People Share Times When Their Acts of Kindness Totally Backfired

April 5, 2023 | Miles Brucker

People Share Times When Their Acts of Kindness Totally Backfired

They say that nice guys finish last. Unfortunately, there may be some truth to that saying after all. While all of us certainly hope and dream of living in a world where everyone treats others the way they wish to be treated, sometimes there is just no escaping the fact that niceness can often be taken advantage of, or can backfire in some way or another. Here are examples of times when doing the right thing didn’t pay off.

1. Can’t Slither His Way out of This One

I once saw a snake in the grass on my lawn in front of me, so I stopped my lawnmower to try and save its life. I reached down to grab it, and put it in the bush away from my path. In the process, I accidentally snapped its neck.

kindness backfired

2. Money Problems

I have given several homeless people money, only to then have them follow me while berating me for not having given them enough. Each time was really scary and frustrating, so I just quit giving people on the street money altogether. Now, I feel badly about saying no, but I just blend in with everyone else who says no.

Memorable Stranger FactsShutterstock

3. This One’s Getting Old Real Fast

At the restaurant where I work, I once innocently said, "Madam, you will have to wait" to a customer who was in line. The lady who was with her then yelled at me for about 30 minutes straight, because "She's NOT old." Really? I was just trying to be polite and respectful. Not sure why it implied that I was calling her old.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone I guess!

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

4. Cold-Hearted World

I was shoveling snow from my walkway one winter’s morning. When I finished, I decided to do my next door neighbor’s too, as he was old. I finished it, and then I decided I might as well do the next one, too—just to be nice. As I was finishing that one, my right foot slipped forward and I tried desperately to keep myself from falling.

I slid for about 8 feet, trying to avoid going down. I blew out something in my knee, and it hurt constantly for the next 7 months. Not exactly a disaster, but it definitely sucked.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

5. It’s All About the Attitude

I was once on a flight and drank a cup of coffee. When done, I couldn’t find a place to put the cup. I don’t remember why, but for some reason the tray table was not an option. I eventually conceded and just held onto the cup. After a little while, an older gentleman who was seated next to me tapped my arm and happily took my cup.

A few minutes later, the remnants of my coffee spilled on his white dress shirt. I have felt bad about it ever since. But, I learned a valuable life lesson. If you choose to help people, then sometimes things will go wrong for you. That is simply a price that we pay for being nice, and you should not let it dissuade you from still helping, nor should it cause you to get angry when it happens.

Travel Horror Stories factsPixabay

6. An Industry Trend?

Every computer-savvy individual who has ever offered their knowledge or services to a friend of a friend, a neighbor, a distant family member, or an acquaintance is guilty of having let themselves be taken advantage of due to their own kindness. Just sayin’!

Juiciest Gossip factsPixabay

7. The Times They Are a-Changin’

A squirrel was somehow stuck in my parents’ fireplace while I was in college. My mom was home by herself, and was freaking out. She tried her best to get it out, but it kept climbing up the chimney every time she got close. When I finally made it home on Friday afternoon after classes, I went to try and help out.

I found the squirrel curled up in the ashes of the fireplace. I grabbed it and put it outside. Since it had been raining, there were puddles all around. The shocked squirrel took two steps outside into a puddle, had what looked like a seizure, and succumbed immediately.

Kindness Backfired facts Pixabay

8. Home, Not So Sweet Home

I invited my elderly mom to come live with us. She was widowed and had some emotional health problems. To make a very long story very short, she began to get paranoid living in our house, and started hating us for “trying to control her.” She moved out, wrote me out of her will entirely, and I never got to see her again.

15 months later, she passed on.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

9. What a Bunch of Garbage!

I went to a summer camp when I was 9 years old. After lunch, I once decided to clean up everyone's trash for them. As I was throwing all the trash away, a counsellor saw me and yelled at me for throwing away his soda can. He then told the other counsellors and the adults running the camp that I did it with the intention of just throwing his food away.

I cried so much on the car ride home.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

10. A One-Man Open Sleigh

In college during the winter, we had a heavy snowstorm one year. Everyone was walking to class, and I was heading down the outdoor steps to the basement where my class was. A girl was walking in front of me. She slipped and began to fall. Without thinking, I reached my arms under hers to try and prevent her from falling.

In doing so, I slipped and my legs went forward under hers. She landed on top of me, and literally rode me like a sled down the stairs. She then stood up and just walked away. Never helped me up, never said "thank you," never even asked if I was okay. That hurt. Badly.

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

11. Stolen Valor

I was on a charity project in Ghana. There was a kid who I had become very fond of, so I gave her a toy that she had really liked. I then noticed her very bruised back the next day at school, and she wouldn’t tell me why she was so badly beaten. I soon figured it out, though. Her mom brought the toy back that afternoon and apologized for her daughter "stealing" it.

