Times are tough, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to steal, and it’s particularly heartless to steal from the elderly.Nevertheless, 85-year-old Gordon Blakeslee was robbed of his 2009 Craftsman riding mower earlier this year in Harpursville, New York. And the thieves took it right from his front lawn.
While Blakeslee loves tending to his yard, he’ll be unable to do so without that piece of equipment since his mobility issues prevent him from using a push mower.And he doesn’t want anyone else taking care of his grass either.“A lot of people, my son is one of them, they cut it too short,” he told WBNG.
The mower was taken when Blakeslee left his home to go stay with family during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Therefore, he’s not sure exactly when the riding mower was stolen. He simply came home to find it missing.
His family is understandably upset for him.
“That was something that was precious to him, everything that he has, has value to him,” said his daughter-in-law, Candace Blakeslee. “If it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be repaired or replaced.”
Blakeslee hoped that a plea to the neighborhood might bring back his property, so he made a sign on a piece of cardboard and set it out on the lawn hoping to appeal to any remaining good nature left in the thieves.
It read: “Bring back my mower, I’m 85 years old and I can’t push.”
“I want it back,” he told WBNG. “I used to work out here, when my wife was alive, I used to work out there all day long.”
People are understandably heartbroken for him now that he’s been robbed not only of his expensive mower but also the sense of self-sufficiency and normalcy the task of tending to his lawn gave him.
“I didn’t realize how much he would miss it until I came here and saw the sign,” his daughter-in-law said.
Luckily, there are some people out there in a position to do good deeds for people like Blakeslee.
While he didn’t get his mower back, one day after his story aired on the local news an anonymous donor had the Broome County Sheriff’s Office bring him a brand new model for free.
“I couldn’t be any more thankful. With everything going on, I know he’s happier than happy to have a mower back,” said Blakeslee’s grandson Garrett.
His grandfather was shocked and profoundly thankful by the gesture – he had no idea the attention would lead to such a generous gift.
“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 he’s back to mowing his lawn and getting out into the fresh air, which he knows does him some good.
“Sit [inside], and you don’t last long,” he said.
The new mower is now secured tightly on the property.
and Blakeslee has had some security cameras installed to protect his new mower. He’s not taking any chances with the shiny new upgrade.
And he’s heartened by the happy ending to his story.
“There are still some good people out there,” he said.
It’s inspiring to see an anonymous donor willing to open their heart and wallet to make sure a stranger could keep their independence. That is kindness at its absolute finest.
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