Helping others can be a beautiful thing. Not much feels as rewarding as knowing we actually made a difference in someone's life. But what about when they don’t appreciate it? When we go out of our way to do something nice for someone only to discover that they either don’t care or, even worse, that they were just taking advantage of our good nature and using us for some cynical or nefarious purpose? These kinds of incidents can have a uniquely harsh sting, one that can make even the most caring of people swear that they will never help someone in need again. Here are Reddit's wildest stories from people who regretted helping somebody.
1. Two’s Company
I had a friend years ago who was a bit self-centered and prone to stretching the truth. But he was a nice enough guy with a rough back story 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 at my place on any given day.
Anyhow, over the span of a couple of years, this guy started taking advantage of that—staying over for days or even weeks at a time, eating my food and drinking my drinks without contributing, that sort of thing. And all of this while constantly talking about his grand plans and daydreams about the future, as if they had already happened.
At first this was a little sad, but it also became pretty annoying after a while. Anyhow, I sit him down one day and let him know that he's gotta head home. I told him that he's free to come over and hang out any time he wants, but I'm not comfortable with him staying over for the time being. He leaves, I think it went remarkably well, and I head out to work the next morning. I had no clue what was coming.
Later that day, he broke into my place while I was away at work and swiped a bunch of my sister's things because "his birthday was coming up and neither of us even thought about getting 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.
I called the authorities to report him, and I no longer associate with him in any way.
2. Bad Marketing
I once posted a futon up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and the first person who 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 felt bad and we agreed to give it away, so I took it to our meeting spot behind Home Depot.
Two days later, this guy posted the futon again in Marketplace, asking $50 for it. My wife and I Facebook stalked him and his wife and, every time they posted it, we would disrupt the listing by commenting and letting everyone know the story of how they got the futon. I don't give anything away anymore, no matter what kind of a story they try and give me.
3. The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side
I once had a new neighbor ask if he could borrow our lawnmower. I said sure. Well, more or less every week from that point on, he would come and take it out of our garage, use it to cut his grass, and put it away without cleaning it or adding gas. In the fall, I casually "mentioned" to him that it might be a good time to get deals on a new mower. I thought I handled it well—but his reaction was truly awful. He never talked to us again.
4. Teaching Her A Lesson
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 some new reason as to why she needs more money.
When I offer food and clothing resources, she refuses it. She insists upon cash only. It has placed me in such an awkward situation and I regret ever trying to help her out in the first place.
5. Cooking Up A Storm
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 that I didn’t have 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!"
She then went to sit down in the living room. After a quick and awkward conversation, it was made clear to me that she had deemed me in charge of making sure everything currently in progress or not even started got onto 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.
After all, I owed her, right? I was a good cook, and my mother had taught me everything I knew about cooking. Or so she claimed. I didn’t protest and took care of the dinner as she had requested. But this was just the beginning of her insanity. Not knowing the family dynamics, my new step siblings were very thankful and appreciative of all my efforts. This caused a meltdown from my mother about how we all should be thanking HER.
That was the first time I ever 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…
6. Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater
I stood by my best friend when she cried to me about her husband cheating on her. And he definitely was cheating on her. Thanks in large part to my help and support, they stayed married and eventually said they had worked through this challenge. Six months later, she started sleeping with my husband behind my back…
7. After Hours
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 then called up and made a fuss to try and get out of paying it.
All of them claimed 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 them for our time. This, even though we told them up front and offered them other options. It was exhausting and demoralizing to have this happen.
We did more than we had to for them after already working a full day, simply because our desire to help is why we’re all here in the first place. Yet they responded by saying that our time was worth nothing to them and that we suck. From that point on, the entire staff just said, “Screw 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.
8. Scenes Of Graphic Stupidity
I was working free of charge as a freelance graphics guy to build my portfolio up. I had a client continuously ask me to keep making the most minor of adjustments, and constant other revisions. This was all for four posters which should have taken me one day tops, really, if he had just given me the correct instructions from the start. It ended up taking me about three months.
And when he started demanding four new versions of the poster, I told him that I wanted to be paid for my time. I was instantly ghosted. Lesson learned.
