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So Much Depends Upon the Return of a Stolen Wheelbarrow

Ask and ye shall receive.

Andrew Killawee is a television producer who lives in Nova Scotia and recently had his wheelbarrow stolen. He announced this with a sign outside of his home: “BRING BACK MY WHEELBARROW.”

By a few days later, the sign had changed: “THANK YOU FOR BRINGING BACK MY WHEELBARROW.” Apparently tersely worded demands for stolen property, in rural Canada, lead to results. And results lead to politely worded replies.

All of this might have gone forgotten—a brief, humorous tale of small-town crime, one among many brief, humorous tales of small-town crime that happen in small towns across the world—if it hadn’t been for something called Twitter, where an acquaintance of Killawee’s, Anna Scott, combined the hand-painted signs into a single tweet.

Scott’s tweet went viral, and Killawee later noted his regret at not being more fluent with the service. “Well it took a lot of hard work, but I think I can now retire,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, “thanks to Anna for really making the big push here … I’ll learn Twitter one of these days.”