Despite all of the bad in the world, there are quite a few people who genuinely care about those around them and would do anything to help out someone in need - even if it ends in disaster.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the time an act of kindness blew up in their faces. No matter how hard these try to help someone out in a tough spot, it seems like they are the ones needing help by the time everything is said and done. All of the following stories are evidence of that, as sad as it may sound. All posts have been edited for clarity.
When Doing The Wrong Thing Seems Like The Better Option
“I was a dirt-poor college student, struggling to find the money to pay the rent and buy food and textbooks. It was getting late in the day and I was rushing to catch my bus when I noticed a handbag sitting in a grassy area where we would hang out during lunchtime.
I opened it and rifled through the purse and found about $500 in cash. I was so tempted to just keep walking, and I kept thinking how much that money would help me out, but then my conscience kicked in and I thought that the women who had lost her bag might need it just as much as me. I sat down with the bag next to me and waited. I figured she would panic when she realized what had happened and be back soon.
Twenty minutes passed. I missed my bus and was wondering what to do next when I spotted someone hurrying in my direction. She was dressed in designer clothes. Real fancy stuff. All my clothes were bought from a thrift shop. She let out a tirade of abuse. Calling me a thief and that she was going to call the police. I was trying to explain that I had been waiting for her to come back and I was keeping it safe, but she kept abusing me, snatched up her handbag and walked off still swearing at me.
I kind of regretted not taking the money.”
Her Kindness Led To YEARS Of Stalking
“There was a really weird kid at my high school who didn’t have much of a social life. About halfway through school, he latched onto my group of friends because he wanted to try psychedelics and saw us as his best bet to get ahold of some. People weren’t very nice to him in general and I felt bad for him, so I was careful to talk to him like a person. My friends would often want to secretly ditch him, but I was not cool with that.
He eventually asked me out, I said no, and it escalated to the point where he would show up uninvited where I was and wrote all kinds of disturbing journal entries with fantasies about me which he PASSED AROUND school to anyone who was interested in reading them. My friends were pretty good at closing ranks around me, but then he ended up going to the same university. He eventually confessed his undying love, at which point I told him I wanted no contact with him.
He stalked me relentlessly. For years. He threatened to tell the police I was an addict if I didn’t go out with him (I was not). He threatened to kill himself if I didn’t run away with him and HE sent this email to a huge list of people which included university administration, which got him kicked out of school.
He continued to stalk and threaten me and all sorts of people in my life. He contacted my old high school English teacher about me. My ex from when I was 14 who I hadn’t talked to in seven years. I was constantly getting hit up by random people from my past who were like, ‘Hey, are you safe? Because this dude sent me some really disturbing stuff mentioning you.’ I went to the police so many times and got nowhere. No protection, no privacy, no respect.
He once sent me a link to a page to purchase a specific Glock with a message that said something like, ‘This is the weapon I recommend you buying to shoot me with when I come for you,’ and the police said it’s not a threat because it only talked about me shooting him, not him shooting me. It both made me want to have a weapon and also not because, like, I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of ever doing something he says to do, you know?
Finally, 12 years after this whole thing started, I got in touch with the right family law practice that was able to get me a restraining order, which is so much harder than the internet makes it sound. I had to go to court, but that was fine with me. He hasn’t completely upheld the agreements of the order but I feel pretty safe in general now due to taking so many precautions. My boyfriend was the one who served him with the temporary restraining order and the summons to appear at court and for that, I will be forever grateful. He also was really supportive and helped me take precautions to stay safe. I never put my name or pictures online. I don’t use social media that isn’t anonymous. I have a special kind of censorship on my address so not even the DMV has it. If I am credited in any study or publication, I have my name redacted if it’s getting put online. I will never make a Linked In. It’s all more debilitating than I would have thought.”
She Has A History Of Dealing With Horrible Men
“When I was 16, I gave some money to a disabled guy in a wheelchair that was asking for help door to door in my neighborhood. He thanked me and started to make small talk. I felt kind of bad for him, so I tried to be nice and make conversation.
