Stranger's 'beautiful' act for new residents after garden theft

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

When an inner-Sydney couple moved into their new home earlier this month, they were excited to stamp their mark on the property.

With a prominent spot on one of Surry Hills’ busiest streets, they opted for an array of colour in their front yard, spending several weekends sprucing up their new outdoor space with new plants and flowers.

But last Monday, they were angered and saddened to discover someone had stolen a row of plants from their new garden bed overnight.

“We are disappointed there is a plant thief in the area!” they explained on Darlo Darlings, a Facebook group dedicated for the local communities of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills.

A photo of the garden where four plants are missing.
The new residents shared this photo on Facebook showing where four plants had been ripped out of their garden. Source: Facebook

Dozens of the group’s members sympathised with their new neighbours, promising such an act was not a reflection of the community as a whole.

But it was the response of one stranger that certainly stood out from the crowd during the tough times of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just stopped on my way home from the gym... and bought you these,” Mike Galvin wrote, accompanied by a picture of him holding three plants from the same species that were stolen.

Fellow group members, including the couple who’d had their plants stolen, were overwhelmed.

“So touched by your random act of kindness and sincere gesture,’ the victim of the theft said.

“That’s the nicest thing ever,” another said, while one person called Mike’s act “beautiful”.

“Wonderful neighbourly gesture,” one comment read.

Mike turns out to be the founder of Darlo Darlings and brushed off praise for his kind act.

Mike bought his new neighbours replacements, which they planted on the weekend (right). Source: Supplied
Mike bought his new neighbours replacements, which they planted on the weekend (right). Source: Supplied

“The general premise of the group is helping out neighbours... it’s easy to make someone’s day,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

He said before fingers began to point to who might be responsible, he decided to step in and try and resolve the issue.

“Whether it’s pre or post COVID, that’s just something we live with in the inner-city... it could have been a host of things,” Mike said.

“It was something easy for a fellow neighbour [to do], and that was me on the day and it will be someone else next time.”

The new residents picked up their new plants over the weekend from local business Mark the Florist and have since sent photos to Mike of the new additions taking pride of place in their garden.

“They’ve invited me round to have a look on Saturday afternoon as well!”

Mike said the couple had decided to buy a handful of extra plants from the business, one of many in the area doing it tough during the pandemic.

“So many people are being super supportive of small businesses at the moment whether they’re doing their gardening or buying takeaways, it’s really good to see.”

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