She Was Outraged
After the epidemic reached her hometown, Sam was determined to carry on with her normal life even though it seemed strange and surreal. However, when she crossed the parking lot, she noticed something that shocked and incensed her when she looked at it more closely.
She couldn't believe how hypocritical her unpleasant neighbor was, but in the end, she would come out on top.
There are numerous bothersome things that a neighbor can do to make your life miserable. Everyone has encountered a neighbor who is noisy at odd hours or meddles in other people's affairs. However, some neighbors are simply outright unpleasant.
Sam Halms was going to discover that these are the worst types of neighbors.
She Was Lucky
Sam has spent several years residing in the area. She had heard stories of terrible neighbors, but so far she had felt fortunate. Although she shared a parking space with others in her apartment complex, residents tended to keep to themselves.
So, she never anticipated finding something so self-righteous and judgemental on her windscreen when she went to her car one day.
Sam resided in Norfolk, England, where COVID-19 transmission has recently been curtailed by restrictions. Sam knew why no one was permitted to leave their homes unless they had compelling reasons to do so, even if it was difficult to comprehend.
The significance of social distance cannot be overstated, especially when cases rise daily. Unfortunately, Sam couldn't afford that luxury.
Doing What was Needed
She was frightened to see the UK statistics edging closer to 500,000 as she watched the news. Regulations for lockdowns got progressively stricter. Despite the social distance rules, Sam nevertheless got out of bed and went to work every morning. It was her only option.
She was unaware that anybody was looking at her. The proverbial can of worms was ready to burst.
Sam carried on despite being aware that what she was doing put her life in danger and made an effort to ignore it. Like everyone else, she was only trying to get by.
She saw a piece of paper on her windshield as she approached her car one fateful morning, though. She was utterly furious when she read it.
A Horrible Letter
The bold note from the stranger infuriated and upset Sam since the neighbor had been hasty in passing judgment on her. For a complete stranger to attempt to embarrass her, she had gone through too much in the last several weeks. And to make matters worse, the author of the note was too cowardly to include their contact information. She went back and read the note several times, stunned by her neighbor's audacity.
It began, "To the self-centered person."
The next-door neighbor, who obviously doesn't know what Sam does for a career, made the erroneous assumption that Sam was routinely and wilfully violating the UK's lockdown laws and regulations. They felt the need to express their own opinion with a cowardly note, obviously angered by her blatant rule-breaking.
Sam could certainly share her thoughts as well.
A Worsening Situation
The note read, "I have been watching you commute every day in your car. Sam's mouth fell out in shock, "You are not in uniform.Therefore, this trip is obviously unnecessary!" She continued reading the scathing letter after becoming startled by her neighbor's charges.
“You are part of the problem! Stay at home and protect our country + NHS. You have been reported!” But what could Sam do to change the situation?
Sam's hostility was rising faster and faster. They should not have tried to instill that feeling in her. She had gone through much too much to allow them to get away with it. She was conscious of the need to correct this agitator. Retaliation was in order.
She took a picture of the inappropriate message when she got to work, then jumped on her computer and started typing.
On The Frontlines
Sam works as a nurse for the British National Health Service. During the pandemic, the work she is doing is saving lives and helping stop the spread of the virus.
She works at the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Foundation Trust, which was why she was so angered at finding the hateful note that criticized her for driving to work to do her job.
“I don’t usually post much personal stuff on social media, but I’m hoping that sharing this on here will reach the idiot that left me this note on my car,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
“Most importantly… I work for the NHS. I go to work every day supporting our country and have done for many years.”
Taking Them Down A Peg
“While you are clearly spending your days watching me, probably claiming that you’re employed as a ‘full-time mommy.’ Why didn’t you just approach me and ask me what I was doing, maybe then you would understand why I am getting up every day to work for the NHS!?” Sam continued.
Then, she explained why she hadn’t been in uniform.
“Why on earth would I wear my uniform to and from work at this current time?” she wrote. “Equally, not all NHS staff have to wear a uniform – food for thought. If this has reached you, hopefully now you feel like a complete fool and that you should think twice before sticking your nose into other people’s business.”
The response Sam’s post received was overwhelming.
Sam’s' Facebook post has gone viral, with more than 28,000 people sharing her response and urging others to think before they criticize others in these uncertain times.
Though some commenters pointed out that the neighbor may have had good intentions. Most agreed that they could have gone about it in a more polite way.
The Comments Pour In
One user, appalled by the way a member of the NHS was treated, wrote: “There are people who are genuinely terrified of this virus because of the media hype and think everyone who is out is in the wrong and part of the problem.”
Others were quick to point out the uniform protocol for NHS workers.
“The person who wrote the letter is obviously unaware that many key NHS workers travel to work in their own clothes and get changed at work,” another user wrote.
“If you wear scrubs at work, for instance, they would have to stay at work.” And the messages of support for Sam and others in her profession kept coming.
Though it's important for people to hold their friends and family accountable during lockdown and self-isolation for the greater good of everyone in the community, it's equally important to have all the facts when it comes to reporting people for 'disobeying' restrictions.
