People Share The Best Examples Of 'The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions'

Man with head in his hands
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

An aged old proverb reflecting on when people perform what they think are well-meaning, helpful acts, but in reality, only worsen a bad situation.

A day seldom goes by when people won't notice an example of this, either on the news, in the book they're reading, or simply walking down the street.

This could be anything from someone making promises to help out, but never delivering on them, to saving money for a less expensive cleaner, which turns out to radiate toxic fumes, resulting in the building being closed for an indefinite length of time.

Ideas which might seem good in theory, but are impractical, illogical, or even harmful, in practice.

Redditor WorldsBiggestNarcist was curious to hear some of the best examples of this age old proverb, leading them to ask:
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," what is a real life example of this?"

Controlling Erosion By Causing Erosion...

"The introduction of Kudzu for erosion control."

"It has become invasive and girdles and kills plant life above ground without establishing proper roots, therefore causing soil erosion."- Aldous_Hoaxley

When Honesty Is NOT The Best Policy...

"Once upon a time, I found a wallet on the beach."

"Having lost my own more than once, and not having it returned to me, I am aware that it is a stressful life event."

"So, my first thought was how to return it quickly."

"Looking through the contents, the owner was from out of state and there was no contact information other than the drivers license."

"Aside from that, only a few credit cards and some cash."

"Not knowing how long ago the owner had left, I thought let's just sit here for a while and maybe he will return looking for it since it is the first thing I would do."

"After a couple hours of fun and sun we needed to move on."

"My next best idea was to turn it into the local police station which we found easily enough just down the street."

"What I thought would be a quick in and out turned into a full on interrogation session during which I was, at one point, accused of theft/robbery."

"It was a bizarre experience, to say the least, which wasted an hour of our day."- notawhingymillenial

Think Carefully About Where You Donate...

"The Unexpected Consequences of your donations."

"TOMS Shoes, a company that pledged to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased."

"Turns out that the company's donations disrupted local shoe markets in developing countries, putting local shoe makers out of business and creating a dependency on foreign donations."

"Additionally, the shoes donated by TOMS were not always appropriate for the local climate or culture and were not always of the same quality as the shoes being sold."

"Reportedly, they have ended up in landfills."- EditorNo2545

Not Helping Anyone If You Can't Adequately Care For THem

"Trying to rescue too many cats."- Tackybabe

When One Crisis Leads To Another

"Haiti did not have cholera."

"A disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, after the earthquake humanitarian forces from the UN arrived to help, and the Nepalese contingent reintroduced Cholera to Haiti."

"This epidemic has since infected approximately 850,000 people and killed over 10,000."- scootarded

It's The Only Way They'll Learn How To Solve Them

"Sheltering your kid from every possible problem."- Easywood

"Those parents who solve all their kids issues and don't make them 'stress' about consequences of their own actions."

"Their kids just turn into inept and entitled adults who still act 15 for decades and not only have a harder life for themselves but make life miserable for everyone around them too."

"Yes it's bad to go too far the other way, raising a child is a balancing act."

"I get that, but ignoring a child isn't usually from good intentions while spoiling them often is and that was the prompt."

"If this sounds like it happened to you, I promise you that you can get yourself out of the cycle."

"It sucks and it hurts and it's unpleasant, but you can do it if you want to."

"Get ready to fail, and then keep trying anyway."

"Persistence will be a new skill, and you will be bad at it."

"And that's okay."

"You didn't do this to yourself, you don't need to feel shame."

"Digging yourself out however is something you'll be doing yourself, and you can take pride in every step you make it the right direction."- EisConfused

When Some People Just Can't Be Helped

"My neighbor who is supposedly getting evicted soon."

"Basically she saw young drug addicts (30 year olds) as people she could change for the better."

"She’d find them somewhere and bring them home."

"Evidently the idea was that she could show them a warm apartment and good food and they would realize the error of their ways and change for the better."

"That or a safe place to do their drugs."

"We had a door code so they could come in and knock on her door until she answered."

"It was a constant stream of strange people going in and out of her room all night long."

"I figured it wasn’t my problem, people can do what they want if they aren’t hurting anyone else."

"But then three of the men decided to take advantage of her because it’s not like she could physically kick them out herself, and she wouldn’t call the police."

"These are people who don’t want to change, they like their lifestyle and she gave them an upgrade."

"We are pretty sure they are doing meth in there."

"They come back at 1:30 am and either snort something or smoke something that from the hallway smells like cat pee or paint thinner."

"Then they scream bloody murder, throw things, and have domestics until 11 am, like clockwork."

"Police can’t actively go into the room and even people on the top floor are calling them."

"Landlord and management is doing his best to get them out but that’s a lengthy process."

"They disabled the door code but they are still getting in."

"Even the girl has been taken to the hospital for overdosing a few times."

"Anything not nailed down in the gym and lobby are getting trashed and stolen."

"Lobby bathroom is trashed constantly."

"Cars in the parking lot are being broken into and catalytic converters are being stolen."

"These men stalk around the parking lot watching people."

"We do have visitor rules, which are being broken."

"It’s going to get worse before it gets better."

"My goodwill is gone, we want her out."- RotaryMicrotome

Always Do Your Research

"The introduction of non-native species as a means of solving an environmental problem."- Addwon

Not All Issues Can Be Solved Surgically


"Surgery to fix the mentally unwell."

"It sounds so good: no more reliance on medication, you’re good from now on."

"But it didn’t work."

"The outcomes were awful and it was frequently done without any sort of consent."

"It all could have been shut down fairly quickly if people were honest about what was happening, but careers and money was at stake."

"So many unnecessarily suffered."- raftsa

Ironic How Low The Success Rate Was

"Since the abysmal performance of American schools has been in the news recently, 'No Child Left Behind' and it's replacement 'Every Student Succeeds Act'."

"America has never had really good public education, but it used to be serviceable.'

"NCLB came in to try and create some milestones and accountability."

"Instead it made the problem worse.'

'ECSS came in and tried to address its problems, but changed the stuff that wasn't the problem and left the bad parts unscathed."

"Taken all together 57% of high school GRADUATES can't read at a 7th grade reading level and over a quarter are functionally illiterate."- Twokindsofpeople

We all want to help others, and make the world a better place.

But before we jump into action, it is important to stop and reflect who exactly we would be helping.

If anyone or anything at all.

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