Things don’t always go our way. Plans fall through, people act unpredictably, and sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with the situation we are in. In these moments it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is.
One woman faced quite an ordeal when a new neighbor moved in. This neighbor never seemed to sleep; he spent his nights blasting loud music that prevented her from getting a proper night’s sleep. So she came up with a solution; what this woman did is proof that you should always kill them with kindness.
Candice Benbow is a theologian and writer. She was used to city life, so she knew what to expect when she moved into her most recent apartment complex. But a few months in, Candice’s living conditions changed dramatically.
When her new neighbor moved in, Candice slowly accepted that she wouldn’t get as much sleep as she used to. This particular resident played all kinds of music late into the night. Candice tried to use the opportunity to expand her repertoire, but one night she decided enough was enough.
On this particular night the neighbor threw a party. Well, it was so late that it was really more like an afterparty – that’s how Candice put it. The noise was blaring until around 4am. At 3 in the morning, Candice decided to give up on her night’s rest and take action. She came up with a genius idea to kindly ask her neighbor to keep it down while preserving a sense of civility between them.
So Candice headed to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning and baked her loud neighbor a cake. This is bigger than what most of us would do. Any other angry neighbor might be tempted to knock on the door with some choice words or to put in a noise complaint, but not Candice. She knew that kindness and understanding would win the day.
I wanted the best way to tell my neighbor that he tried it with his late night party. So I wrote him a letter and baked him a cake. pic.twitter.com/SxPKAzOHp0
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) December 15, 2018
Candice baked a pound cake and typed up a note to go with it. She brought both to the neighbor’s door and knocked. When no one answered, she left her goodies outside and hoped for the best. Her note really was a sweet way of making a modest request:
“Hea!” It started. “I hope you’re well. We haven’t formally met and I hate we’re doing so under these circumstances. When you come home every evening and blast music, I’ve come to expect it.”
In her letter, Candice proved that she was truly making the best of a tough situation. “Sometimes, it’s a song I haven’t heard in a while and I appreciate the throwback. Other times, it’s something I’ve never heard before and I’ve been able to google a few lyrics and add it to my weekly playlist. To be fair, you’ve helped me to catch a vibe.”
Then came the hard part.
“But last night…Fam, you tried it. You really, really did. I don’t know if you were hosting the official afterparty for our building’s holiday social or singlehandedly determining this generation’s R&B king. But 3am is just too late to be that loud.
“At 3:26, I couldn’t tell if you were playing some uptempo hits from The Weekend or you pushed shuffle on some house/techno. Either way, I could have done without that part of the set. At 3:47, I realized it was much more advantageous to reflect on your musical tastes and eat potato chips than try to sleep. You really love a piano solo and some soulful drums.
“At 3:55am, I should be dreaming about all the things I want Michael B. Jordan and/or Malik Yoba to do to me. I should be dreaming about the life I could have with Lena Waithe if she was single. I should not be up singing Maxwell’s “Ascension” simply because you want to be the second floor’s DJ.
“At 4:07, you settled down. I really appreciated that. In the future, as you’re hosting your kickbacks and come throughs, please remember the rest of us. As a peace offering, I hope you will enjoy this pound cake. At 3:30, when I decided to bake it for you, I realized I was taking your feelings into much more consideration than you were taking mine. I hope that changes – especially since I’m only three months into a 13 month lease. Happy Holidays and I look forward to officially meeting you soon.”
She signed the letter, “Your neighbor, Candice.”
After Candice left the letter and cake, it was time to play the waiting game. The next morning when she left her apartment she noticed the letter was gone, so she assumed her neighbor had read it.
“Folks are calling what I did extra,” Candice explained on Twitter. “It was extra AF. Throwing a house party at 3am is extra AF, too.”
Candice didn’t see her neighbor that day, but when night came she knew her message had been received.
AND HIS MUSIC TONIGHT IS THE LOWEST IT HAS EVER BEEN! #PrayerAndPoundCakeWork
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) December 16, 2018
Candice then had the opportunity to meet her neighbor, Tommy. Despite the rocky start to their friendship, the two hit it off. Tommy apologized for his loud noise and promised to invite Candice to future parties. Best of all, he loved her pound cake.
UPDATE: I JUST MET MY NEIGHBOR TOMMY!!!! He’s so freaking cool! He apologized for the noise, promised to invite me to the next party and most importantly…HE SAID MY POUND CAKE WAS AMAZING!!!! pic.twitter.com/NcU8t0ZfqT
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) December 18, 2018
“My neighbor is a music video producer,” Candice posted on Twitter. “EVERYTHING makes sense now.”
After getting to know Tommy better, Candice learned that his daughter had been lost in a car accident that year. This was Tommy’s first holiday season without her. Candice’s heart broke for him. She knew what grief he must be going through, and she couldn’t imagine someone starting trouble with her when she was just trying to get by. She was instantly glad she had taken the route she did.
We did Inside Edition today and a news crew will be here later! So dope to see what kindness can do! So proud of Tommy for finding a way to thrive this year! (SN: I met a neighbor after the interview who said, “I saw this on Twitter and had no idea that it was here!” 🤣🤣) pic.twitter.com/Ddh4HcA2Xd
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) December 23, 2018
It was a sweet and gentle reminder that we never know what folks are going through and it is always best to lead with kindness. When we can extend grace, we really should.
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) December 18, 2018
Next time you find yourself in a frustrating situation, remember this story. We can’t always tell when a person is dealing with something big, but we can choose to approach each situation with kindness and compassion.
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