Random act of kindness overwhelms

A CALIFORNIA Gully family was overwhelmed by the generosity of a gardener when he mowed their lawn for free.

Dennis Ray said he had never experienced such kindness before and was emotional as he told the story of how a local gardener came to donate his time and skills.

"I'm 68, I've got lung cancer and I can’t do it. My wife's got breast cancer, my daughter is due to have a baby and they came round and did it for nothing. I just don’t believe it, there’s still people in the world who will do things like that," Mr Ray said.

Mr Ray said he used to be a handyman himself and would try to help people for free whenever he could but said things were different these days, and generosity was rare.

"Everybody's after whatever they can get," he said.

Mr Ray said the gardener wouldn't accept anything in return. 

"He wouldn’t take anything for petrol or his time and he paid another bloke to help him," Mr Ray said.

"They did the nature strip, they did everything and they wouldn’t take any money."

Mr Ray also has chronic emphysema, so breathing is hard work.

"This time of year when clover is out, that knocks me out," he said.

"My sons are too far away but when they do come up here, they try to do it, but unfortunately we don’t see enough of them because they have jobs. For this bloke to do it out of the kindness of his heart, I can’t believe it."

The generous gardener was Searle Vale, who placed an offer of lawn mowing worth $100 on a community Facebook page, asking people to write to him about why they would benefit from his service.

Daughter Catherine Ray wrote in explaining her parent's poor health but said there were probably others who needed it more.

Mr Vale said the family's situation made him want to help out.

"The lady being pregnant, with her mum and dad both with cancer - they are doing it pretty tough," Mr Vale said. 

"That's really good that someone is so thankful for a little thing I’ve done. I just like helping people who are in need."

Mr Vale, 26, has recently moved from Echuca with his gardening maintenance business, Keep off the Grass. 

"I was thinking, 'what can I do to help someone in the community?', and I had a friend who said there were lots of people on The Shed (a community Facebook page) looking for people who wanted work done," he said.


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