She promised that the little girl would think again before stealing in future. I tried to explain, but the mother didn’t believe me. She thought I was just covering for the little girl, who was about 6.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

12. Toy Story

I worked at an arcade prize counter. One time, a summer camp full of kids came rolling in. They had tickets for unlimited games, but they couldn't get any points for the prize counter—which the counsellors had failed to tell the kids, so we had to keep explaining it. Some of the poor kids were super excited because they had won a jackpot!

It was equally annoying and heartbreaking. Well, one kid showed up and was devastated. He had been working all day to get enough points for this little clip-on fox plush. He was inconsolable. Finally, I decided to use my own points to get it for him, because I really sympathized with him. I felt like that was a toy that I would have wanted as a little kid, and I would probably have been equally devastated if I couldn't have it.

I was also truly annoyed with the counsellors at that point. I gave him the toy and told him not to tell anyone about it. He came back later in tears because the counsellor had confiscated the toy. To have the toy in your hands and then have it taken away probably felt even worse than not getting the toy at all. I felt awful.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

13. Working Under a Hot Stove

I once tried to catch and relocate a mouse. I didn’t want to hurt it, just to get it out of my house. Long story short, I accidentally dropped the stove on it. It was pretty darn gruesome.

Memorable Patient Experiences factsPixabay

14. Shutting the Door

I used to work security, and part of that job was telling people that they can’t go wherever it is that they are trying to go. One time, there was a dog show, and the show runners were adamant that not a single motor vehicle may pass through my gate. Period. It is for foot traffic only, with absolutely no exceptions. None at all.

Well, as I’m turning people away, this old lady rides up on a little scooter. There is no handicap tag on it, and she looks physically healthy, but I just assumed that she was handicapped anyway and let her pass without issue. She then proceeds to spend the entire rest of the day coming and going back and forth, completely taking advantage of the fact that I had let her in.

The next day, she’s up early coming and going like the day before. Later that morning, she comes riding up with her arm twisted behind her, dragging this huge box on wheels that is packed with a bunch of equipment. The wheels on this thing are kind of like the wheels on a grocery cart—you know, the spinning kind that aren’t worth an ounce of attention.

This box is clearly tugging her arm all over the place, and it’s much bigger than she is. So, as she drives by, I ask her if she’d like some help. She doesn’t even stop, but, as she rides by, she says “No, I need you to just get the heck out of my way. Thanks!” and just keeps going. So, I’m just kind of standing there completely stunned at her response, because I did not expect that at all.

But alright. No motor vehicles, period, remember? So, when she comes rolling back up again later that day, I close the gate on her and I give her the same little speech about the rules that I had been giving everyone else the whole time. She went totally freaking nuts, and it turned out that she was definitely not handicapped because she jumped out of that scooter and tried to force the gate open with her bare arms.

She ran to the show runners and they came to talk to me. I told them what happened and, unlike my spineless boss at the time, they actually had my back. Nevertheless, this woman spent the rest of the week constantly glaring at me. She even tried cursing at me, but I reminded her that if she kept that up, she wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the show.

So, it all worked out in the end, but I still did not enjoy the feeling in the moment when I was just trying to do my job and be a decent human, only to be treated like garbage in return.

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

15. Taken for a Ride

I flagged someone down on the highway who was driving with a flat tire. We both pulled over, and they explained that they didn't have a spare. I offered to drive them to the closest convenience store and back for a can of fix-a-flat. Not only did they ride in my car silently, offering no thanks at any point, but they also stole my wallet out of my console when I wasn't looking.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

16. Hitting a Wall-et

A woman dropped her wallet in front of me while walking down Broad Street in Philly. I ran fast and caught up with her just in time to return it before she got away. She then accused me of not only taking her wallet, but taking the money that was supposedly in it. It was a good day.

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

17. Getting Hitched

On a rainy day, I once gave a ride to a hitchhiker near campus who looked like a typical university student. I normally don't pick up hitchhikers, but it was hard to ignore him standing there in the pouring rain. I drove beyond where I was headed to get him to his stated destination—a place that was pretty darn far off the beaten path.

But then he would not get out of the car. He just kept staring at me and telling me that he was "lonely and needed someone to be with." I finally told him that we were heading to the police station if he didn't get out, and that did the trick. If that hadn't worked, we probably would have come to blows, because I could see that he was building up to something.

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

18. By Design

A couple of years ago, as a favor to a friend, I redesigned his small business's website for free. Granted, I'm not an awesome designer, but it was a massive improvement. I took them from practically GeoCities to a decent WordPress site. Nobody once said thank you. Then, a couple of weeks ago, they found a new web guy to redo their site.

