This was a big mistake. Good samaritans recall the times that they tried to help someone that really, really backfired. Some people are really, really terrible.
Big Bad Bully
“I had a pickup truck, and anyone with a truck knows that means all of a sudden everyone and their cousin that is moving wants help.
I’m fine with that. I had ground rules, and I didn’t stray from them. You pack the stuff, I just put it in the truck and move it to the new place. You tell me where the box goes, and once its down thats the end. Got a lot of pizza and Budweisers, and cash back in the day.
But no no, thats not the direction of this story. I had an old acquaintance from school. We weren’t close, in fact he was a bit of a bully, but he seemed chill enough almost 15 years later. He asked me if I still had a truck, and if I could tow his car someplace. I said sure, throw me a couple bucks and rent a trailer and I’m your guy. Have the rental arranged, and I’ll show up with a hitch and we’re off to the races. I told him here that I work midnights, and I’m gonna be tired, so the faster its over the better for me.
Well, I showed up, and he didn’t have the trailer. OK, fine. We go get the trailer, and head over to his place. We get the car in, its all dandy. I ask where we’re going. We’re going 2 hours away. OK, that sucks. Just gonna race the car at the drag strip 2 hours away, do a couple runs and we’ll head back.
My phone died, and my truck didn’t have a clock.Seriously? He’s off racing his gross car, and I can’t find him anywhere. I finally manage to find him, had to be 4 hours later, and tell him it’s time to go. He says sure, just one more rip up the track. Fine. He disappears again, can’t find him. I’ve got the truck running at this point, ready to tell him getting the trailer and the car back is his problem unless we leave right now.
I’m exhausted. I barely slept, and I’m cranky. I see him flashing a big huge wad of cash. I think, well, at least I’m gonna get paid a decent chunk for my efforts. We get the car loaded up, and head back the 2 hours to our city. Drop the car off, drop the trailer off, and drop him off. He says thanks, and gives me 10 bucks.
I’m astounded. I tell him ‘dude, this doesn’t even cover gas. It was supposed to be a half hour, and it was pretty much all day.’ He goes ‘well, its all I’ve got on me, sorry man.’
And that was the last time I ever hauled a car.”
Move On, Mark
“Alright, my time to shine.
Had a friend, call him Mark, who was going through a breakup and needed a place to stay for a couple weeks while he landed a new apartment. I just bought a place with enough room so sure, what in the world. Honestly just happy to see him getting out of the toxic relationship, so whatever I can do. The lease is running out for them, he just wants to spend the last weeks searching up a new spot instead of fighting. I sympathize, crash here.
Well… They worked it out, or ‘decided to keep trying.’ The lease is still running out though, so can they both stay here those two weeks while they search? They’ll keep to my spare room, they say. Only bring the minimum of things they need, they say. Won’t even know they’re there, they say. Hoo boy! These are now red flag phrases for me forevermore.
Of course I’m also going to help them move. Mark works long hours and the girlfriend, ‘Laura’, can’t drive, so I’ll head to their old place after work on moving day, help load up the truck and then drive it to storage – you know, all those non-essentials they won’t be bringing to my place. Mark will get home by the time I’m back, movers will show up for the heaviest stuff, we’ll get them into my place and it’s a done deal. Holy cow I was so naive.
I get there on time. Laura is just getting out of a long bath, because she really wanted to soak up the apartment on her last day there. Nothing is packed. She’s puttering around in a robe, lazily and haphazardly tossing things into boxes at random. The clock is ticking on the movers, the truck rental, and the hours at the storage place. So what can I do but help get stuff into boxes? Laura directs me on generally where said stuff goes.
It’s not until Mark gets home that I realize how badly this is going; remember all the stuff that’s supposed to be going into storage and not my home? It’s boxed up with the essentials, the stuff going to my home. So now 90% of their stuff has to come with and they’ll sort it out into storage ‘ASAP.’ Just like ‘two weeks’ this is a phrase that actually stands for ‘whenever.’
Hours of moving later, I got them started getting things inside my place and left to meet an out of town friend — had anything been done according to plan, we would have been done by that time anyway, and this was already an abuse of my generous nature, so I wasn’t going to skip this social occasion. I found out later they were moving in until 3am.
