First rule of being a Good Samaritan when it snows: Own a snowblower.
Whether it's because they are altruistic by nature or because they just really enjoy clearing driveways of white coverings, we don't know. But it's clear the snowblower fanatics of York County are more than sources of envy to their shovel-wielding neighbors when Mother Nature dumps a foot of snow on us.
Sometimes, they're only thing standing between you and an epic backache.
James Waughtel is one of those neighborhood guardian angels, who venture into blustery weather, hoods up and gloved hands pushing snow-devouring machines with ease through wet, heavy snow.
"If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford a snowblower, hopefully you'll put it good use," Waughtel, 43, said.
In the York City man's case, putting his snowblower to "good use" Thursday consisted of nine hours outside relocating the foot of snow that had buried his neighbors' sidewalks and driveways.
By the end of the day, Waughtel said he needed a couple Advil. But, mostly, he felt good.
"It makes you feel good that you're able to help people," he said.
Barbara Wilt said she's never asked her neighbors for help with the snow. Yet, since the first snowstorm after she moved into her Spring Garden Township home 13 years ago, three men who live nearby have always cleared her sidewalk.
And that's more than a favor to Wilt, who said shoveling would agitate an existing back problem.
"It would put me in pain for days," she said.
Stacey Burroughs moved into her Manchester Township home just a few months ago. Turns out, she lucked out on neighbors — especially one man who owns "some sort of an ATV that has a plow on the front."
Burroughs said she completed one round of shoveling Thursday.
"I was just putting boots on to go back out, and I looked out the window and there he was in the driveway," she said.
Burroughs said she realized she's not the only person helped by her ATV-powered neighbor.
"He really helps people out," she said.
Of course, snowblowers aren't the only tools Good Samaritans use to help their neighbors when it snows. Being nice really only requires a shovel.
Whitney Pemberton, 23, said she'd been sent outside by her mother to shovel their York City sidewalk.
"My cousin was passing by, and he stopped, and he wanted to help," Pemberton said.
Luckily, she had a second shovel on hand for 11-year-old Quaisear Simmons.
Armed with just a shovel, Mark Raught has been liberating an elderly neighbor's driveway from snowstorm after snowstorm since December, his wife, Christa Raught, said.
On Thursday, Mark Raught took his shoveling skills to the York City homes of at least four other neighbors, Christa Raught said.
And even though he's been offered the assistance of a snowblower, Mark Raught prefers to keep things simple.
"Maybe he was bit by a spider," his wife said.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.