There's an old saying that no good deed goes unpunished, and under some circumstances, there couldn't be anything truer. Some people try their hardest to make a difference in the world by doing the right thing, but there are times where that decision blows up in their face and they're left with nothing but regret.
A Reddit thread recently asked people who fall into that camp to share their stories about the time they're act of kindness led to anything but a happy ending. We've taken the best of the stories, edited them for clarity, and provided them here so that everyone can see what happens when doing the right thing goes wrong.
"Last night, my friends and I found a woman's wallet on the sidewalk in downtown Athens, Georgia. The driver's license had a name and DOB, and she had a University of Georgia student card. We looked her up in the UGA directory and called her to return the wallet. She was grateful and we felt like heroes. Well, guess what?
She showed up to meet us with her 'tough guy' boyfriend, who smelled like a brewery and accused us of stealing it. They tried to 'interrogate' us for five minutes straight, as we attempted to hand them the wallet and leave. It was so bizarre. We were baffled. We were six well-dressed UGA alumni and students - two females, four males, some in their 30s, working professionals - who had driven to meet her voluntarily to return the wallet. And she thought we were the thieves? It was unreal. They claimed $500 dollars was missing from the wallet. Our immediate response, 'You carry $500 around, in your wallet?'
The boyfriend became irate, and screamed: 'Ya'll ain't goin' nowhere til I find out which one of you took it!' Again, there were six of us there and one of him. Needless to say, we weren't intimidated. The girlfriend looked scared. I diffused the situation, separated everyone, and got out of there."
"When I was in the Army, my barracks roommate loaned his car to another guy to drive into town.
We were on a week of 14-hour shifts and he wasn't going to be needing his car anyway, so he said he'd get the keys back from him at the end of the week.
So, eventually, Carlos (my roommate) tracked the guy down and said: 'I need to get my keys back from you.'
The guy told him: 'Oh, your car broke down, so I had to leave it and take a bus back.'
Carlos said: 'Uh, ok, so where is my car?'
The guy said: 'How should I know? It's probably towed by now.'
The guy couldn't be bothered to tell Carlos that his car broke down, couldn't even be bothered to make a note of where he'd left it, and actually blamed Carlos for his car wasting his time.
The kicker was Carlos had just bought the car, and the signed title was in the glove box. He had no idea what the license number was, or VIN, and the car wasn't registered in his name yet. He never got the car back."
"I found a dog (pit bull) wandering in my neighborhood along a busy street. I hopped out of my car and put my dog's spare collar on him to keep him from being hit. I walked to all the nearby houses and knocked on the doors asking if anybody belongs to the dog or if they knew who did. After about 10 houses, I gave up and took him home. That afternoon, I made 'Found Dog' fliers (without the dog's picture), about 100 in all, and put them up around the area. In front of my house, I put a big one so people would know that this was the place. After a few days, I had pretty much resigned myself to keeping the guy when I got a phone call. The lady gave a perfect description of the dog and I told her she could swing by and pick him up.
About an hour later, she showed up with the cops. She got out of her car and greeted me with, 'Are you the prick that stole my dog?' I was of course taken aback. I stood there with a slack jaw not knowing what to say.
Her: 'I asked you a question! Did you steal my dog?'
Me: 'What? NO! I found a dog and tried to find his home!'
Her: 'You stole him and I have witnesses!'
She then tried to get the officer to arrest me. It only took a few moments for the officer to realize she was crazy.
Officer: 'So, he stole your dog, asked all your neighbors who the dog belonged to, put up signs saying he had the dog, and then invited you over to take the dog back? Either he's the worst criminal in the world or you don't understand the definition of "stole," ma'am.'
She then claimed I stole the dog for the reward money. The officer said he didn't see an offer for a reward nor did I ask for one.
Officer: 'But just out of curiosity, how much reward money were you going to offer?'
Her: '$200! That's what he wants, that's why he took the dog!'
Officer: 'Well, we have no evidence of him stealing the dog, but it seems to me that he's earned the reward money.'
That was the worst $200 I ever earned."
"I was 16 and getting on the last bus of the night to go home. It was about 10:30 pm. A man got on the bus a couple stops after I did. He was 25 cents short and the bus driver was trying to tell him that he couldn't get on without it, but he didn't speak any English. I casually got out of my seat and put a quarter into the fare box for him. It really wasn't a big deal.