9. Open Door Policy
We were asleep one night with the window open. We woke up suddenly because there was a couple walking down the road and loudly arguing. The girl was closer than the guy. Next thing we know, the girl is banging on the door and begging to come in. Instead, we call the authorities. They get there, only to find the couple gone.
They then inform us that this is a common ruse being used in the area to get you to open your door so that they can rob you.
10. Getting Her Priorities Straight
We have helped out my sister-in-law a few times with money and bills. Never a lot, just $50 here or $100 there—usually for some bill or other, so they won’t have their services cut off. I’m usually the more heartfelt one in my marriage, but I ended up being the one to put my foot down. And that all started when we went over to her apartment once.
She had two big flat-screen TVs, a new couch, a new fridge, and a PlayStation for her kids. It was all bought on credit, but that was the end for me. I didn’t have any of those things myself, not to mention the incredibly bad financial decision those things were with their high-interest rates. Part of me felt like I was taking food out of her kids’ mouths, but realized that no, her poor decisions were doing that.
11. It’s A Not-So Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
I have neighbors across the road who we helped out because they had young kids and seemed to be struggling. Well, they were really starting to take advantage of us, to the point where we couldn’t walk out of our house anymore 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.
This started happening every day, and multiple times a day. It became ridiculous and oppressive. They have since pulled the same trick 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.
12. A Dog’s Life
One day, I found a puppy. It was dirty, hungry, scared, and lost. I gave him a good meal, and some love. Then, I went to drop him off at the address on his collar. The dude thanked me—but what he did next made my blood run cold. He proceeded to beat the daylights out of the dog. He told me to mind my own business when I tried to get him to stop. He then carried him off by his collar to a five-foot short chain in a muddy patch.
The patch was beside a dingy, broken, three-wall "doghouse" where I'm guessing the dog was forced to spend 100% of its time. I called the authorities, but they did nothing since the dog technically had “shelter.” Apparently, three shabby walls and a roof count as shelter, even if they are filled with holes and it gets very cold here at night.
Let’s just say I swiped the dog three weeks later.
13. Money Talks
I was in Austin, Texas, somewhere off of Sixth Street. I had just walked out of a pub and a homeless guy asked me if I had any spare change. I was just intoxicated enough to be dumb enough to say yes. I pulled out my wallet and gave him a five-dollar bill. I then turned around to see about four other homeless dudes with their hands out, waiting for their money.
I kindly told them that the five I gave the first guy was all I could spare. I was very quickly berated about how big of a jerk and a loser I was. Whoops!
14. Unwanted Ads
Somebody put an ad on Facebook seeking an outdoor playscape thing for her kids, who were apparently going crazy during quarantine. My kids are now older, but we had this cool plastic Little Tykes "fort" that was still in great shape. It had a slide and a little play area. It was perfect for the age group that her kids were in.
I offered it to her free of charge. I drive a pickup truck, so I even offered to deliver it to her. Also free of charge. Nevertheless, she went full ingrate on me and said she was looking for a more elaborate one with more things to do on it. Like one of the “giant wooden ones.” Good luck lady. I'm done with you all…
15. I’m Hatin’ It
Me and my girlfriend were leaving a McDonald’s and pulling up to the stoplight. There’s this homeless old man that we’ve seen around the area ever since we moved here. My girlfriend decides, since we’ve never given anything to this guy and he’s always there, that we should give him one of our McDoubles.
He comes up to the car, says thank you, and walks back to his corner as the light turns green. He then intentionally tosses it onto the road right in front of where we’re driving...
16. Those Poor Children...
I once dropped my rates significantly to help a struggling family with child care. It was a blended family needing to find childcare for their emotionally damaged children who had been hospitalized by their mother’s boyfriend. Both parents worked and my wages were paid for through a charity scheme. The situation was a nightmare. They were utterly useless as people, let alone as parents.
They ended up basically doing nothing to help the children and owed me nearly $2,000 due to their committing benefit fraud and pocketing what they should have been passing on to me throughout the entire period. The final straw was when they asked me to babysit one night, as they needed to “go out on the lash, it's been stressful.” They also noted that they couldn't afford to provide me with food, let alone pay me.
Never again will I fall for a sob story…
17. Pay It Backward
I was once donating baby and toddler clothes to a mom in need through one of those Facebook donating pages. She didn't have a car and I did. So I drove 30 minutes away to deliver the stuff to her, all for free. I got into a bad car accident less than five blocks away from her house. So I texted her to see if she could come get what she was able to, because my car had been totaled.
