When a Halloween thief stole a pumpkin from the front porch of her family's home, one Washington, D.C., mom didn't just get mad, she got creative.
The mom, Becky Reina, 33, posted a sign on the front of her house with a clear message for the person or persons who took the pumpkin her 2-year-old son, Tommy, had specifically picked as his own just days before.
"To the person who stole my son's pumpkin: Thank you for the life lesson, this will help teach him that sometimes people are mean for no reason, and you have to just brush it off. Because my son is two years old and cannot read the sign, I will add, you are an ***hole," Reina wrote.
"It was just the mom in me that got upset," Reina, a lawyer turned stay-at-home mom to Tommy and his 3-month-old sister, Abby, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "I figured the sign would be a way to make me feel better and also distract him."
Reina was worried how her son would react after she discovered his pumpkin was missing from their home's front porch last Thursday night, just around Tommy's bedtime. The Reinas had gone to a pumpkin orchard the previous Sunday and Tommy had picked out four pumpkins, one for each of his immediate family members.
"Every morning we'd go out and count the pumpkins," Reina said. "The fact that it was only his that was missing was somehow so much more upsetting."
"We never thought about switching it out," she said. "He'd be on to us."
Reina made the sign that same night and hung it up, with Tommy's help, the next morning. The sign not only successfully distracted Tommy, it also caught the eyes of the family's neighbors and the world.
Reina posted a photo of the sign to her Facebook page, a friend posted the photo on Reddit and it quickly went viral, drawing media coverage from as far away as England.
"We live really close to Howard University so lots of college kids walk by and they find it particularly funny," Reina said of the local reaction. "People stop to look at it and knock on the door and share stories."
Reina says most people are particularly amused by the last line of the sign, which she says she had to include in order to be okay with posting it.
"The sign is a joke, for sure," she said. "I wouldn't put up a sign that isn't funny and I wouldn't have put the sign up without the last line for sure, because that's what makes it funny. That's the punch line."
Reina's real message with the sign, she says, was to teach Tommy that, "bad things happen and you have to just get over them and brush it off."
The lesson seems to have worked for 2-year-old Tommy who still plans to dress as a mummy for Halloween and trick-or-treat in his family's neighborhood, according to his mom.