"What's an example of 'no good deed goes unpunished'?" –– This was today's burning question from Redditor anactualmeatball and if you feel frustration just reading that, then you've undoubtedly experienced this exact annoyance. You could mean well, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll walk away feeling appreciated or even glad that you helped out. Human beings are complicated, as you will soon recall.
"To be neighborly..."
To be neighborly, I once gave the couple next door some fresh veggies from my garden.
Thereafter, whenever I was at work, they'd raid the garden and take whatever they wanted without asking permission.
"I'm currently in a dispute..."
I wrote a semi-popular plugin for a software package that's common in my field and released it open source ("provided as is, no guarantee, warranty, or support is promised"). Occasionally I get an email asking a question which I am happy to answer if reasonable.
I'm currently in a dispute with a very angry professor in California who somehow thinks that I need to support him set up an entire bioinformatics pipeline because someone in his lab tried to download my free plugin.
"Guy lost his ID..."
Guy lost his ID for work, I brought him directly to security to get it sorted and they fired me on the spot for allowing a trespasser entrance.
Basically anytime I do something extra for a customer. I give them the benefit of the doubt and take care of something that's borderline? They are always the people that file a complaint about "omg, poor service!"
My office has a mantra that no good deed goes unpunished.
"When I was in the Air Force..."
When I was in the Air Force, I separated from my wife before a short tour overseas (England for 3 years). When I came back, we pursued a divorce (I was still getting paid for having a dependent since I was still technically "married" -- it was legit). When I went in to offer my finance group my divorce decree to get the dependent off my pay stub, the computer system was down, so I had to sign in on paper (they usually have a computer system to sign you in and direct you to the right person to help) and fill out all the paperwork by hand.
Six months later, I just happened to print up a pay stub to take in to Verizon to get a military discount on my bill and noticed that the dependent pay was still coming through. I verified every month prior to that as well (I wasn't checking each stub before then, just because I wasn't worried about how much was coming in -- so it's partially my fault).
When I went back to finance to tell them about it, they told me I was "stealing money form the government" and called my commander, who proceeded to demote me after I just tested for the next rank (I was a Tech Sergeant/E-6 at the time). They shredded my test results, took my stripe, and gave me an Article 15, non-judiciary punishment.
I was an events florist. This bride lost her grandmother days before her event and asked if I would make a small vase arrangement to place next to her photo on a memorial table.
Of course. I said It would be similar to her smaller centerpieces; great. She asked how much and I said I would cover it happily.
In the review she complained that the memorial piece "which was supposed to be very special" looked too much like the centerpieces.
God forbid your free flowers be cohesive with your event you cow.
"I let a friend of a friend..."
I let a friend of a friend stay with me while she "got herself together" for a little over twice as long as originally intended after going out of my way in the extreme she walked out one evening without a word said with my grandmother's silver place settings. Appreciation indeed.
"9 years later..."
A girl transferred into my school when we were 10, and bullied the sh!t out of everyone. She'd threaten the other kids, including me, not to tell on her, otherwise she'd make us regret it, and basically had a complete reign of terror over us. After about a year, I snapped and ended up being the one to tell the teacher everything she'd done and how she was treating us, and she got expelled. A lot of the other kids thanked me for turning her in, because I don't think it would have ended if someone hadn't, and we enjoyed the rest of our school years in peace.
9 years later, despite moving to a new town and getting an entirely new group of friends, she showed up out of nowhere and screwed my boyfriend.
"One day you're a TV performer..."
Cal Poly University had an incident in the 80s that made the school paper. There was a former Mouseketeer who worked in food services and one day a student asked for help because his purchase hung in the vending machine. She opened it and give it to him, but an alarm went off. She waited for security and explained things to them, but still lost her job.
One day you're a TV performer watched by millions, later in life you're fired because of a snack.
"I gave money..."
I gave money and made light conversation with a panhandler who frequented my campus. He ended up stalking me across three different address changes.
"Neighbors needed gas..."
Neighbors needed gas to get their car started, and asked if we had any to spare. We just so happened to have a full 5 gal can. We're taught as kids to 'take only what you need, replace what you use' well, not these people. Instead of only using a gallon or so (which would have been enough to get them to the nearest gas station) they use as much as they could get out of the can (would have used all of it if it weren't for the angle of the spout). Then they tried to return us the nearly empty gas can with a "here you go".
