Wine ninja group creator Christina Kellie (right) and (sisters and close friends) Sara McArdle, Kelsey Waite, and Jennifer Noble, ninja’d Lower Mainland doorsteps with wine last week. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Lower Mainland’s ‘kindness ninjas’ could be coming to a doorstep near you

Communities join in on growing trend of surprising people in self-isolation with anonymous gifts

There’s a COVID-19 twist on an old game called nicky nicky nine doors – otherwise known as ding-dong ditch.

A group of sisters and friends have organized a new, nicky nicky wine door version that’s sweeping across the Lower Mainland during the pandemic.

They call themselves “wine ninjas” and they’ve been coming to doors near you.

Sneaking up to strangers’ houses, they ring their doorbells, fleeing the scene before being seen.

There’s one big difference than the traditional doorbell ditch.

When homeowners open their doors to see who it is – they aren’t left with an empty doorstep, culprit nowhere in sight.

Following this mischief, a gift of self-isolation essentials is left behind. The packages most often include bottles of wine and sweets.

Some of these ninjas, who often double as moms, send out their kids and husbands dressed in all-black with masks to do the deed.

Many of the getaway attempts are recorded on video and shared widely on the private Facebook group.

Leader of the Lower Mainland Wine Ninjas, Cloverdale resident and mother Christina Kellie, said “ninja-ing” someone is exhilarating.

She and group administrators – including step sister Sara McArdle, sister Jennifer Noble, and best friend Kelsey Waite – suited up to ninja 10 randomly chosen members in different cities one day last week.

[Story continues below photo]

Tina told Black Press Media she started the group eight days prior, out of a desire to see “a different kind of message on social media” while she was working and self-isolating at home.

“I found that a lot of mom’s [Facebook] groups and community groups were just shaming each other about social distancing or not. It was a lot of negativity,” Tina expressed.

During the pandemic, Tina found it rewarding to sneak gifts into groceries she bought for her grandmother, who lives in Richmond. She wanted to give Nana a reason to smile in self-isolation.

Out of this same desire – and in order to combat the negativity she witnessed online – Tina brought the Alberta-founded wine ninja trend to her own community and province.

“It started as wanting to see more positivity on my news feed,” she said, adding that at its core the wine ninja group really isn’t about wine.

“We’re really just kind ninjas. Our mission is to spread kindness, however we can,” Tina lauded.

It took just 11 days for her vision to catch on and for the group to grow from just one, to 13,000 people – all dedicated to surprising one another with gifts, funny videos, stories, and smiles amidst a troubling pandemic.

READ MORE: Kindness on all fronts proves uplifting

“It’s just exploded,” Tina said.

As of Tuesday, the Facebook group has grown to more than 16,000 Lower Mainland residents.

Waite, another group admin who knows Tina from baseball, still can’t believe how fast the campaign has swept through neighbourhoods.

“Though, it’s sad that it took this [the pandemic] for people to be so kind to one another,” she said.

McArdle, also an admin, said she’s amazed by the amount people are spending on the gifts. Especially with the knowledge that numerous Canadians have been laid off or now work less hours due to COVID-19.

“It started with one wine bottle,” McArdle added. “We’ve now seen it grow to an average of $50 spent on each person.”

Tina said that less fortunate ninjas have found alternate ways to ninja their neighbours.

“People are making and giving what they can,” she said, with homemade goodies and household items being re-purposed to give.

[Photos continue below video]

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