Hello all! My nieces and nephews have decided I, as the cool auntie, must master this thing called reddit with stories of my youth. I hope you all enjoy seeing the story written out as much as they've enjoyed hearing it over the years!
To start this story, I need to explain a bit about where it happened. My grandfather owned a 150 acre+ forest campground property with over a dozen buildings on the property. These buildings ranged from the common rooms, ceremony hall, barn, 18 different cabins and a few other buildings one might find on the a beautiful campground. This was used as a venue for all sorts of company retreats, wedding events, camps or get aways! Anytime a camp was run that was used horses, my grandpa enlisted the help of the grandkids. He had gotten his fill of screaming and shouting kids or excitedly shrieking women or men who thought they knew best when it came to horses by the time I came along.
One event happened when I was about 11 years old, I was helping out with the Girl Scouts guided tour on one of the trail rides when I noticed the smell was wrong in the air. I had us all turn back while the Den Mother tried to harp on about how I was cutting their trail short. I lied and said one of the horses had a bad limp and we needed to turn back right away. All of the girls were worried about the horse in question and the rider offered to walk next to her horse all the way back. I said he'd be okay but we needed to turn back now.
Well when we made it out of the thick forest trail, where the trees weren't blocking us in, we could see what made me and the horses so uneasy - smoke. Loads of smoke was coming up the mountain, the worst place for a fire to be is under you on the mountain. I knew the property, I'd grown up riding and climbing all over it. I ordered everyone to give their horse their head and let them bolt back to the barn. The barn had a large open arena that was just plain dirt. It would last until we could get them down to the fire station. I let everyone ride hard past me, these girls were barely clinging to their horses and I was worried that someone might fall off if I was completely honest.
Well, we made it back to the arena without any real issues, a lot of the girls were crying. One of my older brothers assured us that everything was alright and told the girls they would be earning a few extra badges today! They'd sign off on them and everything which got the girls to brighten up a lot. Now, the fire hadn't spread too far onto grandpa's property just yet. I knew of the large water tanks, had to join in cleaning them before, but I never understood how exceptional the water tanks really were.
That day I got to see my grandpa's water storage almost choke an entire forest fire. The 5 'small' tanks(30,000 gallons) were accessed at key spots with the fire department. The 3 'Medium' tanks(65,000 gallons) were put onto a sprinkler system that absolutely soaked everything on the property turning it to a thick mud even the gravel and cement pathways were covered in mud!
However, the 2 large tanks (120,000 gallons) were being used with the fire fighting helicopters. To a child, it felt like you were in the middle of the war zone. I was scared as I tried to keep the girl scouts and the horses calm when the fire copters flew overhead to refill at the main large one. By the end of it, the fire was out, the girl scouts got 5 badges ranging from Fire Safety to Leadership and everyone was safe. The Clean up for the fire took two weeks, a lot of pressure washing and a lot of backbreaking labor.
Now, onto the main reason I'm here! To tell the story of petty revenge.
On Grandpa's property there were beautiful trails, a gorgeous vista that had almost no light pollution and plenty of reasons to hike, explore and book us for events. Grandpa was protective of these venues spots because if he allowed people to walk freely, people wouldn't pay for the use of them. So he made sure to follow the letter of the law marking it as private property and would chase people down if they violated it.
One person in town hounded Grandpa for use of the property for free because Grandma attended the Church. She demanded Grandpa give them free use of the property for every book study, every little event. However, she wanted to charge an admission that would go right back into the 'Church' that her husband was one of the pastors to.
To say Grandpa did not enjoy this money grubbing woman was an understatement. He wasn't a Church goer, but to keep the peace with his wife's Church he would host 'free events' once a year or so for this Church's youth. A free event to come up, be fed for a 3 day weekend, interact with the horses, go on trail rides and go fishing in the river or in the big pond on the property. He would host 3 a year for the children in the valley, depending on their age. He would also enlist his kids and grandkid's to help out with the events to save on costs of running them.
