I learned many good life lessons from tv shows as a kid. There’s an episode of “The Fairly Oddparents” where Timmy gets to see a world where he was never born. It ends with a character saying “you don’t do good deeds to be noticed, you are supposed to do good deeds because they are the right thing to do”. I also recall seeing a meme the other day that said Christians don’t do good deeds for the attention and I’m not sure how I feel about either of those sentiments.
It is selfish and needy have to share everything with the world and it’s wrong to do something good for the attention, but if you’re motives are pure, why not share? People like some mystery in their lives, but they also emulate other people in their communities. At the same time, wouldn’t the world be better if we shared good news more often? That’s the only thing that people like on social media. What if it was a good thing to share when we do something good for others? Maybe that would encourage more people to do good deeds when the opportunity presents itself..
Anyway, here is a list of some of my good deeds.
- I was bored at the car dealership one day as I waited to get my brakes replaced so I started talking to strangers. I chatted with another bored person and she told me all about her dogs, her kids moving away, and how she was having a rough go of things right now. Maybe 5 minutes passed and she left because her car was ready to go. Another five minutes go by and she came back, “You listening to me meant so much to me. Thank you. It was really great to meet you”. Reinforced my beliefs that all anyone really wants is to feel like someone, literally anyone, is on their side.
- One night, I was walking to my car and met a middle aged black man. He was dirty and stumbling a little so I asked if he was okay. He claims to have been beaten up by someone, thought he would be okay, but didn’t know how to get home. Turns out he lived on my way home so I offered to give him a ride. On the way home, we listened to old school rap music and he asked me to stop to buy him some beer. Not wanting to inebriate him more, I took the $10 he gave me, bought the weakest single can of beer in the store and a Gatorade. He didn’t like my decision, but at least he got home safe.
- At my current job, I work as a Constituent Services Director. That means when people are mad at the government and want to talk to someone about it, they call me. One day, I listened to an absolutely horrible story about a woman who adopted her nephew from his drug addict mother. After doing everything right, Child Protective Services took the baby away and put him into foster care. I contacted CPS on behalf of the constituent and a few weeks later, the baby way back in the arms of his rightful family.
- Another opportunity for good that I did was speak to a man about unemployment insurance. The man was living under a bridge because he lost his job due to COVID. The state owed him over $30,000 in back pay due to how backed up they were due to COVID unemployment benefits. Long story short, he doesn’t live under a bridge anymore.
- While working at my old library, a couple donated a big bag of stuffed animals. After examining them and realizing they were in good condition, I remembered this small, quiet, and likely disabled girl that frequented the library. She didn’t talk a lot, but I knew she didn’t have much and her family was probably quite poor so I gave her family all of the stuffed animals. The next day she came into my office, didn’t say a word, just hugged me and tried to hold back the tears.
- Again, at my current job dealing with unemployment cases, I was able to successfully push the paperwork through to get about $30,000 in unemployment debt waived. During COVID, the UIA approved a lot of people’s applications without properly reviewing them as they didn’t have the time. The woman who called in asking for help had been struggling, but thanks to me she was able to talk to the right person and get the debt waived. When she was thanking me profusely, she wanted to know how she could repay me. She was often hard on herself and that’s a pet peeve of mine so I said “If you really want to repay me, stop being so hard on yourself. It annoys me when people aren’t their biggest ally. What you say to yourself matters a lot”.
She also started crying then as “no one has ever believed in me before”.
- At another job as an insurance agent, a woman was struggling with her hearing and applying for Medicaid. While I wasn’t going to make a commission helping her, I helped her apply. She ended up getting approved thanks to my help and she was able to afford hearing aids for $12 instead of over $6,000.
- Another person I’m proud to have helped as an insurance agent is a disabled veteran. He can’t see or hear well so applying for health insurance outside of the VA was difficult for him. I found him an insurance plan that only costed $50 a month and it covered all of his prescriptions except one. The one that was more expensive we were able to find a coupon for that made it totally free. I think I saved him around $14,000 a year in medical costs. He’s on Medicare now so his costs are even lower, but for the two years it took to be approved for Medicare (that’s the wait time if you’re disabled), I was really able to help him out. He calls sometimes just to chat because he likes me.
To be clear, I am not a saint. I have messed up many times in my life. I have also had several jobs where the opportunity to help someone has presented itself and not everyone has that. It is possible to meet people in your daily life, think about their needs, and do something good for them. Listen to someone struggling and see what they need. Don’t sacrifice your own well being for others, but if the opportunity to do something good presents itself, take it! You’ll never regret genuinely helping someone.