Fast forward. My friend staying for 2 weeks has turned into my friend, his abusive girlfriend, and their dog staying for 3 weeks… Then 4… With no apparent end in sight, because they’re applying for certain kinds of housing and the approvals keep falling through. Fed up, I finally said as politely as possible, ‘here is your move out date. If you’re not approved the week before this, figure out plan B because I need my house.;
Well the week of reckoning finally arrives, and Laura tells me they’re waiting on final approval (and that she could finally get in the last of the paperwork, now that I had brought her some envelopes from my office to send in the forms with…) and that it should be resolved in two more weeks.
Two. More. Weeks.
So I said ‘bummer, where you going to live for the week in between?’
She did not take this well. Pouted, waited to get Mark alone to tell him how offended she was, and instruct him to tell me to apologize to her… Which I laughed at and refused. She then started a text-based tirade against me for throwing them out, being a terrible friend, ‘sorry we needed help’ woe is me, etc etc. This spun up into a full narcissist meltdown over a few hours and crossed more lines than I care to remember as she accused me of being every kind of terrible character you can name.
They moved out the next day and I changed the locks that night. Moved in with her dad for the interim, which it turns out was an option all along, just not as cushy for Laura’s ego as squatting at mine.
Sometime in week 5 we all agreed that with this dragging on as long as it did, I needed some rent from them for the second month. Never saw a dime. When they broke up for good a couple months after, Mark had the balls to call me up, try to insist on a face-to-face meeting to ‘brainstorm places for him to stay.’ Ohhhh no, Mark. You’re hundreds of dollars and at least one apology in the hole already, and I can’t trust you not to wedge into my house long-term anyway.
Last time I’ll ever have roommates. Last time I’ll ignore my gut feeling to be generous to a fault, too.”
For The Love Of A Futon
“I posted a futon on marketplace and the first person that hit me up gave me a sob story about needing something for their kid to sleep on.
I was only asking $20 for it but they asked if they could get it for free. My wife and I agreed to give it away, so I took it to our meeting spot at Home Depot.
Two days later this guy had the futon posted in marketplace asking $50. My wife and I Facebook stalked him and his wife and every time they posted it, we would hijack the listing letting everyone know the story of how they got the futon.
I don’t give a care away anymore, no matter the story they give me.”
Baby Mama Drama
“I was donating baby/toddler clothes to a mom in need through one of those Facebook donating pages. She didn’t have a car, I did so I drove 30 minutes away to deliver the stuff all for free. Got in a bad accident less than 5 blocks from her house. So I texted her to see if she could come get what she was able to because my car was totaled. She wouldn’t walk the 4 blocks, then reported me to the group and got me kicked out for ‘not following through’. I ended up with a fractured sternum, yeah I’m still upset. Never, never again.”
“I’m a teacher. A parent of a former student contacted me in an emergency situation, couldn’t afford to pay bills, and needed help. She was super helpful to me in my first year teaching, so I asked friends and family to help out and raised her about $2,000. Never again. She has contacted me every few weeks since then, always with a new reason why she needs more money (and when I offer food and clothing resources, she refuses it). It has placed me in such an awkward situation and I regret ever trying to help her out in the first place.”
He Was The Rough Patch
“Met a guy who had hit a rough patch. We had great chemistry and he made me laugh (ugh the bar was SO low). He gave me a sob story of why he was getting kicked out of his communal house and I offered to let him stay with me because I live alone and have my own place.
HUGE MISTAKE! He hadn’t hit a rough patch, he was the rough patch. Barely paid for anything and would get wasted while I was at work and be a total rude, mean whiner when I got home. Got fired from his job, ate all the food I’d buy and make excuses as to why he hadn’t found another job yet. The absolute kicker was when I went home for my Nonna’s funeral, he treated it like a mini vacation in my place. Invited friends over, played music so loud the cops got called and when he was supposed to pick me up from the airport, he was wasted at someone’s house at 8 am. Never felt better than the day I kicked him out. No more financial and emotional abuse. Finally felt like my place was mine again.
I’ve learned an expensive lesson. Don’t help people that won’t help themselves. When nothing is their fault, there’s a serious issue. Run fast and far.”
