32 Signs You Live in the Nicest Place in America
How does your town stack up?
Nobody suffers alone
When Paige and Tate Lombard found out their baby was having heart trouble in the womb, they knew they had many, many hospital visits ahead of them. Not wanting expensive bills to cost them their baby, the couple’s town of Wall, Texas, raised more than $50,000 for medical care. With the Lombards out of town so often for hospital appointments, the community gave them hotel rooms and dinners, and covered their teaching shifts so they wouldn’t have to worry about unpaid leave.
They never wait for someone else to help
When the isolated town of Darrington, Washington, was hit with the deadliest mudslide in American history, locals didn’t wait for government officials before starting a full month of recovery efforts. Crews of loggers spent long hours in freezing rain searching for survivors and victims, and rebuilding roads, even after county rescue crews told them to leave. Meanwhile, other residents set up soup kitchens to feed those who’d lost everything they owned in the mudslide. “People here know responsibility, how to take care of themselves and their neighbors,” writes former resident Loretta Bedford. “They pull together in good times and bad.”
Everyone has each other’s backs
Dinah Stephens had just moved from a bigger city to Fargo, North Dakota, and was petrified when a car of teen boys started yelling at her while she was driving. One of the teenagers jumped out and approached her car at a stoplight. She made sure the doors were locked and braced herself—but the boy just replaced the gas cap she’d forgotten to replace after filling up earlier.
Love knows no distance
Amanda Keller moved away from Martinsburg, Missouri, in 2000. But 16 years later, when her hometown learned a rare autoimmune disorder had paralyzed her, the community still had her back. Churches from Martinsburg and nearby towns banded together to throw a chicken dinner fundraiser, collecting items like gift cards, quilts, and gift baskets for a raffle. All the proceeds went to Keller’s family to help with medical costs.
They always say ‘thank you’
Fires raging through the state brought a team of federal firefighters to Hayesville, North Carolina. The tiny town of just over 300 people, rallied together to make those crew’s selfless job as easy as possible. They donated sports drinks, water, lip balm, and more, plus made themselves available to lend a listening ear or a prayer. The firefighters received more than 2,000 thank-you cards. In a video thanking the town, one Oregon firefighter said it was “about the most hospitable state and county that I’ve ever been in.” Learn how to teach your kids gratitude.
No one minds a slow pace
At four-way stop signs in Salida, Colorado, locals politely wave the other driver, cyclist, or walker, to go through first. In turn, that person waves to let that driver go ahead instead. “This ritual takes up more time than the electric red stop light on First Street,” writes John Farrell. Even so, everyone is patient and happy to spend a few extra moments before rushing on to their destination.
They never expect anything in return
An Indiana woman left her wallet at home in her rush to visit her mom, who had just been admitted to intensive care in Alabama. Out of gas with no money, she stopped for help at Jim Oliver’s Smoke House in Monteagle, Tennessee. The owner, James Oliver, listened to her situation, then gave her $200 without expecting a penny of it back. That kind of generosity isn’t uncommon for Oliver, who’s been known to give meals, money, lodging, and jobs to those in need.
When they don’t have money, they give time
During a house fire in 2009, Casey Butler and her family of six lost everything. But they weren’t empty-handed for long—other residents of Lexington, Texas, donated furniture, clothes, food, and more so they could restock their home. One local couple had nothing to donate, but asked if they could pitch in by decorating Butler’s daughter’s room. “I was touched,” writes Butler. “What this loving couple did with my daughter’s room was outstandingly beautiful.”
Strangers aren’t strangers for long
Sure, the Troy, Alabama, police department knows everyone in town by name and checks on the elderly when they’re sick, but this town doesn’t just look out for its locals. Even strangers get a friendly dose of kindness. Residents have been known to wave at strangers driving down the street or help out-of-towners having car trouble. Meanwhile, when first moving to Hixson, Tennessee,Vicki Roginsky was touched when neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves, a basket of homegrown fruits and veggies in hand.
No one has to ask twice
Residents of Kaysville, Utah, are always willing to pitch in, even without much notice. One couple posted on Facebook that they needed some help with yard work. “A few days later, their yard was full of people who brought their own rakes and wheelbarrows to help out,” writes Terry Sheffield. In April 2017, one family lost a son, so neighbors collected money for a portrait of him. Within just two days—in time for the funeral—a local artist made a charcoal portrait of the son standing next to Jesus. Read about a veteran who paints portraits of fallen soldiers.