My friend invited me to a meeting to look at the mockups and tell them what I thought. For half of the meeting, staff members just trashed the old design and complained about how "awful and tacky" it was. Apparently, my "friend" never told anyone that I was the guy who had made it.

Internet factsPexels

19. You Are What You Eat

When my little cousin was 3 years old, he absolutely LOVED Mickey Mouse. One day, we were having him and the rest of the family over for breakfast. I decided to make him some special pancakes that were shaped like Mickey Mouse's head. I even used blueberries and whipped cream to make it sort of resemble the character’s face.

I was so excited to see the smile on his face when I served him those pancakes, but instead he just yelled out, "I HATE MICKEY!" Apparently, he and Mickey had recently had a falling out of some kind that I had been unaware of, so I then had to go and make him regular pancakes because he absolutely refused to eat the Mickey ones.

Honestly, I thought it was really strange. When I was a kid, I probably would have been way more eager to eat Mickey if I hated him than if I liked him.

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

20. Does Not Compute

I built a computer for a coworker. She was talking about how she was going to buy one for like $1,000, and I said I could just build it for half the price. Well, besides things going to heck during the building process and not getting any money from her to cover the expenses, I ended up having to give her free tech support for years.

Any time that anything went wrong, it was presumably because I built it incorrectly, and it would have been better for her to have just bought one. Lesson learned.

CryptoCurrency FactsShutterstock

21. When Tragedy Strikes

My high school's soccer coach was a good guy. He cared about his players and always did his best at coaching them. One night after a game, he and his players and a few of their parents went out to dinner to celebrate the win. As one of the moms went to leave, the coach offered to walk her to her car, and she accepted gratefully.

In the parking lot, the woman's ex-husband had secretly been stalking her. When he saw the coach with her, he became furious. Before the coach even had a chance to explain, the ex gave him one good punch in the head. The coach passed on. It was truly awful.

Joan Crawford factsShutterstock

22. His Spidey Senses Just Weren’t Tingling That Day

I once saw a spider in my house. I went to get a cup and an index card to set him free outside, as I always do. Unfortunately, the little fool didn't want to go into the cup, and put up quite the fight. I ended up crushing him by accident in the process of trying to maneuver him inside. I tried, dude!

Travel Horror Stories factsPixabay

23. I Get a Kick out of You

I kicked a ball for my dog to chase. She lunged for the ball at the exact same time that I was kicking. I kicked her in the face.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

24. Life Is a Carnival

I was watching some people playing a carnival game one time. The game involved everyone sitting down and throwing ping pong balls into holes to make their avatars race. All of a sudden, I looked down and saw a $50 note falling to the ground. It must have fallen out of one of the player's pockets. So I picked it up, nudged a young teen, and asked him if he had dropped it.

He took it, had a quick word with his friends, and then hurried away. I then looked up to see the lady in the seat next to where he had been, with a concerned look on her face. Her family members started looking towards the ground. I put two and two together and realized that I had given the money to the wrong person.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

25. Did You Enjoy Your Stay?

I once helped some hotel staff move some tables into a room. In the process, I accidentally sprained my wrist. No worries guys, it happens. I’m still glad that I was able to be a helpful person.

Medical Practices factsShutterstock

26. Food for Thought

A homeless guy by my house was asking for money for food outside of a restaurant, so I offered to buy him dinner. Then, it turned out that I had forgotten my wallet at home, so I told him I'd still pay if he waited like 10 minutes for me to go home and grab it. He said sure, so we ordered and I ran home to grab the cash as quickly as I could.

I got back in under 7 minutes—and the guy was gone. I then still had to pay for two meals, because they had already made the food.

Nurses Ghost Stories FactsPixabay

27. Write This Down

I noticed that this kid in my class didn't have a pencil for the test, so I gave him one. I didn't get it back afterwards.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

28. Cooking With Gas

A guy walks up to me while I'm pumping gas and says that he's stranded and needs money for the bus. I give him $2. He then walks inside the gas station and buys some Mentos candies. We make eye contact when he leaves. His smirk is forever ingrained in my memory.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

29. Sorry I Asked

I was standing outside a bar and heard a woman crying in the parking lot. I walked over towards her and asked if she was okay. Some idiot who was about 40 years older than me came over and told me to leave her alone. I said I was just asking her if she was okay. He then punched me in the head. I basically just asked him what the heck his problem was and walked away.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

30. A Froggy Evening

This one time, my dad and I were camping out in the woods. The fire was going and we were sitting around it heating up food, when my dad suddenly noticed a frog that was directly approaching our bright source of heat. Dad wanted to prevent it from accidentally getting burned, so he stood up and started to shoo it away.

