RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - How do you show appreciation to the neighbor who reaches out to the entire community day after day with a good deed, or words of wisdom and humor? And who inspires everyone with his amazing energy and indomitable spirit? One grateful family nominated their longtime neighbor for this week's Act of Kindness.
With pep in every step Deacon John Davis makes the rounds of Shockhill Apartments delivering food and fellowship building by building at the former Civil War hospital he's called home for a quarter century.
"He's been here 25 years and this is what he does everyday, everyday don't miss a day," said Geraldine Richardson.
"He's just such a joy. He's so helpful," said Debra Overton.
18-year-resident Debra Overton and her parents nominated the neighbor they say lives by the book.
GERALDINE'S HUSBAND: "We got his good book."
DEBRA: "Oh yeah, this is the book he likes the most."
GERALDINE'S HUSBAND: "And he lives by it daily."
GERALDINE: "And he's so wonderful with it and so gracious and so kind to everybody."
DEBRA: "And a courageous man to live to be 93. No aches, no pains, no complaints."
SABRINA: "What do you hope this means to him?"
DEBRA: "That he is appreciated."
SABRINA: "Debra here is $100, $200, $300."
Debra says it's time to move. We had to go down three floors and back outside where the Deacon is waiting.
"Here's the world's greatest neighbor," Debra said. "He thinks he's going to the grocery store."
SABRINA: "How is it that you stay so active at 93? What's the secret? Please tell us"
DEACON: "Instead of being 93, I'm 39! (laughs)"
Davis says he's the oldest resident in the complex. He may well be the wisest.
"I tell these people 'round here a lot of things that these people 'round here read about. I seen 'em, yep," said Davis.
And he's definitely most beloved.
"Deacon Davis, we think you're so special, and sometimes I don't know if you know, but you are appreciated for all you do, for all the people you help and for just being steadfast in our community," said Debra. "You'll want something in your hand? Well, I have it. $300. That's $100, $200, $300, you deserve it."
Deacon Davis says kindness, like laughter, is contagious.
"If you want people to treat you nice, treat them nice. You can get along in the world like that," said Davis.
"He's always doing something, always helping somebody," said Davis' daughter.
"I just think he's great. He's really great. I'm just so proud of him," said Davis' granddaughter.
Davis plans to share his gifts with neighbors.
"I think I'll spend this and have something for the people in the building," said Davis.
Maybe even a block party.
"Hey you know what, everything dead supposed to be buried. I'm very much alive," Davis said.
If there's any doubt, Deacon Davis dances it away.