First, he asked for my name, then what grade I was in, and if I liked school. Two minutes later, he started to get super creepy and started asking about my family, if I liked ice cream, and if I ever wear short shorts and tank tops (I developed early and by that age, I was already wearing large bras).
Then he started to harass me, saying how he’d like to take me out and see me in skimpy clothes to show off my curves.
When I started to panic, instead of telling him off, I sort of froze and he took it as ‘she likes it.’ Then he reached out to take my hand and I snapped back to fight or flight mode, I ran away and close the door.
You’d think that’d be the end of it, but the guy kept coming back to my house and calling my name over the intercom whenever I answered the door.
One day, my mom saw the fear in my face and asked what was going on; I told her and she told the guy to stop coming or she’d call the police and then proceeded to scold me for opening the door to strangers.
Another incident happened when I was in college and working part-time; there was this guy that hung around my workplace that had some kind of neurological disability. He had trouble walking and couldn’t speak fluently. I think he was related to someone and being around made him feel good I guess? He was always well dressed and groomed and was friendly with everybody. Again, I didn’t want to be rude and sit on a corner with headphones on, so when he came to say hi, I’d try to be friendly.
One day I noticed he was staring at my chest and it made me uncomfortable (he was way older but due to his disability, I assumed he was more childlike).
Then he started to leave presents on my desk, like cheap jewelry and other small trinkets. I always gave them back and tried to explain to him he shouldn’t do that anymore. Then he started to try to hug me, which I tried to explain I didn’t like. He stopped trying to hug me but he would just stand and stare at me for long periods of time. By then, I was scared to bump into him, so whenever I saw him coming, I’d run and hide in the bathroom.
I told people about it but everyone just laughed it up and joked about it, but I was truly traumatized because he even tried to follow me home.
One day, I asked a guy friend to hug me in front of him to show I wasn’t available and he got violent, threw a chair at my friend and started to throw punches. It took that incident for people to take it seriously and they stopped letting the guy into my office. He still roamed around the whole building so I was still afraid to bump into him for the whole three years I worked there.”
She Became A Victim Of Her Own Politeness
“I moved my mom, her boyfriend, and her three kids (my half-siblings) into my home because they’d been homeless for six months. My mom was in a different state and refused to come out here until I finally drove out there and got her. I welcomed them into my home freely with no stipulations, no strings, believing they’d do SOMETHING to get back on their feet. They had it made.
Instead they got jobs, paid me nothing, saved nothing, blew it all on the casino/smokes/drinks, broke a lot of stuff in my house, ruined my carpets and furniture, borrowed money, and left me for a week with seven kids (mine and hers) a week after I gave birth to a child of my own.
I will never do anything like that again. I did my duty as a daughter, but now I will never bail her out ever again. EVER. If my minor siblings wanted to come live with me, I’d take them. But never her.”
He Expected Her To Use The Phone To Stay In Touch, Not This…
“I gave a girl I was dating my spare phone when she lost hers and she couldn’t afford another one for a few weeks. When she gave me the phone back, she forgot to delete Tinder (she had it hidden in a ‘News’ folder), and I saw everything she was doing on there. She was flirting with everyone, exchanging numbers and Snapchat usernames and messages implying she was sending out explicit photos to them and wanted to hook up.
I gave her my phone to use to make sure she could communicate with her family or just in case she needed to contact anyone or use it for anything like emails, directions, Uber, and also so I’d be able to talk to her throughout the day. Instead, she cheated on me. On my phone. Essentially, I gave her a phone so she could cheat on me. I mean, I know she was probably doing it anyway but come on, on my phone?
I’m glad I found out but it still felt played thinking that she’d be using the phone to be talking to me or just having it in case of emergency but she was using it to be a sleaze bag. My kindness here wasn’t all selfless either. I slyly thought she’d be into me more and appreciate me more because I gave her the phone too which clearly she wasn’t.
I took screenshots of everything and sent it to her basically telling her to get lost. She responded a few days later with an essay apology which I half read but wasn’t really bothered enough to hear her out. She wanted attention elsewhere, what more is there to know? I wasn’t that into her to argue about it or work through or anything like that and I got over pretty much instantly.”
