She decided to sit out on the porch that evening. Her neighbor had gone out of his way to make her life a misery, so she wanted to see his reaction to her revenge with her own eyes.
The cranky neighbor came out of his motel property as expected. He was so angry, she couldn’t even make out what he was screaming at her.
Helen Reddington had finally fulfilled a lifelong dream. She and her husband Glenn had bought a beautiful property along the Florida coastline in which they would eventually live out their twilight years in peace.
They were super excited to have finally made the move with a fixer-upper they could really make their own. One year later, they stood back to take in what they’d achieved, but the moment was bittersweet.
“What’s going on?” demanded Jim Burtt, the grumpy man that ran the rundown motel next door. “We’re just admiring our finished home, Mr. Burtt,” said Helen to the nosy neighbor over the fence as she stood in the back yard.
“Well, you still haven’t cleared away that trash,” he said, gesturing towards the last few scraps of building rubble that was due to be thrown out the following morning. “Oh,” he added, “and I’ll do you another little favor.”
Despite being an ill-tempered pain in the neck, the motel owner wasn’t ashamed of asking favors from neighbors he didn’t treat with much respect.
And to do it, he would usually share inane gossip about other residents in the area – even about his own hotel guests that had nothing to do with them – and tell them he was doing them a “favor” for telling them. The favors he would ask for in return were entirely unreasonable.
This time, the annoying motel manager wanted to share the side of Helen’s property for guests, including the use of her hose to allow guests to rinse off after a dip in the sea.
In order to keep the peace, Helen agreed. It didn’t bother her too much and at least it kept him quiet for five minutes. Except it didn’t.
A few weeks later, Helen decided to strengthen the fence that separated her property from the motel with some panels, affording the guests using the hose a little more privacy.
Helen spent the whole afternoon reinforcing the divide. She couldn’t deny that it felt nice to create a stronger barrier between her and the motel owner. Then one day while at work, her phone blew up with several missed calls and texts.
“Take it down!” demanded Mr. Burtt, furious that the reinforced fence had been erected without his permission, despite the fact that it would benefit his guests.
Helen couldn’t work out why he was freaking out so much, but she was happy to take the additional panels down. Because if she was going to go to that effort to undo her hard work, she wasn’t going to leave it at that.
Helen got to work appeasing the neighbor by taking down the fence panels but had to pick up a few extra supplies to solve this neighbor dispute once and for all.
The panels weren’t even visible from the motel, so there really was no need to take them down, but they did provide extra privacy to allow Helen to do a few extra things she really didn’t want Mr. Burtt seeing until it was done.
When the work was finished, Helen settled down on her porch with a nice hot cup of tea to sip while she waiting for Mr. Burtt to come out a realize what she’d done.
The frantic phone calls were the last straw. It was time to end this. And she couldn’t wait to see how he would react to her revenge.
Helen documented the petty revenge she exacted on her audacious neighbor on the popular Reddit thread “Malicious Compliance,” to the delight of Reddit users.
She began by taking down the fence panels, as requested. But she wasn’t about to stop there. Seeing as she was already working on the fence, why not add some extra “renovations”?
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.”
“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.”
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?