She wouldn't walk the four blocks, and then she reported me to the group and got me kicked out for "not following through." I ended up with a fractured sternum. Yeah, screw her. Never again.
18. Loving Her Neighbor
I once rushed to another state about 2,000 miles away to help my sister because of a medical issue. For whatever reason, even though she knew I was on the way, she decided to have her neighbor help her instead, without letting me know. This was more than three months ago and she is fine, but she still has not contacted me to apologize. That was the last straw for me…
19. Fair Weather Friends
This is more specific to the teeny-tiny town I used to live in. I used to believe that I was valued by the community. I used to actually believe in that community spirit; that soul, if you will. I had seen it and participated in it. When I left my marriage of almost 13 years, I had been suffering from about 10 years worth of domestic violence.
I really and truly thought that the community would help me out if I ever needed it. I reached out, as I had seen people do so many other times in the 15 years that I had lived there for. I was in for a rude awakening. I got quite the opposite of what I had expected. Nobody believed me. People who I thought were friends disappeared.
People who I thought were friends played the “It wasn’t really that bad, was it?” card. People who I thought I could trust to help keep me safe by not telling anyone where I was living went straight to my abuser with that info. Hardly anyone would even speak to me, even just to say hi, when I needed acknowledgment most.
Screw all of those losers.
20. A Helping Hand
I once had someone just spit some gum on my hand when I tried to help them up. To this day, I have not gotten over it. What kind of a jerk do you have to be to do that to someone who is clearly going out of their way to try and help you? What is wrong with this person? Let’s just say I haven’t been so quick to help strangers since this experience. Screw that guy!
21. Food For Thought
I was 16 years old and had only had ten euros with me. A homeless lady was begging for money. I told her I couldn't give her any money. Instead, I went to the local supermarket, bought two packs of milk, some bread, some cookies, a bottle of juice, and some cooked chicken. I went and gave it to her, all with kindness. One hour later, I pass by the same street, and everything is on the floor thrown away, not even eaten or opened.
22. Costume Change
I worked in Baton Rouge for a decade from 1999 to 2009. I would regularly give money to the homeless people who I saw around town, generously if I can say that without sounding like a boaster. In 2008, I was on a run for work and a guy caught me near the Target on Siegen Lane. He had nothing. He was homeless and, on top of it, he had been robbed an hour ago.
No worries. I emptied my wallet for the man. We all need help, right? Then, coming out of the shopping complex, I see him hiding in the bushes, opening a pack of smokes on a laptop while on his iPhone. Then, a month later, I saw a man that I had regularly donated to on Government Street. I couldn’t believe what he did right in front of my eyes.
I would always catch him on weekends, but this particular weekend my drop-offs started early. So I saw him as he arrived in the downtown area. I sat behind the TV station waiting for a pick-up, and watched as this cat gets out of a new car, changes into dirty clothes, grabs his sign from the trunk, and heads off to his corner.
I have given food and connected people with charities, but I have not given a single penny to a "beggar" since then.
23. Booking An Appointment
I was 17 years old and still in school. The corridors were empty as my teacher sent me out to go do a job. So I was just walking down the corridor when this girl carrying a bunch of books bumped into me and dropped the books. It was exactly like you would see in a movie. Naturally, I apologized because I wasn’t really paying attention.
I bend down and get the books for her, and hand them to her, expecting at least a small thanks. But no. Instead, this chick had to say “I have a boyfriend, so never ever purposely bump into me just so I can talk to you. You should’ve walked away.” As she begins to turn away, I grab her by the shoulder which makes her turn around.
I then knocked the books out of her hand and said, “Now, that was on purpose.” I walked away while she just stood there speechless. Some of you may think that this was a messed up way to react, but I don’t really regret a single bit of it. I fully believe that she got what she deserved. Don’t be rude to strangers for no reason, people!
24. Pest Of Honor
This happened not to me, but to my parents. My cousin moved in with us for two years when I was a kid. She's 18 years older than I am. She ended up being a substance addict who frequently smoked in the house, stole money, couldn't hold down a job, and mercilessly picked on my sister and me until the day she finally got kicked out.
