No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, the saying goes. You do something nice for someone and inevitably, something will happen to make you wish you had just ignored them. Or, at the very least, make you wonder why you were so quick to help.
This is evident in the small things as well as bigger things in life. For instance: I’m sure everyone has, at some point, stopped to let a car out of a parking lot onto a busy road. Then, almost without fail, at the next light, they’ll go sailing right on through - as the light turns to red and there you’ll sit. That’s a small thing.
An example of something bigger would be the following scenario.
A neighbor lady shows up on your doorstep in the middle of the night, terrified and screaming that her husband is trying to kill her. You can hear the husband shouting and then you see him waving a gun around through the window of his house. The woman begs you to let her in and asks you to call the cops. Of course, you do. Good deed, right? Sure, except by the time the police arrive, she has decided she wants to go home. She tells the officers that none of what you told them on the phone is true and she has no idea what you are talking about. Now the cops are looking at you like you made it all up. (Yes, this actually happened to me). Another lesson in the maxim No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
The point is, if you help someone you may well end up being blamed for anything that goes wrong. I should know this by now and should have learned to just say no to doing good deeds. I don’t mean to give the impression that I’m some noble guy who goes out of his way to help people. I’m not. But human nature dictates certain responses and behavior. If someone is following close behind as you enter a store, you naturally hold the door for them, right? To let it slam in their face would just be rude. So, I have not learned to just say no.
Which is why a few minutes after pulling a large amount of paper towels out of a guy’s throat, and getting him breathing again, I found myself locked outside the car, on a deserted road, at night, with that same guy brandishing a knife, threatening to kill me. He said he had been trying to make a “statement,” and that I had interfered in his life. Uh, sure, if by interfering he meant prolonging it then I guess I’m guilty.
As you can obviously deduce, he did not kill me. And no, I didn’t kill him either. However, I did manage to get the knife away from him! And eventually, he calmed down - about the time the state police showed up on the scene. Although, not before telling the officer that I had “stolen” his knife. Really?
I did give the knife back - a few days later, very mindful of the fact that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.