Had Sam’s neighbor spoken to her before reporting her, there may have been a very different outcome.
“Obviously, [the neighbor] doesn't know her neighbors! Why would uniform-wearing medical staff wear gear worn inside wards outside of work and risk sharing any viruses... should use her brains… and support, not write anonymous notes,” another of Sam’s supporters wrote.
But most people who read the rude note expressed their gratitude for healthcare workers.
It’s no secret that healthcare workers have a thankless job. They work twelve-hour shifts and we need them now more than ever. Most people understand the risk healthcare workers take on a daily basis as they work on the front lines.
“Shows just how cowardly she is by not putting her name to the letter, she obviously has nothing better to do,” another supporter wrote. “Keep up the good work, it is appreciated by the majority.”
Sam couldn't believe the uproar from the people on the internet. The massive support that people had shown her wouldn't be forgotten. She decided to update her post and respond to the community that was behind her.
She edited her post and sat back in satisfaction. But she had no idea that it would bring attention from the wrong side of the internet too.
"You've all shown me incredible support. I just wanted this post to get the attention of the ignorant neighbor, but I'm so glad everyone agrees with me." She posted in response to all of her supporters.
Little did she know, she had caught the attention of some people that weren't all in agreement with her. They were about to speak their minds.
The Wrong Side Of The Internet
Some people started posting opposing opinions that screamed entitlement. They wouldn't pull their punches and tried hitting her where it hurt. To make matters even worse, the original disruptor would catch wind of this.
This would spark a war between people from opposite sides of the conflict. And no one was being nice anymore.
"How can we trust her word for it? I think the letter was completely justified. If the woman really is wrong about her, then she should just get over it. People these days have such thin skin."
"In America, people are ugly to each other all the time, and we get over it," One poster wrote. Sam was taken aback by the ferocity of the comment.
Some commenters reassured Sam that they were just internet trolls. Unfortunately, the anonymous way the internet works means some people make fake accounts and intentionally try to rile others up.
This was most likely the case. Sam wasn't well-versed in internet culture and took the comments to heart. But there would be one last person she didn't expect to confront.
Sam was glad she had so much support but couldn't help feeling bad about the negative comments. She went to bed that night with mixed feelings. She just didn't understand how cruel some people could be.
She fell asleep, trying to think positively. But when she woke up the next morning, something unexpected happened.
Something She Didn't Expect
Sam woke up early and started doing her daily routine. She showered, put on a pot of coffee, ate breakfast, and brushed her teeth.
Next, she changed into her ordinary clothes and made sure her work clothes were packed in her bag before leaving. But as she left her home and walked up to her car, she saw another note on the windshield.
Dread crept over Sam. "When will this end?" She thought to herself as she slowly approached her windshield. The note was pinned under her windscreen once again.
Sam picked it up with her hands and unfolded it. She started to read the note and instantly recognized the handwriting. It was from the very same neighbor and started out, "I saw your post online…."
Something Behind Her
Sam thought about just scrunching the note up and throwing it away, but her curiosity got the better of her. She prepared herself for an ordeal. Would the woman undermine her again after reading her post?
But just as Sam got through the first line, she heard something behind her. She whipped around to confront whatever it was but never saw it coming.
Sam whipped around and instantly recognized that it was her neighbor. She nearly scared her to death, with it being so early in the morning. Sam had many neighbors, and she knew what a lot of them looked like but hadn't said much to any of them.
It wasn't ever more than a polite hello when they were both leaving for work at the same time. But this neighbor had something to say.
"Hello, I'm your neighbor, but we've barely spoken to one another. I need to admit something - I'm the one who put the note on your car, and I also put that one on there as well." The old woman told her.
Sam couldn't believe the circumstance she was in. Her neighbor had now come out to confront her, but what would she have to say?
Preparing For The Worst
Sam prepared herself for the worst. Would she be berated and belittled now verbally instead of in a passive-aggressive note? She was horrible with confrontations, but this was how it had to be.
Sam didn't even have a chance to read the second note. But she stood at the ready for whatever came next.
"I saw the post you made a few days ago, and I saw something shocking. I read through some of the comments, and I didn't understand some people. I think that this has gone way too far, and I'd like to make amends." The neighbor said.
"I had a bad day when I wrote that first note, and I regretted it ever since. Now that you're here, I wanted to apologize to you. The note in your hand is a written apology as well."
Sam was blindsided. She never thought she'd hear her rude neighbor say something like this and honestly couldn't believe it. The old woman smiled and waited for her response.
Sam thought carefully about what she would do next. She could have shouted in her face and continued the feud both in her neighborhood and online, or she could have been humble and accepted the woman's apology.
Sam decided to choose maximum humility. She accepted the old neighbor's apology and hoped she had learned a valuable lesson about judging others without getting an idea of the bigger picture.
Sam never had any other issues with her neighbor again, even if trolls continued to try and get a rise out of her online.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.