King of kindness: Maine man snowplows people's driveways for free

SANFORD, Maine — Dave King saw the look on the woman’s face as she wondered aloud, “How was I ever going to do this if you didn’t show up?”

She was talking about all the snow that had been in her driveway. She either had not been in a position to shovel it all herself or didn't have enough money to pay someone to clear her driveway.

When King saw the woman’s expression — a mix of gratitude and relief, no doubt emphasized by the worry she had felt earlier — he knew he was on the right track. He knew plowing the woman’s driveway for free had been the right thing to do.

“That’s why I do it,” he said.

Dave King, of Sanford, is in his second winter of snowplowing people's driveways for free, if for any reason they need the help. King hopes to expand this kindness and generosity into a whole network of volunteers that will plow the driveways of people in need throughout York County.
Dave King, of Sanford, is in his second winter of snowplowing people's driveways for free, if for any reason they need the help. King hopes to expand this kindness and generosity into a whole network of volunteers that will plow the driveways of people in need throughout York County.

Again and again and again, and for many others too.

This is the second winter in a row King has plowed the driveways of those in need. To be sure, he has many among his 40 customers or so who pay him. But if anyone is unable to shovel due to health reasons or afford to have their property plowed, King is right there for them.

April Frazier, of Sanford, is one person who has benefitted from King’s kindness. She is a single mother of two children. After one storm last year, she was busy looking after her kids and just knew she was not going to be able to get out there and shovel her property.

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Frazier saw a post on Facebook in which King invited people to contact him if they needed help with that day’s storm. She reached out to him and offered to pay him, but he did not want to be paid.

Frazier was grateful — and has been surprised to see, with every storm since. King has reported to her house and plowed her driveway, never expecting a penny. Now he also plows her parents’ driveway for free. And one time, on a whim, he even plowed her parents’ neighbors' driveway without anyone asking him.

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“He is loyal and committed and always has a smile on his face,” said Frazier, who added that she only knows King through the times he has plowed her driveway.

Winter is hard on people’s bodies and finances, Frazier added.

“Dave knows that,” she said. “He’s amazing.”

Why King offers his snowplowing services for free?

King got the idea to plow driveways for free when he was standing in line at a local store last year and overheard a nearby customer lamenting that she was having difficulty with the snow in her driveway. On his way home from the store, it occurred to King that he could start plowing the driveways of people in need for free.

King said he went online to “Sanford-Springvale: The Happening,” a local Facebook page, and invited anyone who needed their driveways plowed to get in touch with him. King said people were wary at first, as though he had some kind of scam going. But they were quick to find out he was genuine and started taking him up on his offer.

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King even has a name for his enterprise: the Southern Maine Plowing Initiative.

King said he does not have any set criteria for whether he will plow someone’s driveway for free. There are no forms for anyone to fill out. No one has to lay bare their health struggles or their financial situation or any reason why they are hoping for help.

“I go by the honor system,” he said.

And so far, no one has taken advantage of him, King said. Customers pay what they can afford. Those who cannot are grateful for King’s service.

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There is, of course, a reason why people with plows affixed to their trucks charge others when clearing driveways. There are all sorts of expenses related to plowing — the gas needed to be on the road for hours on wintry nights, the licenses, and, without doubt, the need for repairs. A recent repair on his plow cost a pretty penny and racked up the balance on his credit card, King said.

That’s why King has established a GoFundMe account for anyone who wants to donate to his enterprise and help cover expenses.

Big plans to expand Southern Maine Plowing

At the moment, Southern Maine Plowing Initiative is a family affair, with King’s wife, Kerry, their son, Adam, and King’s brother, Brian, providing him with a lot of support.

But King has a vision: he wants to expand it into a network of volunteers who can donate their skills, resources and time to help people in need all throughout York County.

And not just for plowing. In addition to fellow snow plowers, King said he would like to expand the network to include plumbers, electricians and others who would have it in their hearts to donate their talents and resources and, say, 10 hours per month, or however many hours they can, to provide free service to others.

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King said he is not just looking for plow owners or tradespeople. Local scout troops or teenagers who need to meet community service requirements to graduate also can contact him.

Whether you are hoping for service or interested in volunteering, there are currently two ways to reach King: either through a text sent via Messenger on Facebook or an email sent to

King also said he is working with a professional to increase his social media presence on Facebook, TikTok, and other online venues.

King on helping others: 'It just take a will to do it'

A native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, King and his family moved to Sanford in 2018. He’s a busy guy — in addition to plowing during snowstorms, King is a full-time electrician for a company in Woburn, Massachusetts, and faces a daily 160-mile round-trip commute during the workweek. But when asked to look back on his life, King said he and his wife always have sought opportunities and have found ways to help others whenever they could.

King said he often thinks of the ways he would help others if ever he won the lottery – a fantasy indulged by too many people to count, especially recently, with the winning billion-dollar Mega Millions ticket that was sold at a store in Lebanon.

But one day last year, when King was entertaining this what-if scenario in his mind, something occurred to him.

“I was, like, why do I have to wait to win the lottery? Just do that stuff right now,” he said. “I’ve got a truck, and I’ve got a plow, and I’ve got my own two hands. It just takes a will to do it.”

Frazier said King is making a positive difference in the community of Sanford. Judging by many comments Frazier said she has seen on social media, others agree.

“Dave is an unsung hero for this town,” she said. “He inspires hope in humanity."

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Sanford, Maine, man snowplows driveways for free