My house was sort of in the boonies. No street lights and the houses were pretty spread out, but it was only a quarter mile from my house to the bus stop. I got off on my stop and noticed that this man had gotten off with me. I immediately knew something was wrong because no one else ever got off the bus out there. I had time to lay one solid pound on the side of the bus while it was pulling away to try to stop the driver, but it didn't work. I didn't make eye contact. I walked as quickly as I could, and so did he. Then he started running. I wasn't sure if I would make it to my house and didn't know if I wanted him knowing where I lived even if I could. I ran to the one house in between mine and the bus stop. It was a humongous house. I had never met the people that lived there, but I didn't care. As I was about halfway up the driveway, I couldn't hear him behind me anymore.
Two giant people answered the door. I was shaking, and looking down the driveway, and trying to explain what happened. I just wanted to use the phone to call my folks. Then I realized that I was speaking to two giant teenagers, they told me to wait and they would get their dad. Turns out dad was a bald, seven-foot, 350-pound man who hated immigrants. I asked if I could use the phone and he said he would just drive me home. We got in his gigantic pickup truck, and I told him which way I lived and which way I thought the guy went. Giant redneck dad decided to find this guy first. He pulled up behind him, turned his brights on, and screamed profanities while acting like he was going to run him over.
The neighbor took me home. I never called the cops, but I started carrying a knife after that."
"My uncle's best friend was a man named Terry. Terry was a large man and quite the bruiser. In the mid-90s, Terry was at a local dive bar when he heard a man screaming at a woman. Terry stepped in and told the guy to keep it down or take it home because nobody wanted to hear their problems.
The girl ran off to the bathroom crying, and the man apologized to Terry telling him: 'Sorry, man, I just found out she cheated on me.' The guy promised to keep it down and Terry walked away. When the girl came back from the bathroom, the yelling resumed, and the guy hauled off and hit her. The girl ran off and Terry came charging over to give the man an ultimatum. Terry offered to kick the snot out of the guy or let him walk out on his own. The guy chose the latter. A couple of minutes passed and the bar phone rang, a call for Terry. Terry picked up the phone and almost instantly dropped to the floor in agony.
The man went across the street to a pay phone, called the bar, asked for Terry, then snuck back in and stabbed him three times in the back, making him a paraplegic. The guy took off running but was caught a month or so later in Florida. Terry is, and always will be, in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. All for standing up for a girl who was getting beat up by her boyfriend."
"I was at a bar in Boston and noticed there was a backpack under my table. I opened it to find a new Macbook pro and a few architecture books with Northeastern stickers on them. I went through the items looking for a name or some sort of way to identify the owner but found nothing. I didn't want to give this to the bouncer because I knew it would probably 'disappear,' but after about 30 minutes, I gave the bag to the bartender to put it behind the bar.
An hour later, this girl came through the door and walked over to where I was standing and started looking all around. She just kept saying, 'Where is my backpack,' over and over.
I said, 'Hey, I just gave it to the bartender.'
Saying nothing, she pushed my girlfriend out of the way and rushed to the bar demanding her backpack. The bartender turned it over, and then she opened it to inspect the contents. When she realized it was all there, she just turned and walked out. No thank you. No nothing."
"I live in an area with fairly low-priced rentals, so it's full of college kids and people who are of lower incomes. I was at the corner store and the family in front of me had a case of brews, a 12-pack of Coke, a few packs of smokes, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and some milk. Their debit card got denied, so they took off the milk. It got denied again, so they took off the chicken. It got denied again, so they took off the mac n cheese. It finally got approved, so they were going home with brews, Coke, and smokes. Their two kids, maybe 4 and 6, asked what they were having for dinner if they didn't have the chicken nuggets. The mom's response was, 'You can drink Coke, it's got calories.' The younger kid started crying for the chicken nuggets. The mom grabbed her by the arm and told her she wasn't getting any dinner.
I bought their chicken nuggets and ran after them. I tried to give them the box and the mom started screaming at me, 'Do we look like a charity case? I can raise my own kids, you don't know what it's like being a mom.'
I was like, 'Just take the chicken, your kids are hungry.' The woman hit the box out of my hands and she and her man grabbed the kids and stormed away.
I wish I'd followed them and called CPS or something."
"My house was a complete mess. I recently started hitting the gym in the mornings because I'm carrying around 20 extra pounds of love, but one day, I decided I would skip the gym for a change and tidy up.
I spent all morning cleaning out the fridge, mopping, cleaning up the closet, the whole nine yards. When my husband came home in the evening, he was very happy. We both work full-time jobs, so it leaves little time for cleaning. Then he asked me how the gym went. I told him that I did not go in order to tidy up a bit. How else would I have cleaned and cooked the dinner I just cooked from scratch?
He looked at me with disgust and asked me if I had looked in a mirror lately and if I knew how fat I was. That's the guy! I left the house that night and never went back."
"I was on the bus and noticed some guy on his Blackberry. I dozed off for a few minutes and when I woke up, I noticed the guy left his phone on the bus. I picked it up and tried to find a number in it I could call to let him know I had it.
