A letter to my neighbor (who stole my Christmas present)

I returned home a wonderful week visiting friends and family for the holidays. I found some mail waiting for me in my apartment lobby – which had been opened for me.

My aunt mailed a Christmas present to me aaaand….it got stolen.

Here was my reply:

Dear Neighbor, 

I’m guessing you like presents….

Since you opened my mail and took items that were sent to me, you seem like the type 😉 From what I understand, my Aunt Linda sent me a card, a gag gift, and a check. Well, the check was cancelled, the card was for me, and the gag gift probably didn’t mean much to you. 

To compensate, these are for you 

-A gift card to Old Navy (It can’t be cancelled! 😉 ) 

-A Chicago Cubs shirt (Hope you’re a medium) 

-An opened Mp3-Mp4 Digital Audio Player (I’ve had this thing for ever – thought you might want it more than me. Oh, and sorry I didn’t wrap it…) 

Here’s the thing, neighbor – I don’t condone stealing. But I also don’t condone hate. I hope these gifts bring you joy and hope. Apparently this reaction isn’t common – so just know that the next person you take from might not respond this way. 

Happy New Year Neighbor, 

Tony (Unit 14) 

PS – Grab these quick. It would suck if someone stole them before you could get what was delivered to you. (See what I did there? 😉 Sorry….but seriously grab ‘em!)

I shared this letter in a Facebook Live video. I asked friends to share it. So far, we’re up to 800 views and 22 shares. Why is this awesome? Because it’s telling the world that #LoveWins. 

I’d be sad if anyone’s takeaway from this message is, “What the hell?! Why would anyone do that?!” Because asking “Why is _______ so terrible?” or “Why does ______ always happen?” are both very, very disempowering questions.

My hope is that this message gets shared. My hope is that it gets shared over and over until eventually this type of reaction isn’t different or odd….it becomes the norm.

So….help me share it? 


Thanks friends.

Let’s go get ’em.

Other links you might like: 

My youtube channel!

A replay of my follow up video 🙂


3 Things I Learned From My Angry Neighbor

Isn’t it fun to share something at someone else’s expense? Look at all the live tweeting from other people’s arguments and conversations that have gone viral. Stories like these provide a lot of entertainment and amusement.

….but that’s not what this post is about. Yes, it’s a story about someone else. But it’s not to poke fun. It’s to share a lesson. I don’t know what was going on with my neighbor – perhaps she was having a really bad day. I can only imagine what my neighbors are writing about me in their blogs….

What happened:

Some work was being done on the apartment next door to mine. Workers were dropping bricks and rocks from a high roof, and they appeared to be hitting some cables attached to the building. Shortly after they began, a resident from the building came outside. She informed the men that the power had gone out, and was quick to share that she believed it was because of them.  Comments including, “You guys need to be more careful!” and “Bunch of morons….” followed by a slammed door ensured. And because she likes to keep her windows open (as do  I), I heard her telling someone “I have no idea what to do!”

To reiterate – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted and cursed because of inconveniences in my apartment. (Unrelated to the building owners – they’re fantastic). I did, however, want to share three tips we can all learn from this situation:

1) If you want something, avoid confrontation.


I was a bit confrontational that day…(Film: “Kidnapped and Hypnotized.” Writer and director: “Joe Campanella”) 

Have you ever wanted something from someone else and used anger and yelling as a tactic? (Yeah. Me too.) In the heat of the moment, being angry is the reasonable choice. That said, consider who you’re talking to. Often times, we’re yelling at someone whom we might want something from in the future. This applies to landlords, customer service reps, or friends and family members. The last thing you want is for them to fix the problem, resent you, and then find you need their help in the future.

2) Save your energy. Focus on solutions.


Coffee, baseball, and journaling a great solution to most problems…

Ever had a time where you were so busy being angry that you completely missed the problem being fixed? (Yeah. Me too.) My neighbor was too busy venting that she missed the workers looking at the cables and determining whether or not they had caused the accident in the first place. When we focus on problems, we’re making ourselves more angry. When we focus on the next steps, we’re both fixing the problem and making ourselves feel better.

3) Remember it’s temporary.


Book credit: “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” Author: Og Mandino 

Guy who underlined and wrote all over the book: Yours Truly

Weather. Traffic. Running late. Loss of power. It’s all temporary. It eventually stops snowing. We eventually arrive to our destination. We eventually find the power restored.

And we’re not going to die.

And to update you all, their power has long been restored. In fact, I noticed the same neighbor has left her light on all day/night…..seems like a waste of power if you ask me….perhaps I should call the building workers….



Go get ‘em, guys.