That was almost 30 years ago. To this day, my parents refuse to let anyone move in because they "just need a place to stay until they're back on their feet."
25. Putting The Issue To Bed
My best friend's girlfriend had just moved into town and needed a bed. I loaned her the daybed from my office. A month later, she disappeared, along with my bed. None of us have ever seen or heard from her again, and I had to pay out of pocket to reimburse my work for the bed she swiped. Not gonna be going out of my way again to do a favor like that for someone any time soon.
26. Secret Source
I’m a janitor. I once had a new manager come into my former place of employment. Immediately, this new manager starts firing people for nonsense reasons and hiring people from her old job to replace them. The walls in that place talked, and few noticed 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 it as an excuse to fire me. But karma came calling—can't say I did warn him. She then proceeds to fire the person who had squealed.
All three jobs were quickly filled by her old friends from her previous job, exactly as I had predicted. I've refused to lift a finger to help a coworker out ever since. I've had plenty of advanced warnings of firings and disciplinary hearings and 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 either way, I've kept all the secrets to myself. Screw 'em all!
27. Here’s Mud In Your Eye
The last two times that I've helped push a car out of mud or snow in the winter, the drivers have gone on to slam the gas pedals down, coating me in mud, and then just drove off without so much as a thank you as soon as they were free of the mud. As a result, I've stopped helping people who are stuck in the mud or snow.
28. Time To Go
I once met a guy who had hit a rough patch. We had great chemistry and he made me laugh. I know, my bar was so low back then. But 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 lived alone and had my own place. HUGE MISTAKE! Turns out he hadn't hit a rough patch, he was the rough patch!
He barely paid for anything and would get wasted while I was at work and be a total jerk when I got home. He got fired from his job, ate all the food I'd buy, and made endless 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.
He invited friends over, played music so loud that the authorities got called, and when he was supposed to pick me up from the airport, he was too busy getting wasted at someone's house at 8:00 in the morning. Never in my life have I felt better than I did the day I kicked him out. No more financial and emotional manipulation. I finally felt like my place was mine again.
I've learned an expensive lesson. Don't help people who won't help themselves. When nothing is their fault, there's a serious issue there. Run fast and far.
29. Cleanup On Aisle One
I was working at a fast-food place when I was a student. I usually did overtime to help everyone clean up and close the restaurant. Because we were so understaffed, this usually meant I was there until about 1:00 in the morning. I guess people got used to me staying late because, one night when I was supposed to finish at 11:00, I overheard a conversation between some of my colleagues.
They were the stereotypical mean girl types, and I heard them say how bad the clients had cluttered everything tonight and how it was going to be a mess to clean up. Then, they said “But hey, [me] is gonna stay late tonight again, let's leave it to her! She always does the cleaning anyway!” They followed that up by laughing and making some derogatory comments about me.
That night, I clocked out at 11:00 after doing all of my tasks at the counter. And I left. The girls stared at me in shock and, when I was outside, I saw one of them standing in the middle of the restaurant with her hand on her forehead, looking at the mess she would have to clean up before going home. Weirdly, after that day, they all started cleaning up earlier without waiting for me to do everything!
30. Making A Solid Argument
I used to counsel juvenile delinquents from poor backgrounds. After spending an entire day getting cussed out for my efforts, I applied for law school. If I'm going to argue all day, I might as well get paid well for it. I spent five years working with the poor, and I think that my career change was the only time I actually helped move anyone out of poverty.
31. Paying Their Fair Share
In my freshman year of college, my friend of about two years got kicked out of his parents’ house. He said he needed somewhere to stay "for the night" till his parents cooled off. I told him he could stay a week if he wanted, but that for longer than that he would need to pay me rent. The guy made pretty good money, even more than I did actually.
I was kind of hoping to find someone to split the bills with anyway. A week rolls by and he hasn't even looked for another place. His parents aren't letting him come back. I ask him if he's going to stay, and he says, "If it's alright with you." I say, “Sure, just pay me half the cost of the apartment every month.” He said he can't, even though I know darn well he can.
I say, "Well then you gotta go." He asked if he could stay for just another week. I said no. He got angry at me for that. I then got angry at him for getting angry at me. I gave you a place to stay and you are mad at me??? Totally ended the friendship. Never let anyone into your place unless they have a signed contract.
