Moving to a new neighborhood can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have children. The social climate is one of several factors to consider when relocating to a new city or state. One family of seven shared their experience moving to Rhode Island and establishing a lifelong friendship with their elderly neighbor.

Sharaine Caraballo, 32, and her husband Wilson, 42, moved to Pawtucket, a city in Providence County, Rhode Island. The couple and their children moved to their new home last year and didn’t know what to expect from their neighbors.

“Our biggest fear moving into a new neighborhood was, ‘What if our neighbors don’t like us?’ What if, because we have a lot of kids, they make a lot of noise, and we come from a big family, so what if there’s any conflict with the neighbors?” Sheraine told USA Today. “We’re the only Black family in our neighborhood.”

Many families have reported concern about being the only Black family in a predominately white neighborhood. However, the Caraballos’ fears quickly disappeared after meeting their new neighbor. Paul Callahan, 82, was considered the neighborhood handyman. He showed up with his ladder and other tools to help improve their home.

Callahan offered a helping hand to the new homeowners

“He was coming over with tools. He’d bring screwdrivers and teach Wilson how to fix up the garage, and Wilson followed all his advice,” Sharaine told South West News Service.

The Caraballos learned Callahan recently became a widower after his wife died. They started spending time with him, and he soon became an extended family member.

Callahan, who lives across the street, attends every cookout, family dinner and holiday gathering. He also spends time with the couple’s children and shares stories from his past.

“The kids run up to him like that’s their grandfather,” Sharaine said. “Paul is definitely a family member. He’s no longer considered a neighbor.”

The honorary grandpa says it “costs nothing” to be kind

Callahan says there is always time to talk to people and make new friends. In his case, you never know if those friends will turn into family.

“You get many chances to talk to people. If you don’t take a chance, you may miss a friend,” Callahan said. “It doesn’t hurt to be nice. That’s the other thing, it costs you nothing, but a lot of times, you get a better return.”

It’s safe to say Callahan is now a proud member of the Caraballo family. After all, his newly-adopted grandchildren will be keeping him busy for years to come.