We all have material possessions that we can’t live without. And for 85-year-old Gordon Blakeslee, it was his 2009 Craftsman riding mower.
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While it might be a chore for some, Gordon absolutely enjoys tending to his yard at his Harpursville, New York, home. But when the pandemic started, he had to neglect this duty and temporarily stay with his family during the lockdown.
Gordon quarantined at his son’s house for a few months, and when he returned to New York during the summer, he was devastated to find that someone had taken his lawnmower.
At first, Gordon had no idea what to do. He knew it was only a matter of time before the yard needed tending again, but at his age, operating a push mower was impossible. He also didn’t want to rely on other people to do the job for him.
“A lot of people, my son is one of them, they cut it too short,” he told WBNG.
Desperate to get it back, Gordon took a piece of cardboard and wrote, “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 there all day long.”
He then displayed the sign on his front lawn, hoping that the thief would see it and bring back his precious mower.
“That was something that was precious to him, everything that he has, has value to him,” Candace Blakeslee, his daughter-in-law, said. “If it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be repaired or replaced.”
Candace didn’t know how much Gordon missed his mower until they saw the sign when they visited him.
Wanting to raise awareness about what happened, Candace asked Gordon if she could share his story on social media. The latter agreed, so Candace put out a call on Facebook, asking her friends to contact her if they had any information about the stolen lawnmower.
In her post, Candace emphasized that Gordon didn’t want any donations – he really just wanted his old lawnmower back.
The story was picked up by local news, and many people who watched the report were touched. But one person decided to do something to help the man out.
The next day, Gordon was greeted with a shiny new brand mower in his yard!
The donor wanted to remain anonymous, so it was the Broome County Sheriff’s Office who delivered the gift to Gordon’s home.
“I couldn’t be any more thankful. With everything going on, I know he’s happier than happy to have a mower back,” said Gordon’s grandson, Garrett.
This mower turned out to be so much better than his old one since it’s got some new upgrades.
Gordon is both shocked and grateful for the generous stranger’s unexpected gesture.
“Thank you, what else can I say. I really appreciate it,” he said. “It’s got some new upgrades to it; that’s a lot better than my old one.”
Now, Gordon can enjoy tending to his lawn once again. The activity not only keeps his property looking clean; it also gives him a sense of freedom – something that he lost when the pandemic began.
Riding his lawnmower also allows him to enjoy the fresh air outside and get some exercise, benefiting his health.
“Sit [inside], and you don’t last long,” he said.
Gordon is not taking any chances, so he keeps his new mower locked away on his property. He also had security cameras installed around his home.
It’s unthinkable that someone would even dare to steal from the elderly, especially during a pandemic. The incident broke Gordon’s heart, but after experiencing kindness from a stranger, his faith in humanity has been restored.
“There are still some good people out there,” he said.
Here’s the news story that started it all.
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