32. Movin’ Out
Alright, my time to shine. I once had a friend, let’s call him Mark. Mark was going through a breakup and needed a place to stay for a couple of weeks while he landed a new apartment. I had just bought a place with enough room to share, so I said sure. Honestly, I was just happy to see him getting out of the toxic relationship, so I was happy to do whatever I could to help.
Their lease was running out for them, and he just wanted to spend the last few weeks searching up for a new spot instead of fighting with his girlfriend. I sympathized and told him he could crash here. Well, a few days later, the couple “worked out their differences,” and "decided to keep trying." The lease was still running out though…
So they asked if they could both stay here for those two weeks while they searched. They promised they would keep to my spare room and only bring the minimum of things they needed. At least that’s what they said. They assured me that I wouldn't even know they were there. Hooooo boy! These are all now red flag phrases for me forevermore.
Of course, I'm also expected to help them move. Mark works long hours and the girlfriend, "Laura," can't drive, so I have to 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-essential items that they won't be bringing to my place. This was clearly already off to a great start…but it was going to get so much worse.
Anyway, the plan at that point was that Mark was supposed to get home by the time I was back, movers would then show up for the heaviest stuff, we'd get them into my place, and it would be 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 in 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 generally on where said items should go. It's not until Mark gets home that I realize how badly this really is going…
Remember all that stuff that's supposed to be going into storage and not into 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 "afterward." Just like "two weeks," this is a phrase that actually stands for "whenever."
Hours of moving later, I got them started at 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. Besides, this was already taking advantage of my generous nature, so I wasn't going to skip my social occasion to help them further. I found out later they were still moving stuff in until 3:00 AM.
Fast forward. My friend staying over for two weeks while he looked for a place has now turned into my friend, his toxic girlfriend, and their dog staying for three weeks. Then three became four. There was also no apparent end in sight, because they were applying for certain kinds of housing and the approvals kept 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 a Plan B because I need my house back." Well, the week of reckoning finally arrives, and Laura tells me that they're waiting on final approval for a place. She also says that she can finally get in the last of the paperwork, since I had just brought her some envelopes from my office.
She said it would be resolved in two more weeks. Two. More. Weeks. So, I said, "Bummer, where are you going to live for the week in between?" She did not take this well. She pouted, then waited to get Mark alone to tell him how offended she was. She instructed him to tell me to apologize to her, which I laughed at and refused to do.
She then started a text-based rant against me for throwing them out, being a lousy friend, saying snarky things like, "Sorry that we needed help," woe is me, etc. This spun up into a full narcissist meltdown over the course of a few hours and crossed more lines than I care to remember as she accused me of being every kind of negative character you can name.
They moved out the next day and I changed the locks that night. They 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 my place. Sometime in week five, we had all agreed that with this dragging on as long as it did, I needed some rent money from them for the second month.
Never saw a dime. When they broke up for good a couple of months later, Mark had the nerve to call me up to try and insist on a face to face meeting to "brainstorm places for him to stay." Heck 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 again anyway.
That was the last time I'll ever have roommates. Last time I'll ignore my gut feeling to be generous to a fault, too.
33. Smoke Show
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, this is one of the nicer parts of downtown. It was a cold night, so I was walking with both hands in my pockets and a smoke in my mouth. I was approached by a younger dude.
The dude didn't appear to be homeless at first glance, as he was dressed semi-decently and didn't reek or anything. He asked me if he could bum a smoke off me. 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 didn’t. Instead, he matched pace with me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was fine and asked how he was doing. He said he was just trying to make it out here. I thought, "Here we go." He almost immediately asked me for money because he said he hadn't eaten all day. Now, I had about 200 dollars in cash on me, mostly in 20 dollar bills.
I may have had one or two smaller bills somewhere in there, so it’s 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. I do, however, always try to treat them with respect and dignity.
I politely told him, "Sorry man, I don't have any cash on me." He got kind of angry at that point, and launched into a guilt trippy rant 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 did something ridiculous.
He took the smoke I had given him, that he had barely sucked on because he was too busy yelling at me the entire time, pulled it out of his mouth unfinished, 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 had wanted me to believe, he would've been burning the filter on that thing before giving it up.
