Seeing With Her Own Eyes
She wanted to sit outside that evening. She had a neighbor from hell who’d always try to make her life difficult, so she wanted to see the look on his face after she had gotten back at him.
The awful neighbor creaked out of his property right on time. He was furious at her for what she’d done. Syllables weren’t clear as the man screamed out incoherently. She just smiled back.
Helen Reddington felt like she finally had gotten what she longed for so much in life. She and Glenn, her husband, had finally gotten the property that they dreamed of along the Florida coast. They were now ready to live out the rest of their years in this beautiful house.
They were prepared to fix up the old house, they saw it as a fun project – to truly make the house their own. After a year of hard work, they took a look at what they’d done. But the moment wasn’t what they had expected.
“What’re you doing?” shouted their neighbor, Jim Burtt. He lived next door and run an old motel that was more of a dump. “We’re just admiring our finished home, Mr. Burtt,” Helen said to him as he peered over the fence staring into their property.
“Well, you still haven’t cleared away that trash,” he croaked as he glanced at a small bit of building rubble that the couple was going to throw away the following morning. “and I’ll do you another little favor.” he elaborated.
Even though their neighbor was a thorn in their side so often he didn’t mind asking for favors often enough. The same neighbors he’d mistreated and be rude to now owed him a favor in his eyes.
The man would share some irrelevant gossip he’d overheard from who knows where and think it was a reasonable trade for an unreasonable favor. The couple could care less about what the motel residents were getting up to and honestly, it had nothing to do with them.
Taking It A Step Too Far
What the motel manager asked for this time was completely unreasonable. He wanted the couple to allow his guests on her property so they could use her hose after going for a swim.
Helen didn’t like this, but she didn’t want a fight either. So to keep things amicable between the residents, she agreed to let them come and rinse off on her property. She thought it would prolong the peace for another five minutes – but that’s not how things turned out.
After a few weeks, Helen put down some panels to reinforce her fence and also give the guests from the motel some more privacy when they wanted to rinse off. How could that be unreasonable?
After spending an entire afternoon fixing up the fence, she felt a small comfort in having a stronger barricade between her and the motel. But while she was at work one day, her phone started ringing nonstop.
The motel manager demanded that Helen take the fence down. He said that she had put it up without consulting him first, she needed his permission apparently. He didn’t even seem to care that it benefitted his guests.
Helen didn’t understand why he was so furious. Then she thought about it and took the panels down happily. If he was going to make all of her work for nothing then she wouldn’t just stop there.
Getting To Work
As she began undoing her work just to please her neighbor, she looked to the side where some extra supplies lay. She had other plans too, it wouldn’t stop at taking down the panels. This would stop the feud for good.
He couldn’t even see the panels from his side of the fence, so it was unnecessary to take them down. They did, however, allow her to do a few extra things that her neighbor wouldn’t be able to see until it was already done.
After her hard work, she sat down on her porch with a cup of tea and just waited. She was keen to see what the motel manager would do once he came out and saw her hard work. In the meantime, she kept sipping.
All of the unsolicited phone calls were what made her feel like she needed to end this. She couldn’t wait to see his reaction when he shuffled outside.
Helen posted the entire thing on a popular Reddit thread called “Malicious Compliance.” A lot of Reddit users got a kick out of seeing the man get what he deserved.
She first took down the panels that the neighbor had shouted about. But she thought of this as an opportunity and got to work on something a little “extra.” It’s always good to renovate right?
After taking down the fence panels, Helen installed a pretty little wrought-iron gate in the alleyway, knowing full-well that she was about to wreak havoc.
She grinned to herself as she stepped back and admired her handiwork. But how could her neighbor have a problem with this new addition? After all, it was her property… right?
The new gate was right in front of the small alleyway that Mr. Burtt’s guests had been using to shower. Helen smiled as she locked it tight.
And considering how petty the neighbor had been, Helen didn’t leave it at that. She wanted to make things as difficult for the motel owner as he had been making life for her.
Helen even went the extra mile to make the division between the properties as clear as possible.
She installed another chain in front of the parking area that motel guests had been using, which also happened to be on Helen’s property. But that wasn’t the only privilege she decided to take away from the rude motel owner that day.
The new chain also blocked Mr. Burtt off from Helen’s trash cans. This shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong.
Mr. Burtt had become complacent over the years about being able to fill Helen’s trash cans with the excess garbage from his motel when his cans began to overflow. Well, Helen was going to put a stop to that as well.
When Reddit users read Helen’s blow-by-blow account of the lengths she went to to show her ungrateful neighbor how much he’d been taking advantage, they clapped back and even added revenge stories of their own in the comments section.
But there was one question on everyone’s mind. How did Mr. Burtt react to Helen’s new “renovations”?
After Helen’s post was upvoted 7,000 times and filled with comments on Reddit, she posted an update.
“I did not expect this to blow up like this, but thanks! This just happened really recently so I’m not sure if or when there will be new info, but I’ll update you guys if I hear anything.”
Redditors also had some advice for Helen going forward. They didn’t think she’d done enough to show her ungrateful and demanding neighbor who was boss.
“This is when you forward his calls to the local building inspectors office,” a user wrote, “…and do a site survey to see how much of his property is really yours.”
Safeguarding Her Property
“That’d be my first action,” another user wrote. “Hire an inspector, take back every inch that’s mine, any active favors get stopped immediately, and I’d probably straight-up block the phone number too. You got an issue? Mail a letter. Emergency? Call 9-1-1.”
“…oh yeah, and security cams around the perimeter of the property, so that if (or when) he/his guests trespass, you’ve got proof.” Helen replied: “Meant to mention this earlier, but we did indeed get cameras and they’re being installed any day now.” But not everyone was satisfied with how Helen’s story ended.
Many Reddit users were expecting Helen to really live up to the thread’s title, “malicious compliance.” “Here I thought she was going strip naked in the outdoor shower every time she was in the alley,” a Redditor wrote.
“Was waiting for that too,” another commented, “the malicious compliance was pretty good but it felt anti-climactic cos we were hoping for more, I guess. The internet has ruined us, friends.”
Change Of Tune
Mr. Burtt kept himself to himself after that and never asked for another favor again. He was forced to pay for another water plan for his guests to shower outside on his own property at great expense – as well as having to fork out for extra trash cans.
Did Helen go too far? Or is this exactly what it takes to stop an interfering neighbor like this for good?