Well, after doing this for 5 years, it came out when I went to the Church that she had been charging families almost 300 dollars for the sake of going to the Church. I had gone with my oldest brother who they assumed was my dad and tried to sell him on the event. My brother's face went red and he asked for further confirmation on the dates and the event itself. He agreed to think about it and the woman went on to badger another family. They offered sponsorships that allowed the kids to go up for a discount too. She was squeezing every last penny out of her fellow Church goers.
My brother and I had been there to talk to the head pastor, not this woman's husband, about him visiting our grandmother since she was bedridden due to her old age. Mid sermon though, my brother stood up after whispering to another woman to ask if the one hosting the service was the husband to that woman or not. When she had confirmed that he was, my brother stood up.
This was not our church, no one here knew us. My brother had a voice that could fill up a space while talking at a normal tone so when I heard him suddenly speaking after standing, I was surprised myself. You can imagine the look on over 200 people's faces as a stranger stood up and interrupted a sermon.
Brother: I'm surprised you're able to stand up on that stage and speak of honesty to these people! You and your wife are crooks and thieves! You've been stealing from them for who knows how many events, I'm curious how far down the rabbit hole your theft goes!
Pastor: Excuse me sir! What are you talking about?!
Brother: My grandfather runs the Horse Camp all the kids are attending this coming weekend. He's never charged any of the kids or their families a CENT for using it. He knows how hard it is to attend fancy camps, he had to pay for all of his kids! He hated having to come up with so much money all the time! He hosts a free event for the kids, his grandkids help him run the event! I should know, I'm the Stablemaster during the event!
You could have heard a pin drop, the pastor's face turned a few shades of red and then a woman stood up a few rows back from us.
Woman: What do you mean, he doesn't charge?
This woman looked ready to breathe fire and I noticed this woman had 5 children with her. She looked ready to start a riot as my brother nodded.
Brother: My granddad knew first hand how hard it was to come up with funds and how much going to different places affected his kids and helped them grow. He pays for their food, he let's them use the horses, has his family teach them about horses and, hey Daniel. Remember me?
One of the older kids had been staring at my brother from this woman as he confirmed that my brother worked at the event.
Everything broke out into screaming and shouting at that point and it took us hours to sort everything out. The pastor's wife had gone 'missing' during this screaming match. It came to light the pastor thought his wife, who headed the organization, would give all the funds off to my grandpa. She never put them into the Church even!
Things got a little crazy as everyone realized she was gone and the weight of the scam she'd pulled off on them. Each event hosted around 20 to 25 children. People would donate money to help get the kids of families with less funds there too, so we're not sure how much under the table money was given for that goal BUT
We do have an estimate on how much she got away with. $105,000 was the estimated she got away with before vanishing into the night. To say it was confusing was an understatement for me. I just wanted to go back home and keep an eye on the horses.
My oldest brother's fury was nothing compared to anger my Grandpa felt. He was so angry about all of it and only allowed the head pastor to come up and visit his wife, no one else. He was bitter but at his wife's request, he wouldn't let his bitterness affect the kids.
We hosted the events as planned and Grandpa's bitterness grew as we went from having 25 as our max to almost 50 per session. Every bed was filled in the camp beds, every bunk stuffed and all of our hearts felt raw. I was a kid and I felt cheated, but I refused to let that show trying to follow Grandpa's example. I failed miserably a few times, I'm sure of that, but I did try!
Well, now we're on to the revenge part of the story. All of the above happened in the lovely era of 'Internet is a thing! How new!' Grandpa had his venue listed in the Yellowpages, if that dates us at all!
I had turned 20 and Grandma's health which had been in steady decline over the past few years had really crashed hard. Her end was getting close. Grandpa asked me to help with her and the events going on because he was in no way ready to visit with people at all. So I balanced taking care of her needs and Grandpa's needs with running the venue through the booked events. On the website we had, I removed all the information and wrote a message that stated 'Due to current conditions, only previously booked events are on the schedule. Thank you. We'll be up and running again after the events conclude.'