I instantly felt vindicated.
34. Dragging Things Out
I used to have a pickup truck, and anyone with a truck knows that this 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 it's down that's the end.
I got a lot of pizza, drinks, and cash for favors like this back in the day. But no no, that's 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 jerk back then, but he seemed chill enough almost fifteen years later when we crossed paths again. He asked me if I still had a truck, and if I could tow his car someplace.
I said sure, throw me a couple of bucks and rent a trailer and I'm your guy. Have the rental arranged, and I'll show up with a hitch and we’ll be off to the races. I told him right off the bat that I work midnight shifts and that I would be very tired, so the faster we got it over with the better it would be for me. Well, I showed up, and he didn't have the trailer.
Okay, fine. Not impressed, but whatever. We go get the trailer and head over to his place. We get the car in, it's all dandy. I ask where we're going. He informs me that we're going two hours away. Okay then, that sucks. He says he’s just gonna race the car at the drag strip two hours away, run a couple of errands, and then we’ll head back.
I couldn’t believe my ears, so I didn’t stop him. Meanwhile, my phone ran out of battery and my truck didn't have a clock in it. Uh oh. He's off who knows where racing his car, and I can't find him or get in touch with him anywhere. I finally managed to borrow someone’s phone and get in touch with him. It had to be about four hours later at this point.
I tell him that it’s time to go. He says sure, just one more rip up the track. Fine. He disappears again, and I 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 then 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 two hours to our city. I drop the car off, drop the trailer off, and then drop him off. He says thanks, and gives me ten bucks. I'm astounded. I tell him, "Dude, this doesn't even cover the gas I just spent. This was supposed to be a half-hour, and it was pretty much all day."
He goes "Well, it's all I've got on me, sorry man." I knew he was lying. And that was the last time I ever hauled a car. Screw that guy. God, just typing this out made me angry about it all over again!
35. I’ll Bet He Didn’t See That Coming
I'm a nice person, and I always feel the need to look after people. A colleague is sick? I go out and buy cough medicine or paracetamol for them. Got no food? I'll get you a takeaway. I never expected anything in return, but one day I was asked for money as a favor. I complied. Not a lot, it was something like £20. They eventually paid it back.
Then they asked again...and again. They never explained what they needed it for. They never asked for help with food or a train ticket or anything like that, just money. Then, the last time I lent them money, I watched as they walked straight into a betting shop and put the cash down on a football game. That was it for me.
He asked me for more money sometime later and I said no. The guy literally threw a full-on temper tantrum, "I'd always help you out! I give it back! I thought we were mates!" I told him I don’t fund gambling addictions. And I haven’t given him or anyone else any help again ever since. I’m just looking out for myself now.
36. Second Glance
I was pretty down on my luck. I had quit my job and started touring in a band. I was just getting started, so money wasn't great. One night, a 50ish-year-old dude stops me at the entrance to the grocery store. I had enough for a cheap six-pack, toilet paper, and cat food. He gives me a story about how he's stranded overnight and just needs some food before he can get back on the road.
So I go in and figure out how to get the guy some dinner. Some chicken fingers, macaroni salad, and some dinner rolls. I skip my drinks and just get myself the cat food and TP. I take the guy his food and go to my van to start digging for change. If I can't get a drink, I'll at least get a candy bar. I go back inside the store and the jerk is there buying a 12-pack of the drinks I was planning to buy.
I very loudly raised a fuss at him. I just totally berated the guy out the door, making sure everyone passing by knew why I was upset. Screw you, man.
37. Endless Summer
I had a live-on-site summer job where I became good friends with this hippy couple in their late 20s. When the job and summer ended, I had to go back to college and move into my new apartment with two roommates. It had all been arranged at the end of the previous semester. The hippy couple needed a place to stay, and I let them crash for a couple of days.
Two months later, I had become the jerk that had annoyed my roommates, and I had to toss the hippies. Too bad, we were really good friends and them overstaying their welcome had really spoiled it.
38. Never Enough
I wouldn't say I'm done helping others, but I changed the way that I do it. A homeless man once asked me if I would buy him something from the store. I did it. Then he tried to trick me into buying more. His scamming strategy was pretty clever and I can see how people easily fall for it, but I caught on before it was too late, thankfully.