Look At That Holiday Cheer
“There is a homeless woman who stays in my neighborhood often. One day, I saw her sitting on a bench on a freezing cold day sometime after Christmas (as a teacher this is a time I often get 20 Dunkin Donuts gift cards). I never go to Dunkin and I had a 25$ gift card, so I pulled over in the snow and walked over to her to her and wanted to give her the gift card because it was freezing and Dunkin was up the block.
I figured as a customer, she could get a hot drink and stay warm inside for a while. I briefly introduced myself and asked for her name and then I handed her the card with a smile and said I have an extra one of these, Dunkin is up the road you should go warm up it’s a cold day. She looked at me, took the card, threw it on the ground, stomped it in the snow, and told me to get lost.
I love New York.”
“Why Can’t You Help Her Out? She’s Pregnant, Man”
“One time after work, I pulled up to a gas station in a pretty bad neighborhood. It must have been about 10 pm. This pregnant woman and her baby daddy pull up next to me in a beaten up car with the interior all ripped to shreds. She told me that they just had their car stolen and that they just got it back but the carjackers tore up the inside. She asked if I could give her money to get some food to eat for the night. I told her I didn’t have any cash but I’ll buy her something to eat if she really needed it.
So we went inside and she started grabbing a bunch of stuff as I went to pull some cash from the ATM. What I thought was going to be a few dollars in food almost added up to $20 by the time she was done. I’m not a confrontational person by any means so I didn’t have the guts to tell her no. So she brought up the food to the register and asked about the price of ANOTHER item that she was looking to grab.
At this point, the girl at the register knew what was up and started to ask questions, but with a hostile tone. The two women then got into a LOUD argument right in front of me. Internally, I started to flip out because I was too stupid to just say no to the lady, and now this had gone way too far. The manager came and walked the pregnant woman out, and I started to walk to my car.
She looked at me and asked about the cash that I pulled out. I told her I was sorry and that I couldn’t help her anymore. She started screaming at me telling me I was a horrible person because I let someone convince me to not help a pregnant woman. Her baby daddy then started asking me over and over, ‘Why can’t you help her out? She’s pregnant, man; you’re not going to help us out?’ I just kept saying sorry and rushed to my car. I was so freaked out by the whole thing that I just drove home in silence.”
Their Neighborly Kindness Came Back To Bite Them
“I saved a neighbor’s life when she overdosed. We made her kids dinner while she was in the hospital getting her stomach pumped, which gave them a good look inside our house. Her kids later robbed our house. My neighbor went on to terrorize and assault my parents who eventually sold up and moved away.
The paramedics who responded to my emergency call told me I had saved her life by calling them in time and administering first aid.
Given what she put my parents through and the way her children are career criminals now, I sort of regret being so neighborly.”
“I Don’t Think I’ll Leave A Note Next Time”
“I was 18 and driving small ’89 Nissan Pulsar in 2002.
I was backing out of a friend’s driveway and noticed a garbage truck coming. I decided to get out of the way kinda quickly and backed into the front corner of a newer Ford F-150, maybe fast enough to scuff the bumper. Maybe. I left a note because I always heard that’s what you are supposed to do.
The guy contacted me and I heard back from his insurance quote that I was now responsible for repairs to the truck to include:
A new bumper, fixed alignment, a new radio antenna, a full transmission rebuild, passenger side wheel well replacement, and passenger side front fender replacement. All of the repairs totaled up to around $4,500.
I don’t think I’ll leave a note next time.”
Whose Chair Is It Anyway?
“I was at Magic Mountain with friends and noticed an obese man pushing his wife in a wheelchair.
We passed them at the bottom of a very tall hill and in between gasps of air, he asked how much further to the top. He looked like he could use some help so I offered to push her in the wheelchair to the top for them and what happened next took me a while to figure out.
She LEPT out of the wheelchair and the obese guy hopped in and said ‘Let’s go!’ One of my friends was confused and asked if either of them actually required a wheelchair? The woman then started shouting about how they didn’t need the wheelchair, but it helped them get around the park and people let them skip lines.
