After yard sign is defaced, homeowner encourages kindness

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - After someone defaced Alicia King's yard sign in Huntsville, she said she wants to encourage people to be kind to one another.

King and her husband had a yard sign up that read, "No matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor." It had this printed on it in Spanish, English, and Arabic. The Kings have had the sign up for around a year.

"When we first put up the sign, we had a few neighbors come over to thank us for having it because the man's wife was Arabic and she felt really good about seeing an Arabic sign in someone else's yard," King said. "He was really, really appreciative of it. So that's the only interaction we've ever had with it."

To King, it was all about promoting kindness and being welcoming.

"It's a good message. I mean, there's been so much contention around immigration and so many other issues, that it was such a simple thing we could have said to whoever's out there."

But Thursday, she posted on multiple websites to say that they had found the sign, vandalized, in the yard this week. Someone scribbled, "RIP Mollie T" over the languages on the entire sign.

While the intent can't be clear, King assumes the vandals referenced Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old college student who was killed in Iowa. Authorities there say the man charged with the crime is an undocumented immigrant. It is an issue that has captured attention around the nation. The President spoke about it recently.

And this week, some of Tibbetts' family has asked that her death not be politicized. But it seems it's happening anyway more than 700 miles away in Huntsville.

"I understand that you're angry," King said. "But please don't take something that I value as a sign of kindness, and turn it into something evil."

At the end of the day, King said it's no big deal that this happened. She isn't hurt by the action, or holding it against anyone.

"It's just a sign. Somebody just decided to do this. So we will throw it away and get a new one! It is as simple as that," she said. "You can use this peaceful sign for something that's going to symbolize hate, but I'm not going to allow you to do that."

And, they'll get a new one. She hopes that the person who defaced the sign does indeed return, because King makes it clear they are still welcome back to her home.

"If you ever come by our house again, we will get a new sign and it will welcome you... Your thoughts can change, beliefs can change. That can only happen through talking. So why would I approach someone's message of hate with hate? That's not going to get anything done," she said.

King asks people to be kind, regardless of their beliefs.

"It's not hard! Being nice is something that's really easy to do, so that's the easiest way to be a good neighbor," she said. "Just be nice to people! It's really simple."