Now, I focus on broad community initiatives and, if I do give someone something, it's only in situations where I know I am 100% safe and can leave immediately.
39. Cover Charge
I once got into a car crash while covering a coworker’s shift. They needed help because they couldn’t find a sitter and I get guilted into covering for people all the time. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the last straw for me was when, a month later, after I had finally saved up enough money for a new car, it was swiped from outside of my office while I was out covering a coworker’s shift.
And whenever I needed help or my shifts covered? “Oh sorry, I’m busy. I can’t.”
40. The Gift of Taking
I often donate to causes that I feel strongly about and I still do to this day. Now, typically, it may not be a ton of money. It’s usually in the range of about $20 per month or so. But my rule is that if they contact you for more money, you're likely going to have to discontinue. I’m doing them a favor by giving them money, so when they use it as a chance to try and get more, I’m not impressed.
One group called me and basically belittled the amount of money I was giving, saying they really needed people who are contributing $100 per month or more, or large one-time donations. I immediately told them to stop any further payments from autopay and to stop contacting me. It makes me reconsider charitable giving altogether.
41. Car Service
When I was in college, I was the only one in the group with a car, so everyone hit me up for rides. It would get a bit annoying since I was also the only one with a job. Sometimes, I’d get asked if I could give someone a ride to the airport or bus. One time, a friend called me up at like 1:00 AM or so and asked if I could give her a ride to the bus terminal.
I was like uuhhh sure—with absolutely no idea what I was in for. On the way, she tells me that she was going to stay the weekend, but got annoyed with her sister so she was leaving back to her hometown. She had asked her sister for a ride to the bus terminal even though her sister had been drinking at home. Her sister was intoxicated and she still took her anyway.
They had made it halfway there when she got pulled over and arrested for a DWI. Well, my “friend” called a buddy to help her drive the car home and then she hit me up for a ride to the bus station. She told me all of this on the way there and all I could think of was, “So you asked your intoxicated sister for a ride, got her thrown behind bars, and now you’re just leaving her there?”
To make a long story short, I felt bad and I bailed out the sister. But the experience completely changed my perspective on helping people. I told myself after that experience that no one would have done that for me. They would have just left me there to fend for myself. So I stopped giving people rides and, slowly but surely, my number of friends decreased drastically.
42. Trashy People
I used to do a lot of volunteer trash cleanups in local forested urban parks. We had plastic grabbers and basic gardening gloves provided, but sometimes you had to kick at or dig around with trash that got lodged in rocks or dirt over time. One time, we found an area that turned out to be an abandoned substance den. There were needles everywhere.
Sticking out of cans, covering the ground, just broken glass pipes and needles everywhere. It was horrific. One guy got pricked by one through his glove, and the needles were all ripping through the bottoms of our trash bags even after we picked them up. The guy got taken to the hospital for testing and the rest of the event was canceled.
The location was reported to both the authorities and the parks department. I went home and found different outdoor volunteer work that wouldn't involve exposure to used hypodermic needles. I got involved in trail building and restoration, invasive removal, and water quality testing. The latter two also saved me from having to spend any time with ungrateful twerps there on court-mandated community service.
I did eventually start to clean up trash again after a couple years, but if I see any evidence of past substance use, I stay as far away as I possibly can.
43. An Auto-Matic No
A friend of mine once bought a car, and I thought I’d be nice to her and help her out by fixing it for a lower rate than any of the local shops would have done it for. Next thing I knew, she was trying to get me to rebuild the entire car for her without paying for any of these services. I was done with her at that point and told her to go take it in if she had a problem.
44. Teaching The Wrong Lesson
I’m a janitor in a school. The other day, I was cleaning a classroom that belonged to a teacher who had gotten sick, and then tested positive. As I’m cleaning the room and sanitizing everything, the teacher shows up and walks in. She then starts touching a bunch of stuff that she claims she forgot to take home with her. All the while, she’s lightheartedly admitting that she knows she shouldn't be in the room.
I've lost a bunch of faith in humanity this week between this and a couple of other similar instances that have happened over the past two days.
