Every now and again, you hear stories about people that give you a good feeling about people in general. You can call it faith in the goodness of mankind. My wife calls it a “warm fuzzy”. You know, the people who find a bag full of money and find out where it came from and return it untouched, or donate a kidney to someone they barely know. Last Christmas, my wife went through the Tim Horton’s drive-thru one morning and when she got to the window, she told the cashier that she wanted to pay for the person behind her (who she didn’t know). It only cost her a couple of bucks, but she felt great for days.
And then there are these losers.
There’s a guy in the office whose teenage son has cerebal palsy, and is confined to a wheelchair. As a way for his son, who cannot hold a regular job, to make a little bit of money, his father has a snack tray in the kitchen, with chocolate bars and chips and such for a buck each, and a little tin to collect the money. The snack tray has been there for a number of years. In the last week or so, he’s had to move the tray to a table outside his office, because things are being stolen from the tray. He’s now got a sign in the kitchen where the tray used to be saying “If you want to steal from me, come to my office and pick my pocket, and leave my son alone.” I was hoping that it was someone who wanted a snack but didn’t have the money at the time, and they figured they’d pay for it the next day — I have done this in the past (though I always leave a little signed IOU note), but apparently this was not an isolated incident, it’s happened a number of times.
I put a case of chocolate bars and boxes of chocolate pieces in the kitchen the other day as part of a fundraiser for my kids’ school, along with an envelope for the money. I dropped by the kitchen just a couple of hours later, and found that a box has been opened. What kind of person would just help themself? (Note: I also found at the end of the day that there was one dollar more in the envelope than I was expecting based on what was sold. Could be that the guilty party figured that they ate 1/3 of the box, so they left 1/3 of the cost. However, I did not list that as an option on the envelope — a box is $3, either you buy it or you don’t.)
My kids’ school held a silent auction in February to raise money for the science programs in the school. Local businesses donated items, gift certificates, etc. that were then auctioned off, and all the money raised went to the school. The minimum bid for each item was 1/3 of the item’s value, and obviously the highest bid at the end of the night won the item. My wife is the chair of the school council, which ran the event, and she told me about some of the goings-on:
- Several people scratched out the minimum bid and bid something less. In at least one case, nobody else bid on the item, and the bidder expected to get the item for less than the minimum. When told she’d have to pay the minimum, she refused (though her father was standing right there and he offered to pay the minimum).
- One person (might have been the same person as in the first point) bid on a bunch of things and won several of them. When told what items she had won, she said that she didn’t expect to win that many, and that she didn’t want them all.
- One item wasn’t being bid on, so the principal of the school announced over the PA that she was lowering the minimum bid. I might add here that the school is benefitting from the event, but it was being run by the school council, and so the principal had no authority to do this.
- There were two people (I’ll call them A and B) bidding for one item, and they almost came to blows. Each accused the other of “cheating” – A said that B essentially hip-checked her out of the way to get to the bid sheet, and B said that she couldn’t get to the bid sheet because A’s husband physically blocked her. This did not get solved until several days after the event. Person B left us a very long voicemail message describing her view, and threatened to not attend anymore school fundraisers (effectively punishing the school) unless she got the item. Person A, who had ended up with the item after the auction, decided that it wasn’t worth the fight and gave it to B. Strangely, the item was a gift certificate for the place where person A worked.
Mean people suck.