I checked his Facebook and saw he updated his status from home saying some thug on the bus robbed him and that people in Los Angeles were awful, and how the city is filled with thieves. I updated his status correcting him, and letting him know I had it and that I could send it to him.
He emailed me his address and I mailed him the phone. He didn't even send a thank you email back. The guy was a prick."
"I jumped in the middle of a fight to try and defend my friend, and somehow, I was the only one who got an assault charge. I was forcibly taken to the hospital, had to put my life on hold while facing court cases, faced homelessness, and was unable to find work instead of enlisting in the Air Force as I had planned on doing two days after this all happened.
Thanks to some moron losing my paperwork, I am now STILL in this boat and facing a warrant for my arrest even though I never did anything wrong.
I should have let my friend get his butt kicked because helping him has ruined my life for the better part of two years."
"I managed a pool for 10 years. It had a 'zero-depth' area where the water gradually got deeper, similar to a beach. This was also the area with all the kiddie toys. Parents would send their toddlers out there on their own while they chatted, read, and sunbathed. The thing was like a succubus for toddlers, and three or four of them would go under daily, resulting in the guards having to go in and save the lives of these children, lest they see Davy Jones' Locker. The parents basically thought we were babysitters and didn't care about their children while they were swimming.
At least once a week, I would have to deal with some parent flipping out about how their kid was fine and we had no right to touch them. Threats were made about cops and lawyers. Luckily, we always had a patrolman on duty at our pool. He would laugh in their faces and threaten to arrest them for neglect, which usually shut them up.
Once, one of my 98-pound female lifeguards saved two kids at the same time. Her reward: a smack across the face from an irate mother. I've never seen a cop react so fast."
"I lent a very good friend about $500. His parents were fairly well off and I knew his parents sent him a huge check every birthday because we would always travel right after he got the check (annual $10,000 gift parents are allowed to distribute tax-free to their kids), so I knew I would get it back in a few weeks. Being mindful, I told him under no uncertain terms that this was a loan and expected to be paid back by a certain date. He agreed.
Well, payback date came and passed and nothing yet his birthday was about two weeks after, so I waited until after his birthday. Still no check. I called him on it and asked what happened. I got lie after lie. First, his checking account was compromised then he needed to order checks. Then he was waiting for his parents' check to arrive. He even went as far as sending me a check on a closed account (stupid because I knew from talking to him the account was closed and he didn't bank there anymore and it had his old address on it from two years ago). I asked him why he would send me a check on a closed account, and I got yelled at for 'not being a good friend' and not being 'supportive of his problems.' I was nice to him until this point, but I let him have it: 'I'm not a good friend? I send you $500 so you can pay your rent and don't say a word for weeks and you say I'm not supportive? A good friend would pay me back without the lies and forcing me to call you and ask you for the money!'
I had a check in the mail the same week and haven't talked to him since."
"I used to give rides to my roommate to and from work whenever possible. It was a 60-mile round trip. He gave me $10 a week for gas but that was maybe a third of what it actually cost me to drive him. I didn't raise much of a fuss about it even though it was costing me money and pretty inconvenient to me most days.
I was working 12-hour days at the time and couldn't take much time off of work. I came down with a nasty flu that knocked me out of the game. I ended up sleeping instead of picking him up from work that night.
The next day, he sent me half a dozen text messages telling me that I had a 'severe lack of accountability,' and basically called me lazy and irresponsible.
I wanted to throw him out a window."
"I helped two guys out of a crushed car, putting my life in danger as gas was spilling. They ran away as soon as I got them out. It turns out, the car was stolen and the police were on to them. The cops found me on top of the car holding the door open and arrested me. I spent the night in jail for that good deed.
Another time, I worked in a restaurant at the beach. As I was closing, I saw a child wandering around crying. I abandoned my work and stayed with her for four hours, calling the cops, trying out numbers she thought she remembered. When the cops and the parents finally came, they started interrogating me like I kidnapped her or something. After some time, I got angry and started shouting, and they just told me to go away. Not even a thank you or anything.
Another time, a guy in front of me at the ATM machine left a full wallet on the machine and walked away. I was not paying attention to him, so I didn't even notice what he was wearing. I took the wallet into the bank and explained at the counter what happened. There is a wad of cash in there. I said I had to leave but was asked politely to stay until they contacted the owner. I said I had to leave, I had something important to do. Instead, the security guys detained me for 30 minutes until the owner showed up. He said everything was in there. They finally told me I could leave.
I had dreadlocks for all of these stories and my skin color is of the darker kind, so maybe that played a role, but maybe not. I just continue doing good when I can and most of the times it is appreciated."