Neighbor kid wants to wash my car
August 9, 2015 5:10 PM   Subscribe

As I was coming home from the grocery store this evening, a kid on my block came up to me and very politely asked if it would be okay for him to wash my car. (He was playing in the street with a bucket of water when I came up the street.) I said okay. How do I thank him?

He is about 9 and I have both bought lemonade from his stand and shooed him away from playing on my stairs in the past. I have never met mom and this boy seems to be in charge of his two younger siblings most of the time.

I want to give him something for doing a job for me (he did not ask for anything) - but not being a parent myself, I don't know if I should have his mom's permission before giving him money (or candy - whatever). Is that okay? I know when I used to do anything or be given something as a kid, my dad wanted to know about it . . .but this kid's situation seems completely different.

Parents of mefi . . . is it okay for a neighbor to give a kid $5 for washing a car . . . or is it better to give candy/treats instead of cash . . . or do I just thank him and find a way later to do something nice for him and his siblings.
posted by ainsley to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could give him a (relatively parent-safe) book, perhaps with an enclosed note for his parents?
posted by amtho at 5:13 PM on August 9, 2015

Parents of mefi . . . is it okay for a neighbor to give a kid $5 for washing a car . . .

I would absolutely give him money...I think he forgot to tell you how much he charged due to not being terrifically experienced at this sort of thing, being nine and all.

I would tell him No thanks next time, because odds are he'll wash your car seven days a week. You don't specify any extenuating circumstances about economics so I'm assuming there aren't any.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2015 [17 favorites]

He wants cash. Pay him what the job was worth, not based on his age.
posted by jbenben at 5:21 PM on August 9, 2015 [30 favorites]

Give him the fiver, or more if he actually did a good job of washing it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

Could you ring their doorbell when his mom or dad and the kid together are both home, and say that you "forgot" payment for the car wash and give him $5 or $10? That way, you know the kid gets it and that his parents know what it's for.
posted by shortyJBot at 5:39 PM on August 9, 2015 [19 favorites]

Definitely money! And this is a judgment call based on not a lot, but a 9 year old in charge of two younger siblings most of the time may not have the most reliable mom. So I'd give the cash right to the kid.
posted by cecic at 6:08 PM on August 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!

Based on the initial responses here, I went out and said to him, "Oh, I forgot to ask how much you charge," while he was washing. He said he didn't know . . . and we settled on & shook on the $5 (because that is what I had on me).

When he was done, I "inspected" it and praised him for his work. As I was helping him gather up his supplies, he asked if I wanted to meet his mom. I said yes, I would love to. So we went to his house and I told her how polite he was and what a great job he did. I said I would like to pay him for his work and she said that would be fine.

So it worked out perfectly and I met a new neighbor in the process. Thanks for your quick responses . . . because I was feeling awkward . . . but the replies to just give him the money led to this happy outcome :)
posted by ainsley at 6:35 PM on August 9, 2015 [102 favorites]

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