5-Year-Old Knocks Over Sculpture, Family Gets Bill For £99,000

Amy Packham

We all know how clumsy toddlers can be, but what would you do if your little one broke an expensive sculpture in a gallery and you were asked to foot the bill?

That’s exactly what happened to one mother in Kansas, US, when her five-year-old son knocked over a £99,000 sculpture ($132,000) at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Centre. The family had been at the centre for a wedding reception that afternoon and were getting ready to leave. 

CCTV footage showed the boy touching the sculpture at the centre which slightly wobbled forward. He tried to push it back up, but the sculpture fell on the floor, causing the boy to fall over, too.  

The boy’s mother, Sarah Goodman, received a letter from the insurance company representing the centre one month later, explaining the sculpture was damaged beyond repair.

The letter said: “This loss occurred when your son was in a closed area of the property and toppled a glass sculpture. Under common law in Kansas, you are responsible for the supervision of a minor child and your failure to monitor them during this loss could be considered negligent.”

Goodman said she was offended by the letter, and explained that the sculpture itself should have been protected if it was valuable. She said it was not behind glass or protected. 

“It needed to be cemented,” she told Kansas City Star. “They obviously didn’t secure it safely. It’s clear accidents happen and this was an accident. I don’t want to diminish the value of their art. But I can’t pay for that.”

A spokesman for the centre, Sean Reilly, said, according to Sky News, that the piece of artwork had been loaned to the centre and there had been no problem with kids touching artwork there before.

The family are now trying to settle the bill using their homeowners’ insurance. 

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