On the Thursday morning after the presidential election, married retirees Peggy and Larry Zdon received a rude awakening. Someone had spray-painted "Fuck Trump" on the side of their garage in northeast Minneapolis.
They'd fast learn the vandals had done the same on the side of their neighbors' garage across the alley.
The graffiti struck the longtime Northeast residents as odd. While the Zdons aren't apathetic people, they're not the type to be generous about sharing their politics either.
"We don't do political yard signs," Peggy says. "Neither of us had talked about who we voted for except between the two of us. We don't ever talk politics with anyone. I know our neighbors absolutely had no signs of any kind. She told me they didn't agree with putting up political signs."
Within hours the graffiti incident had made its way to the internet, which is where Ben Smith first found out about it. It just so happened that Smith, owner of Marvel Sewer and Drain, was in the area, waiting for his sewer repair equipment to work its magic at a customer's home.
"I was in my work van burning time and just happened to see it on Reddit," Smith says. "It said it was in Northeast. And I got to thinking that I have this piece of equipment with me which is essentially a power washer with a shiny, expensive tip on the end of it."
Smith reached out to the Zdons using Reddit's message board. He was soon knocking at their door.
"That's when this wonderful young man came by and asked would we mind if he used his spray washer," says Peggy. "We're both in our late 60s so, of course, we said we wouldn't mind."
The graffiti came off like a champ. So did some of the building's paint. The neighbor's black graffiti was more stubborn, although Smith's handiwork did make a noticeable improvement.
The incident marks the first time in the 46 years the Zdons have lived in Northeast that they've been victimized by vandals.
"I don't think it was a dumb kid," says Peggy. "I think it was somebody who was eligible to vote who would take that much issue with whoever was elected, but I could be wrong on that. I don't know.
"Either way, it's extremely disappointing. I did not vote for Trump. But he is my president now and you don't say that about my president. We're just grateful that young man arrived to help us."
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