“I have neighbors across the road who we extended ourselves to to help out because they had young kids and seemed to be struggling. Well, they were really starting to take advantage to the point where we couldn’t walk out of our house without them literally yelling for us because they needed a phone, a ladder, money, someone to drive them somewhere, diapers, our Wi-Fi password, our wood, etc. etc. This started happening everyday and multiple times a day. It became ridiculous and oppressive.
They have since pulled that stuff with everyone else on our road, wearing out one generous person after the other. Once you realize people are merely moochers and are content to remain so, that’s when you’re done.”
Dead To Me
“Had a friend years ago who was a bit self centered & prone to stretching the truth, but he was a nice enough guy with a rough backstory and my friend group liked him, so I cut him a lot of slack.
I like to host and I have friends staying over pretty regularly — back then, I usually had one or two people spending the night on any given day.
Anyhow, over the span of a couple of years this guy starts abusing that — staying over for days or even weeks at a time, eating my food and drinking my adult beverages without contributing, that sort of thing … While constantly talking about his grand plans and day dreams as if they’d already happened. A little sad, but also pretty annoying after a while.
Anyhow, I sit him down one day and let him know he’s gotta head home, and that he’s free to come over and hang out but I’m not comfortable with him staying over for the time being. He leaves, I think it went remarkably well and head out to work…
…and it turns out that he broke in while I was away at work and stole a bunch of my sister’s things because ‘his birthday was coming up and neither of us even thought to get him a gift.’
It takes a special person to rationalize how burglarizing someone is really their fault.
Anyway, all slack and sympathy went out the window immediately … Called the cops and he’s dead to me.”
Here We Go
“I was walking to a concert in downtown Chicago in late November. This happened on North Dearborn right in the loop, if you’ve never been to Chicago its one of the nicer parts of downtown. It was a cold night, so I was walking with both hands in my pockets and a cig in my mouth. I was approached by a younger dude, who didn’t appear to be homeless immediately as he was dressed semi decently and didn’t reek or anything. He asked me if he could bum a cig, I was in a good mood going to the concert so I said sure and gave him one, along with my lighter. He handed me my lighter back and I expected he would keep walking on, but he matched pace with me and asked how I was doing. I told him fine and asked how he was doing, he said he’s just trying to make it out here. I thought ‘here we go’, he asked me for money because he said he hadn’t eaten all day.
Now I had about 200 in cash on me, mostly in 20s, I had maybe a couple smaller bills so its not like I couldn’t give him money. But I didn’t want to pull out a wad of any size in front of a guy I don’t know on the street, and people can judge me or whatever but I’m not in the habit of giving money to homeless people but I always try to treat them with respect and dignity. I politely told him ‘sorry man I don’t have any cash.’
He got kind of angry at that point, and launched into a guilt trippy tirade for the next half block or so about how nobody has any compassion anymore and sometimes people just need a little help. I didn’t say anything in response. Truth be told I started to feel kind of bad for him, what he said is pretty true a lot of people aren’t willing to help other people and sometimes people really just are down on their luck. I was second guessing my decision to turn him down until we reached the next intersection, I was going straight and he cut to the right. I had to stop for the crosswalk, and I watched him get not five steps away from me before he took the cig I gave him (that he’d barely sucked on because he was too busy yelling at me) out of his mouth and threw it on the ground. He then proceeded to walk right up to another dude and start talking to him.
Maybe I didn’t ‘help’ him much per se, but if he was as down on his luck as he wanted me to believe he would’ve been burning the filter on that thing before giving it up. I instantly felt vindicated.”
My Magic Phrase
“My mother and her new husband had moved into a new place and invited all the ‘kids’ over for Christmas.
In previous years we would buy a whole turkey dinner from somewhere so no one (me) had to cook, so imagine my surprise when my husband and I walk in, my mother walks out of the kitchen, hands me a spoon and says, ‘Good, you’re finally here’, and goes to sit down in the living room.
After a quick and awkward conversation, it was determined that my job was to make sure everything currently in progress (or not even started) got to the table on time, while everyone else socialized. Basically, I was the help and should have realized that, so any feelings I had about that were my fault. I was a good cook, and my mother taught me everything (not) so I owed her.
So I did, and not knowing the family dynamics, my new step siblings were very thankful and appreciative of all my efforts, which caused a meltdown from my mother about how we all should be thanking HER.
