled my Driveway?Reddit. u/beaversm26. February, 2022.
  2. “Am I Wrong For Not Paying The Kids That Shoveled My Driveway?”Bored Panda. Jonas Grinevičius and Kotryna Brašiškytė. February, 2022.