Unfortunately, the frog was startled by this and, in its panic, it jumped straight into the fire. A little while later, we heard a loud and unforgettable "pop" sound coming out of the fire. RIP little fella.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

31. Too Close for Comfort

My wife had a coworker who was young and had many addiction issues. I forked over a few grand to help him get into an excellent rehab program instead of paying off the debt on my wedding, putting a lot of financial stress on my own family. Before the rehab place had an opening for him, I walked in on him in bed with my wife. They moved in together shortly after, and have two kids together now.

Life-Ruining Secret FactsShutterstock

32. Time to Roll up in a Cocoon for a While...

I was on a bus and saw this girl on her way to school with a caterpillar creeping onto her shoulder. I don't think she was aware of it. I removed it without her permission. She started to cry, presumably thinking I was trying to grab her inappropriately. Awkward…

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

33. Falling for You

A man dropped a quarter at Lowe’s, so I went after it for him. The floor was really slick, and I fell right onto my pregnant belly. We were all okay, thankfully, but I was so embarrassed that I ran out to my car and cried. In hindsight, I’m just grateful that it didn’t result in anything worse, as it easily could have.

Nicest Thing Ever Done FactsShutterstock

34. Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

I was trying to help my friend because they had spilled their milk, so I was wiping it up. I lifted up the milk container to clean under it, and accidentally dumped the rest of it onto their pants. I felt so bad!

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

35. Generational Gap

As I was exiting the post office one day, I saw an elderly man with a walker heading towards the door. Thinking I was being nice, I held the door open for him. He then proceeded to chew me out about how he doesn't need any help. I didn't realize it was so offensive for an 18-year-old girl to hold open a door for a man who had his hands full.

And that's why, to this day, I'm afraid of old people.

Creepiest Encounters with Stalkers FactsPixabay

36. Kidney Failure

A lady in my office donated her kidney to her boss to save his life, only to be fired shortly afterwards. Good luck beating that one, folks!

Bosses Fired factsShutterstock

37. It’s in the Bag

I stood up on the bus to let a woman sit down. She just put her bag down on the seat instead. I’ll never trust an evil bag-wielding middle-aged woman again.

Kindness Backfired factsPixabay

38. You Might Wanna Sit Down for This One...

I stood up for an old woman on the bus once, trying to be a gentleman. She then proceeded to spend the entire rest of the ride yelling at me because SHE IS NOT OLD AND DOES NOT REQUIRE A SEAT!! How dare I have thought that she couldn’t stand up by herself?!!

Kindness Backfired facts Pixabay

39. Ambulance Chasers

I’m a bus driver. I once came across a guy having a seizure on the side of the road in a small town. It looked like he had fallen down and broken his glasses. He also had some blood running down the side of his head. So, I called an ambulance for him because I didn't know what else to do. I would live to regret this action.

The next day, a lady at one of my regular stops came up to me angrily and said, "Why did you call so-and-so that ambulance yesterday? Now he has to pay for it! He's a tough guy , he would have been perfectly fine without it! This happens to him all the time!" It was mid-winter, and some random guy was twitching on the street.

What the heck was I supposed to do? Just keep driving?

Awkward Wedding factsWikipedia

40. A Change of Pace

I once tried to pay it forward at a Subway, so I gave the cashier a $20 bill for a grandmother and granddaughter who I saw sitting at a table. The cashier asked if I wanted change back after, and I did. I was in a tough spot financially, but I still wanted to do nice things. Once they finished, the cashier rang them up, and the grandma didn't move when she counted the change.

She ripped the change out of the cashier's hand and, when I stood there just staring in disbelief, the grandma called me a "selfish jerk." She yelled at me more and just walked away with the money. I still like to pay it forward, but man! That incident turned me away from it for a while.

Customer Isn’t Always Right factsShutterstock

41. Killing One Bird With No Stones

When I was a kid, I went into my mom’s room one time to find our pet cat looking up at a small bird who was just chilling on the rim of one of my mom’s bags, which was hanging from a cupboard no more than about a meter away. I had no idea how that bird had gotten into the room. I panicked and ran to try and shoo it out the window before my cat could get to it.

The bird didn’t move when I got closer, so I picked up the bag it was perched on and tipped it out of the window, at which point the poor bird dropped 2 stories directly onto the ground below. I stared back, confused as to why it didn’t fly off. It turns out it was actually an injured bird that my mom had come across, and had put in her bag to be nursed back to safety.

She had also neglected to tell me this. That bird’s passing will forever be on my conscience.

Petty Revenge factsPixabay

42. 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…

Kindness Backfired factsShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit,

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