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About two weeks ago, my Tuscan kale plant disappeared. More precisely, the upper two-thirds of it did. My girlfriend and I, who have tried our hand at gardening this year in the small patch of dirt in our front yard, discovered the formerly two-foot-high plant reduced to a ragged stump, the portion with all the leaves apparently ripped off during the night.

Lest this appear the ultimate yuppie sob story, I should say that we weren’t exactly shocked. We live on a block in Columbia Heights whose wonderful diversity carries its share of risks. Our neighbors include a handful of wildly energetic children who love to run into our house and demand impromptu lessons on our guitars; maybe they got restless and took it out on a strange-looking plant? We live within a three-block radius of three different clusters of bars; a drunken passerby could easily have been the culprit. Or maybe someone simply got hungry.

In any case, we wrote it off as lost, a casualty of the urban environment in which we knew fenceless gardening to be a risk.

And then, over the weekend, we found this wet note sticking out from under a flowerpot:

Attached to the back was a $25 gift card to Ace Hardware, where we plan to restock our gardening supplies in the spring. Never has my faith in humanity been more emphatically restored.

Kale thief, if you’re reading this, all is forgiven and then some.

Top photo by Sigfrid Lundberg via Wikimedia Commons