45. Computer Trouble
I once had to make an HTML website for a school project in high school. Since I sucked with computers and our teacher didn't actually teach us anything, I asked a friend who was good with computers to make the webpage for me. My friend did an awesome job, so I thought I'd be a sport and help the rest of the class who were all just as clueless as I was.
So I shared "my project" with them. I made it so they could all copy the structure and just change the topic and pictures or whatever. Then, a week later, I find out that one guy who I shared it with submitted the exact thing that I had shared without changing anything. Then, when he got caught, he had the gall to claim that I was the one who had copied him.
I was called into a very serious meeting about stealing his project. I told the teachers to ask the rest of the class about who the webpage really belonged to and they all backed me up, thankfully. But I never helped anyone else on a project again all throughout the rest of high school. Screw that guy! I regret ever trying to help him.
46. Not Hungry
I was walking home on the way back from the bank the day before Thanksgiving. I passed a homeless man with a sign saying something along the lines of “Hungry, anything helps.” I walked over to him and asked if he was hungry. He said yes, and I offered to take him to the sandwich shop just up the road. He declined, instead asking for money.
I told him that I don't carry cash anymore, but that I would gladly buy him a footlong meal. He scoffed and ignored me. Okay then. I continued along my route home and encountered another homeless person, with another sign along the same lines. I asked her if she wanted food. She declined, once again asking for money instead.
I told her as well that I don't carry cash, but that I would be happy to take her inside the Burger King she was posted outside of and buy her whatever she wanted. This woman actually had the audacity to ask me to go to an ATM and withdraw money to give to her. I politely told her that I wasn't going to do that, and she became visibly upset, at which point I just walked away.
I'm not going to stop helping people when and where I can, but this experience really put a damper on my optimism.
47. This One Will Make You Sick...
When a "good" friend of mine who I worked under had cancer and wasn't able to pay some bills, I loaned her $200 just to help. I was only 18 years old at the time and I felt bad because she had kids. It was right around the holidays and 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 embezzling money from the company I worked at, scammed my other coworkers, and would come in after skipping work for her “chemo” to make fraudulent returns while I was overseeing the store by myself because of her absence. I eventually got her fired and got promoted to her position.
48. Truck Stop
When I had a truck during college, everyone suddenly wanted me to help them move. Most of them were cool about it and gave me money or ordered pizza afterward. One time, however, some dude that I barely knew needed some help. I show up, and nothing is packed in his apartment. He had a giant fish tank and lived on the third floor with no elevator.
It was a total nightmare, and I never got so much as a dime nor food or even some beers. I never talked to him again after that.
49. Sister Act
Although I was always nice and caring towards her growing up, my youngest sister used to swipe my stuff all the time growing up. Once in high school, I thought I had lost my iPod. Turned out she had been hiding it around the house for six months. She would often take my money, clothes, laptop, toiletries, etc. Later, she would even take my things and sell them for substance money.
I'll never forgive her for what she did one night. She tied our elderly family dog to a post overnight in near-freezing weather because she wanted to get high but couldn't be bothered to walk four blocks back home to drop off our dog. Less than three months later, we had to put our dog down because of health issues that developed from that night. The last straw was my first break, first year of university.
I bought a pair of sweatpants branded with my school's logo in my suitcase, but I couldn't find them the morning after my arrival. Later that day, I get in the car and that little witch is wearing my freaking sweatpants. She tried telling my parents that we just happened to both have the same pair. My university is pretty small and over 2,000 miles away from my parents’ home.
So everyone immediately knew she was lying. I know it's a small thing to be the last straw, but after that day she meant nothing to me. I would be cordial the few times I saw her after that, but I never try to contact her and have made it clear that I don't love her anymore because I know she doesn't give two hoots about anyone else in our family.
We haven't spoken in three years and I could not be more grateful for it.
50. Housing Crisis
I moved a friend of 22 years out of her house with a husband who beat her, placed her in a spare bedroom in my house, bought her clothes, got her a job, and gave her money to buy the things that she needed. I even took her to doctors' appointments or anywhere else that she needed to go. Then, I found out 4 months before my wedding that she had been having an affair with my fiance every day while I was at work.
I lost my house (which was in his name), along with the $10,000 I had put into re-modeling it, my jeep, and all the money that I had already spent on the wedding. They now live there together, and she doesn't even work. Hmmmm, I think I got the short end of that good deed…