christopher575 (christopher575) wrote,

No good deed goes unmentioned

I had another of the type of project I've become the go-to guy for help with at work today. Well, I got it at the end of the day Friday but did it all today, even though I was sure it would take me until at least partway through tomorrow. I'm glad I took my normal swim, because I think stepping away for a bit is how I can do a ten-hour day in 12 hours with a break, instead of doing eight in a row and getting really burned out, making lots of mistakes.

On my way out of the pool, I noticed that the pile of clothes on the next bench over clearly belonged to someone who was going through a hard time. I folded up a $5 bill and slipped it in his boot. I originally thought I shouldn't mention it at all because it seems like we hear about good deeds all the time and maybe people's intentions are weird when they mention them, but then I thought of two counterpoints. First, you should do good things and encourage other people to as well in the process. Second, it's actually the faux good deeds that annoy me. I'm always hearing about people finding out that their Starbucks drive-through order was paid for by the person in the previous car, and then they'll pay for the one behind them, and it goes on and on and the longer it lasts, the bigger perceived good deed it is. But it's really only the first person who paid for an extra order, and everyone in a Starbucks drive-through can afford their own drink anyway, so it's a big feel-good thing with a really low actual impact.

Another thing I always think is that it's always possible to do more. I could have put up to $30 in that boot, but I stopped at $5. And then I found a key on the floor and stopped a little short of what I could do with that. I tried it on the lock that I suspected it went to, and was correct, so I locked it back up and took it to the front desk. So that guy would eventually have to have that moment of panic, possibly look all over the place, and then go to the front desk. It would only have taken me a couple of minutes to find each of the men in the swim center until I found the right guy, but that sounded awkward. Would that have been awkward? "Hi, I found this key and opened someone else's lock. Was that your lock? I promise I locked it again."

But then again, I suppose I could have rifled through the stuff in the locker to try to find a photo ID, which would have made it even easier to find the right guy, right away. But that would have been even more awkward.

So the moral of the story is, be cool, be generous, and don't be afraid to be a little awkward.

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