I looked at him and said 'well you've clearly never borrowed gas before'. Bet your @ss they'll never get another drop of fuel from me ever again.
"I was driving down an alley..."
I was driving down an alley and a car was coming up in the other direction. I pulled to the side to let them pass. They go through, I start to drive forward, and a piece of rebar sticking out of the ground ends up slashing my tire.
When I was at lunch in junior high, there were a few times when, after I finished eating, I'd take one or two other people's trays up to along with my own and throw away their garbage for them. I was going up to dump my tray anyway, so I figured I could do some people a favor.
Before long, any time I left my seat to go to the bathroom, buy some desert, or whatever, I'd return to find 20 trays stacked in front of my seat with a mountain of garbage on top. I eventually got tired of being taken advantage of and told off everyone at the table. I only ever took up my own tray after that.
"I was in an exam room..."
I was in an exam room with a patient getting her history, taking her vitals, etc. She had recently lost everything and had found a mass on her body (can't remember where). She was a drug addict and did anything she could get her hands on, but she said she had been trying to get clean and had been so for a week.
I think I look like the type of person that people feel comfortable spilling their guts to (bc this happens a lot), because she vented to me about everything. I spent a huge amount of extra time sitting with her and letting her talk. She was sobbing. She said hadn't eaten in days and she was shaking, so I went into the break room and made her a bowl of oatmeal with protein powder and gave her some Gatorade and hot tea with honey. I really did everything I could to help this woman meet her basic needs, even if for an hour. Eventually I had to leave so the doctor could come in, so I gently wrapped things up and asked if I could give her a hug. She said she really needed it. I felt like I really made a difference.
"Right before the doctor..."
Right before the doctor came in to see her, she asked if she could step out for a cigarette (she had been waiting awhile). So she goes out to her car and around 30min later her car is still there but she didn't come back in, so we went to check on her. She was half conscious in the passenger seat of her car. She had tried to overdose and kill herself.
This haunts me every single day. I'm not really sure why I guess.
"Lady is outside a local restaurant..."
Lady is outside a local restaurant begging for a meal. Requests a specific meal, oddly enough. I bring her the meal, she b!tches about how I didn't get her soda and a dessert as well.
Thinking back now, I'm almost 100% sure she wasn't actually needy. Just a middle class lady who for some reason was looking for a handout. I was young and naive though and didn't know the difference.
"A kid stopped to help the trucker..."
There was a truck that went off the road and hit one of those woven steel cable barriers on the side of the road.
A kid stopped to help the trucker and the truck must have tensioned the cable to the point of near breaking. As the kid was helping, the cable snapped and hit the kid in the head hard enough to throw him across a four lane road. The kid ended up dying of his head injury.
"I used to be a secretary..."
I used to be a secretary for a business on the first floor of a multi-office building. As a result, I always had idiots from other businesses bumbling in asking for directions, to use the phone, parking validation, they have a meeting with a guy at another company in the building and don't remember the name of the business - it was a circus.
One day a lady on her cell phone came in asking to borrow a pen, which happened more often than you'd think. I obliged. Most times, the person will step just outside the door, take the message they needed to, dart back in to drop the pen on my desk, and leave.
This lady had the nerve to lean on my desk and hang out for the remainder of her phone call. I nearly shouted at her to leave but her call ended just in time.
"I offered to help a colleague..."
I offered to help a colleague with one aspect of their project and ended up having the entire project shirked onto me.
"And the list goes on."
Construction is my line of work. I own my own cabinet installation company and sub contract to cabinet makers.
So in my line of work I learned that if the supplier, who is in charge of the project we do, asks a favor then that « favor » ends up being part of the job for no extra money.
I'm asked to go back on an install to put an extra piece for just that one time? Well that extra piece is now part of my job at no extra cost.
I'm asked to go back and service a kitchen I did the week before and if I agree then it's also part of my job.
Site super wants more guys on the job? For the longest time I thought it was my problem when it absolutely isn't
And the list goes on.
I'm a super nice guy at heart but I learned to be a d!ck. And I get what I want now and charge extra if I want too. Being a nice guy os basically telling everyone else they can step on mu back. Every favor I did in the past ended up costing me money while the supplier or site super abused it. It sucks but that's the way it goes. We wondered why the mean guys got what they wanted. Doing it ow shows me exactly why.