We refused to lug either of them up this hill if they didn’t need it, so they started calling me a bad person for going back on my word. Then they BOTH started walking away from us just pushing an empty wheelchair. It was a strange encounter that left us with questions.”
The Not So Special Lady At The Waffle House
“I was at Waffle House. No one was there but me, my two friends, the waitress, and the cook. My bill came out to around $7, one friend’s bill was around $8, and the other’s was around $10. The $8 tab friend tipped $1 while the $10 didn’t tip at all. Being a server myself, I especially felt bad and tried to pick up the slack on my tab, plus I was making a bit more money than I needed to at that point, so I tipped $12. The waitress scoffed and sarcastically made a big deal about it, ‘OHHHH, Thank You! So Much!’
Me: ‘Uh, you’re welcome.’
‘Do you see this Michael?’ she said, looking back at the cook and waving the receipt. ‘This little girl took it upon herself to bless this poor Waffle House waitress with some extra cash since she’s over there makin’ the big money on the beach.’
I hadn’t said anything about my financial situation, but apparently, me coming in wearing my work shirt was enough to provoke her anger.
I awkwardly nodded, she rolled her eyes then my friends and I proceeded to leave.
As we were walking out to my car, the waitress and the cook came outside for a smoke break. She was still carrying on very loudly.
I think I caught her on a bad night? Otherwise, I just don’t understand the reaction. I’d be stoked if someone tipped me $20, especially if another guest didn’t tip at all and the other left under 20%.”
Her Little Surprise Didn’t Pan Out So Well
“My then-boyfriend was on a work retreat at this lovely old mill/hotel. I had worked with this particular establishment earlier that year arranging a big multi-day event, so I knew the events coordinator.
I decided to surprise him and called the coordinator to arrange for an elaborate cheese plate to be set up for him in his room on arrival – fruit, nuts, crackers the whole nine yards. She gave me a great discount and included a note I dictated that said something to the effect of, ‘Enjoy on your off time! I hope you have a great retreat. Love, Roxy.’
The day came, he checked in, but I heard nothing. Okay, maybe he just got too busy, he was on a work retreat after all. By evening, I called the hotel back. He checked in and the plate was placed in his room upon his arrival. I called my boyfriend but got no answer. Not surprising, he had activities all day. The next day, he checked out and I gave him a call. I asked how it went, he told me all about how nice the place was, but no mention of what was in the room. Finally, I just blurted out, ‘Was there a cheese plate in your room?’
A brief pause. Then, ‘Oh, my god, that was you?’
Me: ‘Of course, it was me!’
Him: ‘I thought it was like a minibar like they’d charge me if I ate it!’
Me: ‘Did you read the note?’
Him: ‘I thought Roxy was the name of the housekeeper!’
Me: ‘Even though it said LOVE?’
Him: ‘THEY’RE VERY FRIENDLY HERE!’
So basically he thought that an unrefrigerated cheese plate, waiting for him as he entered his room, was just a thing this hotel provided. He studiously avoided it the whole time he was there and then had them throw it out, untouched when he left.
He felt awful and I nearly cried. It was such delicious cheese.”
That Took A Quick Turn
“When my family and I were on vacation for the Fourth of July, we were hanging out on a beach. My dad saw a girl splashing and screaming for help out in the water.
Apparently, these two girls, who were probably somewhere around 12, and had got caught swimming too far out. One girl got ahold of a buoy and the other was starting to panic. He ran into the water and swam over to her. He grabbed her and started to swim her toward shore but she was panicking and struggling and trying to push him under to keep herself up.
The girl’s family was in a boat not far away and came rushing over when they saw the commotion. They thanked my dad and asked if he wanted a ride back to shore. When they get into the boat, the girl’s dad asked if she’s ok and the girl said, ‘He was trying to look down my swimsuit!’
It was a very quiet ride back.
My father was a Vietnam Navy vet on vacation with his wife and kids, building sand castles, not checking out young girls. He recently told me the story and said, ‘What was I trying to peek at? A flat-chested 11-year-old in a bathing suit?'”