This woman proved why you should always lead with kindness.

Sometimes when we’re tired or frustrated, it can be hard to control our emotions. Especially when someone else is doing something inconsiderate, like a neighbor blasting music in the middle of the night. But as one woman proved, leading with kindness and tackling the situation head-on isn’t just a nice thing to do — it can also lead to something serendipitous.

Candice Was Having a Sleepless Night


In 2018, a woman named Candice Marie Benbow reached a breaking point. The 37-year-old lived alone in an apartment, and her new neighbor insisted on blaring his music at night to the point where she could no longer sleep. One night, when her neighbor had a party that lasted until the following morning, she decided to do something about it.

So she baked him a cake and wrote a note, which she shared on Twitter.

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“We haven’t formally met, and I hate we’re doing so under these circumstances,” she began the note. “When you come home every evening and blast music, I’ve come to expect it. Sometimes, it’s a song I hadn’t heard in a while, and I appreciate the throwback. Other times, it’s something I’ve never heard before, and I’ve been able to google a few lyrics and add it to my weekly playlists. To be fair, you’ve helped me catch a vibe,” she continued.

“But last night… Fam, you tried it. You really, really did. I don’t know if you were hosting the official after-party for our building’s holiday social or single-handedly determining this generation’s R&B king. But 3AM is just too late to be that loud.”

She Took a Humorous Approach


Benbow continued with a play-by-play of the night, mentioning timestamps and what she wished she’d been doing instead.

“At 3:47, I realized it was much more advantageous to reflect on your musical tastes and eat potato chips than try to sleep. You really love a piano solo and some soulful drums,” she wrote.

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“At 3:55 am, I should be dreaming about all the things I want Michael B. Jordan and/or Malik Yoba to do to me. I should be dreaming about the life I could have with Lena Waithe if she was single.”

Benbow wrapped the letter by saying she hoped to meet her neighbor soon. She then knocked on the door, but when there was no response, she left the letter and the cake and went home.

Later, Benbow updated those on Twitter by revealing the cake had disappeared. She also addressed some of the questions from the comments. Things like why she would bother baking a cake and not call the police or bang on her neighbor’s door.  

“I ONLY call police for emergencies,” she wrote to one user. “As a single woman, I gotta be mindful of how I navigate tense situations,” she wrote to another. “I have to live here too. I knew I needed to say something. I was looking for a way that didn’t make it confrontational. Plus, I really love to bake!”

The Neighbors Finally Meet

The next night, Benbow said the music was the lowest it had ever been. Three days later, she popped on Twitter to say that she and her neighbor, Tommy, had finally met.

“He’s so freaking cool!” she wrote. “He apologized for the noise, promised to invite me to the next party, and most importantly… HE SAID MY POUND CAKE WAS AMAZING!”

In speaking with Tommy, Benbow also discovered some important information. It turned out he was a music video producer, which explained the constant music. She also learned this was his first Christmas following his daughter’s passing from a car accident.

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“Yall know how rough grieving was for me in the months following Mama’s death. I can only imagine what it would have felt like for someone to confront me with anger when I’m trying my best to get through my first holiday season,” Benbow wrote.

“It was a sweet and gentle reminder that we never know what folks are going through, and it is always best to lead with kindness. When we can extend grace, we really should.”

Leading With Kindness


Benbow and Tommy went on to become friends, and he did indeed invite her to the next party he hosted. Considering how tense the situation could have been, it’s a happy and beautiful ending for these neighbors.

This story also reminds us that leading with kindness is always better. Sometimes people are so wrapped up in their own stuff that they don’t realize how they can affect others. That doesn’t mean they’re trying to make you angry or upset.

At the end of the day, we never know what someone else is going through. So the next time you find yourself in a tense situation, stop and think about how you can lead with kindness. Whether that’s by picking up an extra coffee or tea, baking a pound cake as Benbow did, or just smiling and having a rational conversation, you never know what it could lead to.


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