The man explained in a Reddit post that his neighbour, Cindy, has a large front garden and uses part of it for a “gnome village” where she has several garden gnomes on display. However, after she recently added a new gnome to her collection, the man’s son “developed a fear” of the garden statues – and now refuses to play in his own garden because he’s terrified of the ornament.
According to the Mirror, the man insisted he spoke to Cindy about removing the gnome but she refused – so he took matters into his own hands and pinched it from her garden, hiding it in a bush so no one would find it.
In his post, he wrote: “My neighbour Cindy has a large front garden. She grows flowers and some produce, and also has a ‘gnome village’ with those tacky garden gnomes you see in garden centres that you can paint and whatnot.
“Recently, Cindy got a new gnome. For whatever reason, my five-year-old son has developed a fear of this particular gnome. I’m not sure why. I’m sure he’s seen something scary on youtube or something. The gnome is just a normal gnome with a gardening hoe and a basket of flowers.
“I decided to talk to Cindy, explained the problem and asked if she would move the gnome to the back garden or behind the bushes on her patio. Cindy refused! I wasn’t asking for much!
“A few days ago, my son was outside playing and his ball rolled into Cindy’s yard. He refused to go get it, and he was crying and begging me to get the ball. I got it and moved the gnome behind some flower bushes. My plan was to move it back once my son stopped playing.”
The man’s plan backfired when his neighbour came out to water her plants just moments later and noticed the missing gnome, leaving him forced to reveal where he hid it.
He added: “Cindy came out to water the garden, noticed the gnome was gone and demanded to know where it was. She even threatened to call the police on me! Over a gnome! After I gave her back the gnome, Cindy told me not to come on her property again.
“I told my wife what happened and while she thinks Cindy overacted, she also thinks I shouldn’t have taken the gnome. She says our son will get over his fear in time or he’ll just have to play in the back. I think our son has a right to play in his own front yard without being scared of a gnome.”
Commenters were largely in agreement with the man’s wife, as they said his son’s fear of the gnome doesn’t mean he can move other people’s property around.
One person said: “You don’t just touch other people’s stuff and think that’s okay just because your kid is afraid of a stupid gnome.”
While another added: “You have a responsibility as a parent to explain irrational fears to your child. Not steal s**t from your neighbours.”
And a third wrote: “Other people don’t have to adjust their lives (or gardens) for the comfort of your son.”