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Redditor Calls Officials On Neighbor After She Painted Fire Hydrant Because Of Its ‘Ugly Color’


Sometimes, as we’re walking down the main street of our town, we might come across a fixture or sculpture that we don’t find very visually appealing.

Making us eager to change or alter it to something more in line with our own personal tastes or aesthetics.

But much as we might want to, that is a decision that simply isn’t up to us, and doing so could get us into serious trouble.

When Redditor aita_111119 noticed a neighbor of their’s making changes to something she was not authorized to do, they felt that they had no choice but to report her to the applicable authorities.

Which, needless to say, the neighbor didn’t appreciate in the slightest.

Worried that they might have stuck their nose in where it didn’t belong, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for calling the city after my neighbor painted a fire hydrant.”

The OP explained the situation in a short, concise post.

“A few months ago I was on a walk with my wife and noticed my neighbor was out in her front yard painting the fire hydrant that is in her yard.”

“As we went by I told her that she shouldn’t be painting it since the colors on the hydrant are used to identify how much water it can provide.”

“She just told me that it was an ugly color and she was tired of looking at it.”

“After we left I called the cities office and told them about the hydrant she painted.”

“This week my neighbor knocked on my door and was pissed saying that I got her in trouble and the city was fining her for tampering with the hydrant.”

“She demanded an apology and wanted us to cover the fine to which I just refused told her to go home and closed the door.”

“Should I have handled it differently or was she out of line?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was in no way the a**hole for reporting their neighbor.

Almost everyone agreed that the OP did exactly the right thing by reporting their neighbor, as what they did had the potential to be extremely dangerous.


“Did she think the city just wasn’t going to notice the hydrant was the wrong color?”- mm172


“Tampering with one of those, and yes, just painting it so that it’s less immediately identifiable counts as tampering, can cost lives.”

“She probably would have been caught eventually anyways, you just ensured that it would be before there was an emergency.”- AliceInWeirdoland


“My BIL is a fire fighter and if you’re in the U.S, that could have been a MAJOR problem that could have cost someone their life.”

“The colors indicate the gpm for each hydrant, gallons per minute.”

“You stated it was red and orange, which means the gpm would have been around 500-999.”

“She painted it green, which is 1000-1499 gpm.”

“That is a difference between life and death in the middle of an active fire.”

“They set up the equipment and are fully expecting 1000-1499 gpm, and they’re getting the significantly less gpm, and then they have to take the time to figure out what the actual gpm is, adjust for that, and before you know it the fire jumps, or someone remains trapped inside, because they can’t get to certain areas without others being pumped first.”

“You did the right thing.”

“Her aesthetic isn’t worth someone’s life.”- Hyperion_Heathen

“NTA It’s a safety issue and she didn’t care.”- rjhancock


“If she didn’t want to get in trouble she shouldn’t have painted a fucking fire hydrant!”

“Man, some people are dense AF.”- Stranger0nReddit


“If there had been a fire and the hydrant was needed, the crew would have gotten out the wrong tools or get confused if the color was not one of their usual colors.”- Alita_Moonsong.

“NTA, what in heck did she think was going to happen?”

“It’s not a lawn gnome, it’s a freaking fire hydrant.”-Rocklobsterbot

“I legitimately did not know that about fire hydrant colors.”

“Most of them that I see are painted silver.”

“NTA. I would’ve never dreamed of painting over one, no matter how hideous it looked.”- bina101

“”Waah, the colors are an eyesore, I’m going to break the law and blame someone else when I get in trouble”??”

“lmao no.”- gingerbreadboi


“Sounds silly but I’m curious though what the color was before and after.”- Lumpy_Branch_55


“It’s BARELY possible they wouldn’t have fined her if she denied being the one who repainted the hydrant in her own front yard, but the plausible deniability was paper thin to begin with.”

“It’s her responsibility and personal benefit not only generally as a citizen, but SPECIFICALLY as the homeowner whose property the hydrant is on, to ensure easy access and assistance to emergency crews.”

“This is pretty basic.”- poddy_fries


“But I would have lied and said that it wasn’t me that reported it.”- ohforth


“What color was she trying to paint it anyway?”- catmom81519


“She shouldn’t have repainted it if she didn’t want to get in trouble, I would tell her ‘who cares if it’s an eyesore, the color isn’t about you and what you like’.”- ChrissaTodd


“This isn’t like reporting someone to the HoA for their grass being too long.”

“This is a matter of safety.”

“She’s an idiot and deserves a fine.”-IsThatF*ckedUp

Nope NTA she is you told her not to she did anyway she made the wrong choice.”- Dam1962

“You warned her ahead of time.”

“She basically endangered your neighborhood by making this unclear.”

“NTA.”- Guess_What_I_Think

“Fire hydrants aren’t there to be pretty.”

“They’re there to prevent fires from killing people.”

“Tell her to go kick rocks.”-AndyJaeven


“You told the proper people the issue, and they chose the punishment.”

“You didn’t chose a fine. It’s not hers to paint, and I don’t care that she thinks it’s ugly.”

“It can be dangerous to do that, and it’s NOT HER PLACE.”

“You simply reported what you saw that you knew was wrong.”

“They could’ve fined the whole neighborhood or something by not knowing who did it.”

“It’s best that she has to deal with what she did on her own.”

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the (consequence).”- Fearless-Teach8470


“Imagine if her house was on fire and someone looking for that color can’t find the hydrant for an extra 5 minutes because its blending in with the night sky and isn’t the color they expected?”-dietwatermelonvodka


“It was not her property to paint and by her doing so, it could cost lives.”

“So, you definitely did the right thing by calling the cities office.”- Aggressive-Profit-94

“This seems like a no brainer.”

“She’s defiling city property that could have an adverse effect if it came time to actually put out a fire so obviously NTA.”- Joia_Floof


“I’m not sure if I would have gone so far as to rat her out, but to be expected to pay the fine over something she did is ridiculous to me.”-Thecardinal74


“If they found out on their own they would have tore her a new one.”- Comfortable_Box_8798


“You did the right thing.”

“She’s way out of line for painting the fire hydrant and expecting you to pay the fine.”- Not_A_Bimbo

“OP: ‘Neighbor, the hydrant’s color is functional, alerting firefighters to the water pressure. Don’t paint it.”

“Neighbor: ‘It’s ugly and I’m entitled to look at something prettier’.”

OP: (Alerts city to changed function of hydrant)

Neighbor: ‘You made me have consequences, Whaaaaaa!'”- DevilSilver


“Next time keep your mouth shut and just call the Fire Department or the City.”- DarkAthena

There were a select few, however, who felt that the OP might have been better off had they not confronted their neighbor, and instead just went ahead inn reporting them.

“Yes you should have handled it differently.”

“You should have never said anything to her.”

“You should have silently walked by her and then called the city to let them know.”

“They can explain why her actions were bad.”

“Did you really think that she wasn’t going to come to your place and throw a fit?”-Village_Green_Badger

All of us have colors that we find ourselves averse to, for no truly justifiable reason.

But even if it hadn’t been a fire hydrant, which was specifically color coded to protect their neighborhood, it’s hard to imagine why the OP’s neighbor felt she was entitled to paint something that in no way belonged to her.

Or why she thought the OP should cover the fine, when they were the ones who actually abided by the law.

The OP’s neighbor should just consider themself lucky that the authorities were notified immediately, and didn’t make the discovery during a fire.

Which could have very easily been at the neighbor’s house.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.