It was the nicest way I could think to put 'My Grandparents aren't able to handle people at the moment, please leave us all alone.' Well, while in with the pastor in town after tending to things for almost 5 months, my truck broke down. Unfortunately for me, the auto shop needed a part from another city and it would take a few days to get there. I asked a family member if he could tow me to the shop over there and he offered to have his wife drop off their car so I could get back to work with Grandma and he'd take care of my truck. I politely refused, I desperately needed a break. Even just a ride to another town 30 minutes away would get me away from the suffocating feeling with them.
They agreed and took me over to get my truck fixed. Now, the shop owner said it would be about 3 hours to fix it and I could wander around town. I told my family member I was good, he could head out and I'd call if I needed more help. He gave me a hug and told the auto shop he'd pay for the repair. I needed a break and I appreciated that. Family helps family is our family creed.
So I got to wander around a town I never really got to, trying to find a good place to get some food for lunch. When I made it to a restaurant, I noticed a very well made flyer in a window. It talked about an upcoming meteor shower and how beautiful it was going to be. It reminded one about how the next town over's light pollution was going to eclipse the beauty of God's sparkling show. It talked about an event being held up on the mountain, where parking would be $20 for a breathtaking view of the sky, weather permitting.
I smiled a little as I read the flyer and then did a double take. The flyer was boasting about a certain vista. A vista only available on grandpa's land. I wrote down all the info on the flyer and told myself I would call as soon as possible. I went in to the shop to get food and wondered if I'd messed up and completely forgotten an event or not.
Well, turned out I hadn't when I got home and double checked everything. We had parking for maybe 40 cars max, so I was curious where the cars would be parked. I decided to call with an out of state cell phone, thanks to an Uncle and Aunt who were visiting Grandma when I got back with my truck.
Host: Hi, how can I help you?
Me: Hi! I found your flyer! Oh my gosh it sounds like SOOO much fun! I mean, the stars in town are like, 1000% better than anything in my area! Are they really so pretty up on the mountain?
Host: Oh yes! It's one of the best places to watch the stars in our area! It's going to be absolutely beautiful!
Me: But like. I'm worried about how many people are going to be going? Uhmm, like, parking us, my car's not going to like, I don't know, end up with dirt on it is it?
Host: Oh! No worries about that, we have premium parking for $40 but the $20 is parking in a pasture!
Me: The entrance fee is by car, do we need like, another type of fee?
Host: Oh yes, a 5 dollar fee per person will also be needed. Make sure to bring cash for parking and your entrance fees! We'll have food carts too!
I was shaking at this point in anger at this woman. I had checked the schedule and I knew no event was going to be happening. The camp ground had been abandoned a bit, all of the horses moved to my cousin's place at the base of the mountain and I was taking care of Grandma and Grandpa at their cabin on another property on the same mountain. Closer to the hospital and all.
Me: Alright! I'll be there! Thanks SOO much!!
I hung up after the good byes and started to shake in anger. I knew the property was closed down and we'd had issues with someone breaking into the property. I had been trying my best to manage the events, the venue and Grandma and Grandpa. I had.
She had mentioned that a pasture would be parking for everyone and I wondered which one it would be. Then I realized, it was time for the soil to be tilled and smoothed for the horses. I also realized something that I could do that would be... wonderfully evil.
I asked my visiting family if they wouldn't mind keeping an eye on Grandma and Grandpa and I sped off to visit a family member. This particular man had married one of Grandma and Grandpa's daughters and adored the family and worked as part of the Fire Department for our area. I came in with all the information I had and told him my plan. I signed the documents and he put the information away at the back of a drawer and gave me the okay to go with my plan.
I tilled the pastures. All of them. I churned up the dirt and then smoothed it out. Making it look like such an inviting slab of land to park on. I then left all of the gates WIDE open. I didn't want anyone breaking locks and I knew this was going to happen one way or another. Now, if you've ever tilled the soil you know the ground is soft! That's what plants need in order to grow! Hard soil will kill your plants almost as fast as over watering or crows.
