Bob and Linda Bailey opened their Seventh Avenue mailbox Tuesday to find they had been awarded a Good Neighbour certificate of appreciation through EnhancePG's Great Neighbourhoods initiative.
The program allows people to recognize those who they think make their neighbourhood better. The certificates are signed by EnhancePG chair Linda Self and Mayor Shari Green.
But the Baileys were less than enthused about the recognition once they understood it actually came from someone who was asking for their forgiveness.
In the accompanying nomination form, their next-door neighbour Doug Drinkwater expressed his gratitude and apologies for recently sneaking an extension cord along the Bailey's fence to the outlet powering their backyard lights.
"My wife was wondering why the breaker threw," said Bailey.
Drinkwater doesn't have electricity at his home, which he rents, and runs a generator.
"But at that time I hadn't run it that day and I don't like to run it at night so I didn't have any battery power, happened to be out of propane, it was a rough day, didn't have time," he said. "I don't know what the temperature was, but you could certainly see your breath. I just needed heat."
The award was meant to be a goodwill gesture on Drinkwater's part after he came across the initiative on the city's website.
"I thought it would be a nice way to apologize and, a little ashamed of having to steal electricity, I wouldn't necessarily have to explain myself verbally," he said. "There's a generation of people who have certain respect for positions of authority and that means a lot, so I thought... rather than just going over there empty handed and saying 'sorry I stole some power and threw your breaker while I did it,' at least then I'd gone through some effort."
The gesture wasn't as well received by his neighbours as Drinkwater thought it would be. "They were quite upset," he said.
In a conversation with his neighbour after receiving the award, Bailey said Drinkwater offered to pay for the month's hydro bill.
"It wasn't about the amount of money for the power," said Bailey, "it was about asking first. But he didn't do that."