That was the first time I used a phrase that has come in handy for these situations, ‘I’m so sorry, it will never happen again.’
And it never did. They weren’t happy when they finally realized what that meant.”
No Good Deed
“I used to frequently stay late at work for clients who showed up to the veterinary clinic last-minute with a non-emergency problem and no appointment. Then three times in a row, three different people were told up front about the after hours fee, agreed to pay it instead of scheduling an appointment for the next day, and all of them called back the next day fussing that they shouldn’t have been charged extra for keeping us 30-60 minutes past our scheduled hours and that we were terrible and trying to scam them by charging for our time (even though we told them up front and they had another option). It was exhausting and demoralizing- we did more than we had to for them after already working a full day because a desire to help is why we’re all here in the first place, and they responded by saying our time was worth nothing and we suck. The entire staff said ‘forget that.’
Now – unless it’s a literal life and death situation – if we can’t fit someone in before closing and they didn’t have an appointment it’s a firm no. I’m in this profession to help others and I still work late for real emergencies when they happen or if an appointment runs longer than expected, but I’m done sacrificing my personal time for entitled people who don’t actually need it.
The people did pay, but they were calling later to complain about it and demand a refund or say they were cancelling the transaction on their card. Instead of dealing with the headache anymore we stopped giving non-emergency walk-ins the option of being seen after hours. No animals were harmed and the staff (and their families) are all much happier.”
The Cancer Card
“When a ‘good’ friend of mine that I worked under had cancer and wasn’t able to pay some bills I loaned her $200 just to help. I was only 18 at the time and felt bad because she had kids, it was right around the holidays and was I just wanted to help however I could and be a good person in life. She promised to pay me back when she could.
Turns out she lied about having cancer, was stealing from the company I worked at, scammed my other co workers, and would come in after calling out of work for her chemo to make fraudulent returns while I was overseeing the store by myself because of her calling out.
Got that terrible woman fired and got promoted to her position after.”
Three Pink Slips
“Had a new manager come in to my former place of employment. Immediately this new manager starts firing people for made up reasons and hiring people from her old job to replace them. The walls in that place talked, and few notice the janitor, so when I heard rumors of the next heads on the chopping block, one of which was mine, I decided to be nice and help out the other two. I considered them good friends, and it was the least I could do, right?
I warn one, and he takes it seriously and begins looking for another job, so when the pink slip arrived, he landed on his feet running.
The other promptly goes squealing to the manager in question, who uses that as an excuse to fire me, and THEN fires the person that had squealed. All three jobs were quickly filled by her old friends from her previous job.
I’ve refused to lift a finger to help a coworker out since. I’ve had advanced warnings of firing and disciplinary hearings and various other juicy gossip (People for some reason think I hear with my eyes and assume that they can talk in front of me and I won’t notice. I’m going blind, people, not deaf.) but I’ve kept it all to myself.”
Not Your Nanny!
“I used to babysit a newborn for our friends. It started out as me watching her so the dad could do side jobs to supplement their income. I didn’t expect payment for it. I was doing it to help them out. Well, he started dropping the baby off so he could go play disc golf with his friends. He would also show up to drop her off first thing in the morning without even letting me know ahead of time. He would just be there and bright and early and be like, ‘You can watch her today, right?’ He totally took advantage of the fact that I was a stay at home mom, and was watching his kid for free. (But he would say stuff when he was dropping her off, like how he wished he could afford to send her to a proper daycare that would teach her things… Like I didn’t do enough for his precious NEWBORN spawn. ) It was frustrating, to say the least. As these things do, it came to a head. I saw on Facebook that he had gotten a full time job. So I was expecting to hear from him about watching her full time. The day goes on, and I hear nothing. So I figure maybe he’s made other arrangements. I make plans for the following day because it looks like I’m not going to be watching the baby. Around 9pm that night he texts me to ask if I can watch her the following morning and I tell him no. He blew up and threw a huge fit. ‘You knew I had work… Blah, blah, blah.’ So, I was supposed to put my life on hold because he posted on Facebook that he got a job? It was just amazingly inconsiderate how he expected me to be his on call nanny and he wasn’t even compensating or offering to compensate me for my time. It all worked out in the end, though. After that situation blew up, I decided it was time to go back to school and start a career for myself and I have happily been in that career for over 8 years now.”