The day before the event, I was in the main parlor getting some water when I noticed a car coming up. They sped up and who stepped out but the Pastor's wife I'd seen all those years ago and another woman from the same church. It dawned on me then that this was a con they were using and I wondered how many times they'd used the campgrounds before. I saw red.
I hid and watched as they knocked on doors, checked all over the place for any signs of life and then started to talk excitedly as they sped off. I made sure my Grandparents were well looked after as I kept lurking in the Campgrounds and waiting. They came back the next day, the day of the event and brought a line of porter pots, a hand washing station and a few food vendors that got set up. They turned on the foot lights to the wedding vista and I felt my blood just about boil.
I could have called the cops then for trespass but I had a much bigger plan in my mind for these nasty women. I waited. I waited until I saw cars lining the pastures, 3 pastures worth of cars, the driveway crammed so tight with cars that I was amazed at how many fit. The gravel drive was even being used and so was the cement area by the barn.
I hadn't realized how *big* this event was really going to be and instantly started to worry about my plan. There were so many people! But I had followed the letter of the law with help from my family. I had posted the private property and the closed for maintenance signs up all over the place. I was so nervous as I saw so many people going up the path but resolved that my plan was fool proof. When the food vendors turned off their lights, I knew it was time. Everyone was blocked in and up at the vista. I started with the pastures. That lovely soil plus the sprinkler system quickly became a muddy sink hold that stuck all the cars up to the tires or doors.
I went all out. I turned on every fire sprinkler on the property. I knew the vista was getting a proper soaking too. Everything was. I had started with the pastures first and with sprinklers that could douse a fire, it did everything I remembered as a child. It flooded the pastures, it made the drive ways impassable, it washed out part of the road for anything other than off roading trucks or vehicles. With over 100 cars in the pastures, I was gleeful as I heard people coming down the path. I shut off the sprinklers after '10 minutes' while everyone tried to figure out what was going on.
People were calling the police, emergency services, screaming and confusion everywhere. The two women's car I had taken great delight in letting the air out of the tires and adding extra water under. The car was sunk pretty deep. Well, my work was done. I hiked out and down the hill and left to go back into town.
The Police made it up by the time I'd already gotten back to Grandma and Grandpa's place. I was found there and family vouched that I had been there the entire night when the Police showed up. I explained to the Police I wouldn't be caught up on the Campground tonight, especially not with a Fire Safety test going on. We were to test the water tanks pressure by running them on an automatic timer for 10 minutes and them measuring the water missing from the tanks in a few days when things settled and were passable.
They wanted to know about the event and we said we weren't hosting any events at all, why would we when we'd told the Police department almost a month prior, the Campground was closed until further notice!
The two women who had hosted the event, were caught and charged with Trespass and a whole mess of other things including Reckless endangerment. The Fireman produced the permit too, to test the Fire Tanks, after all, they were paramount to the running of the Fire Department. They had two helicopters that would fill at those stations after all and they needed to make sure that each pump could push out 100 gallons per minute after all!
The women had to pay for tow services, damage the towing caused to the property, hotels and inns for the people who were stranded and didn't have someone else to come pick them up and a ton of legal fees. The woman from the church had been wanted for her previous crimes and had been living at this woman's house helping her to run similar scams all over the country by using 'out of season abandoned properties' for their scams. I don't have too much information on the end of it all, because unfortunately at the time it was wrapping up, Grandma passed away. I do know that all profits from the scams had been sunk into fixing the damages and repaying for the crimes. It cost a lot to dig out the cars that got stuck in the mud!
I hope you all enjoyed my tale of revenge. I did not expect it to be so long to write up, but then when I tell the story to family and friends they all know the campgrounds so I don't have to go into that...
TLDR: Women try to take advantage of seasonal Campground closures. Get caught and all profits sunk in the mud. https://youtu.be/CB74xRALBMw
<---- Give this wonderful channel a listen! They read out the whole story! Thank you so much! https://youtu.be/ByID4Tb0hfs
<----- Give this one a watch too! Another person read the story for you to enjoy!
I can't believe people are reading the story and posting it to other places. I hope the rest of the family stories are also enjoyed.