David Perez believes in a good-neighbor policy.
The resident of a house on Murphy Court, a cul-de-sac in Fremont in the Bay Area, Perez a few times spotted through his living room window an elderly neighbor whom he didn’t know by name – 75-year-old Richard Dubiel – on the roof of his house, patching up the shingles.
"It was hard to watch," Perez told an NBC Bay Area reporter. "I was feeling sorry for someone that age up there all by himself."
Last week he decided to try to help his neighbor. But, as a worker at the California State Board of Equalization, Perez has no experience with roofing.
So he took to social media instead.
“I'm trying to reach anyone [who] has roofing experience,” he posted. “I have a neighbor, the man on the roof in this picture, name unknown. He is about 80 years old and climbs onto the roof trying to finish putting the shingles on by himself. I feel sorry for him but I have no roofing skills. I would like to see if anyone can donate their time to help him finish. It appears that he has all the materials so looking for free labor to show up this Saturday, August 29th at 9:00 a.m.”
As Saturday approached, Perez was nervous that no one would show up. But he didn't need to worry.
"I woke up and looked out my window at 7:30, and there were already people on the roof," Perez told NBC.
After more than 1,400 Facebook shares, in all some 40 people offered their help – from experienced roofers like Bob Valdez of Tracy, California, to people who, as Perez told ABC, "donated water, donuts and pizza.”
"My father taught me that it's important to help others,” Valdez, who drove an hour each way with his young son in order to help, told NBC. “And I want my son to see that."
In all, about 20 people climbed up to Dubiel’s roof and finished patching the shingles in about 4 hours.
"I was so surprised and delighted because I was not expecting such a response,” Dubiel told ABC. “You see so much negativity, and out here – this was positive, real positive with no thought of return or reward other than that of helping somebody."
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