Ever hear the saying “No good deed goes unpunished”? I didn’t understand what it meant til I was in my 40s, but that’s when I discovered that doing things out of the goodness of your heart to help someone doesn’t always end well! The best intentions occasionally backfire big-time.
Some examples of things that happened to me to prove that point follow.
I really liked a local charity that helped single mothers and wanted to raise money to help them with their program, since I’d raised my son alone from the age of 4.
Because I love yard sales and bargains, I held a community Mega Yard Sale (details here) several years in a row and usually raised about $500 each time for the charity.
The last year, however, things didn’t go exactly as planned.
I brought home several jumbo coolers that I’d donated to the employee services association at work to borrow for the event. They held ice and bottles of water to sell to vendors and customers.
The Mega Sale went well, it netted about $500, and I returned the coolers to work.
Struggling to carry one of them down the sidewalk, I accidentally ran into a thick, low pole that was out of my field of vision, and tumbled over sideways on the concrete.
As a result, my once-broken right foot (details here) felt like it was broken again, and I incurred a good bit of pain and way more than $500 in co-pays for medical bills for doctors and x-rays from the fall, exceeding the amount generated by the Mega Sale…
In 2017, the employee association at work sold eclipse viewing glasses as a fundraiser and to protect employees’ eyes– since my workplace is located on the Path of Totality. I volunteered to lead the project.
The workplace internal communications blog (which I manage for my “real job”) is visible up and down the East Coast, where our offices are, as well as throughout the enterprise, which includes San Diego. Notices about the eclipse glasses sale were posted there.
A San Diego employee wrote me and said she saw the information and asked if she could order several pairs of glasses from me via snail mail and have me ship them to her.
I told her yes, went to the store for a special padded envelope, purchased the glasses with my own money and brought them home, packed them and added postage, and mailed them to her after receiving a check from her payable to me for the cost plus shipping fees.
Then I deposited her check. Several weeks later, that check bounced. And I was charged a $12 fee — on top of losing the amount of the original check…
The same workplace employee association held a Mega Yard Sale (based on the community sale in #1 above — except this one was indoors), which I volunteered to lead.
I’d had all the pieces to my son’s expensive childhood bunk bed in the attic above my garage for years and thought I could bring one of the rails from it in for the sale, along with a photo of it — and offer to sell the entire bunk bed if the buyer would come to my house and get it out of the attic — then donate the proceeds to the employee association.
One Saturday I climbed up the pull-down ladder into the attic to retrieve the bunk bed railing, and while trying to bring the large, awkward piece down, I lost my footing on the top step and tumbled 10 feet from the attic opening, crash-landing on the concrete floor below.
Fortunately (!), I wasn’t killed or even knocked out, and when I stood up, no bones appeared to be broken — but I did have a bunch of bruises and a broken toe. That event definitely dampened my enthusiasm for donating the bunk bed and for ever going into the attic again…
When I first started blogging, got the idea to write a blog post to acknowledge and thank my closest friends and relatives for various things they’d done through the years that were among the nicest things anyone had ever done for me (details here).
Thought maybe it would inspire other bloggers — and readers — to write their own list and count their blessings, as I had tried to do — and it would be a heartfelt tribute to my friends.
When the blog post appeared, I emailed everyone mentioned in it to be sure they’d read it and see how much I appreciated what they’d done. What could go wrong with that?
Well, it really ticked off a very dear, long-time friend and I almost lost her friendship over it. When we had a conversation about it, she admitted she was angry because she felt what I wrote about her wasn’t “enough” and didn’t come close to listing all the many things she’d done for me. I tried to explain that I picked one big thing that stood out from among the many, many nice things each person had done for me, as an example. It wasn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list.
She had some issues going on in her life at the time — as well as some other pent-up grudges she’d held for years against me — which she aired then, so that probably accounted for part of her reaction. And she refused to ever read my blog again after that, too.
The conversation broke my heart, but I apologized profusely and told her she was a wonderful friend and I loved her — and we’re still friends — although I walked on eggshells for a long, long time after that.
As a result, I’m now a little apprehensive when I write blog posts praising my wonderful friends!
Speaking of friends, here’s an incident that happened to a good friend of mine:
C is a volunteer driver/delivery person for Meals on Wheels. She cheerfully brings weekend meals to people on her route every Friday morning.
One day while making a delivery, a beat-up pick-up truck on the highway in front of her stopped in the middle of traffic with no warning, and she bumped into the rear of it, causing a very small dent on the bumper.
The elderly couple inside emerged and they all talked; C apologized, showed her insurance card and got info from them to have her company reimburse them for damage, since the driver wanted the bumper fixed (even though the truck was 20+ years old).
The driver insisted on calling the police, too.
As a result, C got a $250 traffic ticket for careless driving, in addition to having to pay the deductible to have the ancient truck repaired… all while selflessly helping serve healthy food to aging and low-income people…
What about you?
Has an incident ever happened to you that made you mutter under your breath “No good deed goes unpunished?”
Care to share?
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