LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A mysterious Twitter profile started a new game in Louisville, hiding garden gnomes with cash attached. But, why? We wanted answers, so we went to see a man about a gnome.
We all drive different roads through life. We walk different paths. You’ve probably heard all the sayings. But, sometimes, if you’re lucky, that path finds you hiding a garden gnome in a snowy park in the dead of winter.
This particular path started in early February, when that Twitter profile popped up. “The Louisville Gnome,” he called himself. His first tweet read, “Ok Boys and Girls. Everyday this month I will hide a Gnome around Louisville with money. A picture will be posted and a hint. #GnomeGame” Well, we tracked down this elusive Mr. Gnome. His identity a well-guarded secret, he hid behind his namesake for our conversations. “I have friends at my school that don’t know it’s me and they’re like, all joining up together to find the gnome. That sense of community, everyone’s working together.”
We had the exclusive opportunity to accompany Mr. Gnome on a highly secretive mission to hide one of his mascots; a garden gnome with an affinity for the Chicago Bears and a Ziploc baggie full of cash. So, with the gnome tucked stealthily under a playground in Willow Park, we crossed the street, cameras trained on the park, waiting.
Within minutes, we had a gnome seeker in our sights. Despite our best efforts, it took this pro less than a minute to spot the gnome. As it turned out, the seeker was a friend of Mr. Gnome’s. She was shocked when we walked up.
It’s a fun game, certainly, but to Mr. Gnome, it’s more than that. The money is Mr. Gnome’s inheritance from his grandfather. “He basically told me, just do something unique with the money,” he explained.
Mr. Gnome realizes that his particular road through life has been a pretty smooth ride. “I feel like I’ve always been kind of privileged, like, I’ve been set up in like, a privileged environment,” he said. But, instead of cruising through life, he hopes to use the money as a bridge; a connector. “I kind of, I really wanted to give back to the community. As cliché as that sounds, that’s like, exactly what I really wanted to do.” Caroline said she and her friends have made a hobby out of joining up and searching for gnomes. “Last snow day, a bunch of my friends showed up at my house and they were like, ‘We’re going to go Louisville Gnome seeking!’”
What those who find the gnomes do with the money isn’t as important as the fun they have finding it. But, if Mr. Gnome had his way, they’d pay it forward. “I would really like them to pass it on to someone else that really needs it. That was kind of my main goal. I mean, honestly, it’s their choice.”
His game alone may not change the world, but I can tell you one thing about Mr. Gnome, he’s still young and he’s just getting started. Mr. Gnome also works with the charity Free the Children, which works to remove the barriers to education and break the cycle of poverty.