Elderly Man Whose Lawn Mower Was Stolen Posts Sign For Thief

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After an elderly man’s lawn mower was stolen, he came up with a plan to get it back. Just one week after creating and posting a brilliant sign, he got an unexpected outcome when he heard a knock on his door.

Gordon Blaskeslee
After 85-year-old Gordon Blakeslee’s riding lawn mower was stolen, he came up with an idea to get it back. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

For over a decade, 85-year-old Gordon Blaskeslee treasured his reliable Craftsman riding lawn mower. At his age, a riding mower was not just a convenience, it was a necessity for him to retain some of his independence. So, when he returned from a trip to find his prized mower had vanished, he was understandably upset.

Blakeslee had been receiving in-home care from his son and daughter-in-law, who brought him back to his home in Harpursville, New York, to retrieve the mower. For Blakeslee, the red mower was more than just a means of keeping up with his lawn. The elderly gentleman enjoyed using the mower when his wife was still alive and mowing the yard had become a reminder of his time with her. Sadly, that connection was lost.

“That was something that was precious to him,” daughter-in-law Candace Blakeslee told WBNG 12 News. “Everything that he has has value to him and, if it’s not broke, it doesn’t need to be repaired or replaced.”

Gordon Blaskeslee
Gordon Blaskeslee decided to appeal to the thief’s conscience with a heartfelt sign. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Hoping to get his mower back, Blakeslee came up with an idea. He decided he would give the thief a chance to make things right. He broke down a cardboard box, found a permanent marker, and wrote a simple message to whoever had stolen his property. The sign read, “Bring back my mower — I am 85 years old! I can’t push.”

“I want it back,” he said. “I used to work out here when my wife was alive. I used to work out here all day long.”

Blakeslee thought appealing to the thief’s conscience might prompt an act of repentance. However, as the days passed without any word of his precious mower, his hope faded. It was a week later that the elderly patriarch received a knock at the door — just not the one he was expecting.

Gordon Blaskeslee’s sign read, “Bring back my mower — I am 85 years old! I can’t push.” (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Much to Blakeslee’s surprise, the Broome County Sheriff’s Department had come to report a response concerning his sign. Apparently, someone had seen his sincere plea and decided to anonymously donate a brand new Craftsman riding lawn mower just like the red one he had owned while his wife was alive. Incredibly, it was even the same model as the one that was stolen.

Blakeslee was taken aback by the stranger’s generosity. In case anyone suspected that it may have been the thief who donated the new mower, Blakeslee hoped to set the record straight.

“I know it ain’t the person that stole my other one, or they would have brought that back and kept this,” he told Spectrum News 1.

A week after Gordon Blaskeslee posted his sign, the sheriff’s department showed up with a brand new riding mower that an anonymous donor had bought for him. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Blakeslee was hoping that his old mower would be returned to him for the memories it holds. However, he reiterated that he was completely satisfied with the gift since the biggest issue for him is maintaining some of his independence.

“I think it’s gonna work out good,” said Blakeslee. “As long as I keep active, I’m mowing right along.”

Blakeslee plans to keep mowing his own property, even if he isn’t living there anymore. Of course, his son and daughter-in-law are happy to drive him and his new ride back to Harpursville any time the grass gets a little too high.

Gordon Blaskeslee
Thanks to the anonymous stranger, Gordon Blaskeslee reclaimed his independence and was back to mowing his own lawn. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

When asked why he doesn’t just allow someone else to mow his lawn, Blakeslee replied with a chuckle, “I don’t like the way other people do it.” Besides, he takes pride in his work, and as long as he is able to keep doing it, he wants to continue caring for his property.

Whoever donated the mower has restored Blakeslee’s dignity and independence. Although it isn’t the mower with which he created so many fond memories, it’s as close to the original as he can get, and that’s good enough for him.