Social Question

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Have you ever done a secret good deed?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (19306 points ) October 14th, 2009

Paid someone’s bill? Stuck up for them without them knowing? I can’t think if a lot of examples right now, but the possibilities are endless.

Has anyone, that you suspect, secretly done something for you?

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28 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Often – I am uncomfortable with people knowing that I was involved. A surprising number of people take offense when you help them.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@DarkScribe Examples? What did you do? You don’t have to say for who if it makes you uncomfortable.

DarkScribe's avatar

@DarkScribe Examples? What did you do?

Pay bills for employees, (I have a soft spot for single mothers) send presents to people and pretend that they came from people that they loved ( have you ever visited a nursing home?) Little things over the years. As my wife says – I am a bleeding heart. I am not sorry about it though. (She is too.)

rooeytoo's avatar

They’re the only kind that count!

jrpowell's avatar

I worked at a wafer fab in Bend and one of my co-workers made a huge mistake that destroyed about 50K worth of product. This was a place that paid really well and offered good benefits. Most of the people working there were older and had families. I was going to put in two weeks notice in a few days so I called a engineer and took the blame. I was expecting to be fired.

I wasn’t fired but it was really close. She never knew that I noticed her mistake and intentionally took the fall.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@DarkScribe Thanks for sharing. That’s really cool. And no, definitely don’t be sorry :)

@johnpowell That is truly amazing. I don’t know many people who would ever be willing to do that.

Supacase's avatar

@johnpowell, that is a seriously awesome good deed.

peedub's avatar

@johnpowell Wow, you’re like a hero or something. She seriously didn’t figure it out?? Do you think she had a hunch and did not want to figure it out? Perahaps out of guilt..?

I feel like I have had similar opportunities but did not act on them. What was it like? Did you get nervous, or some kind of rush?

I have paid the toll for the person behind me, on the Bay Bridge, numerous times. It’s pretty unoriginal.

Actually, two nights ago I tried to buy some dude a drink for his birthday without him knowing. He was literally crying because ‘no one cared’ and he had been exchanging some ugly words with a young lady that I assumed to be his ex. She showed up late, and seemed like she didn’t want to be there. I felt really bad for him, even though he truly seemed like a prick. The bartender shook his head like, “don’t waste your money on him,” so I passed.

markyy's avatar

I gave you a great question just now, and you didn’t know about it. Poof! The secret is out.

I have done secret deeds. I may have not impacted an entire family like for example @johnpowell did, but I have done things behind people’s back for their own good and too often for my own bad. Having said that, I constanty seek of approval (I’ll ask you guys why I do this at a later time), that makes it hard for me to really keep it a secret. There have been cases where I outed myself to the person I was trying to keep it a secret from in the first place. Not by just blatantly telling them what I did, but I may have dropped very subtle hints that, over time, would lead them to suspect it was me.

I’m sorry this is probably not the answer you were looking for. Had I taken the easy way I would have come up with a great story and feed of the Lurve/appreciation. I’m not proud of it either, I just thought I would share in a thread where it is too easy to read great stuff about others and cut yourself short.

Now as for the second part of your question. That’s the one that really got me thinking. It’s very hard to think of something. There is the French teacher that gave me a passign grade, which I didn’t deserve. My mother who keeps telling me white lies about the price of stuff, because she knows I won’t have it if it was too expensive. And the kid in middle school that stood up for me behind my back. Small stuff for them, which could have lead to an entirely different version of me.

jrpowell's avatar

@peedub :: She didn’t know. She started them on the Teagle and went for lunch. I inspected them on the scope once they were done and found that all the wafers had burned. The poly was burned off and the emulsion was cooked. It was a terribly simple mistake that was made. I had made it on test wafers. But that just fucked up one out of 50. She killed all 50.

I had only worked there for three months. It wasn’t ever going to go on my resume. And she used to drive me home if it was really cold.

peedub's avatar

Wow!!

That is SO the perfect story for This American Life. You or someone you know should write them.

I love that last line: “And she used to drive me home if it was really cold.”

Ame_Evil's avatar

Every time I walk down the road and I don’t kill someone I find really annoying, I like to think of that as a secret good deed.

O's avatar

Once when I was in Crete, there was this girl who was scandinavian, living on the beach. I left all money I could for a friend of hers to give her. I knew her friend, and I figured she would feel better getting from her than a stranger. I still feel bad about her. I should have done more. I know Greece well enough, and a young girl like that is likely to get in trouble living like that.

shego's avatar

When I was in high school, I use to go shopping for a lot of school supplies, for both the students and the teachers at a local elementary school, and I would send all of it in with a school volunteer. I also use to “pay it forward” when there were students at school who couldn’t afford to bring or buy a lunch. The lunch ladies knew it was me, but the students never knew.

christine215's avatar

I’ve bought people coffee at the convenience store without them knowing it, it’s fun to see the look on people’s faces when they find out that someone paid for their coffee.

The “best deed” I ever did, the family never knew who it was that helped them out.

There was a girl that went to my daughter’s school who was getting tortured mercilessly from kids because she was wearing the same two shirts to school, and one of them had a big hole under the arm. My kid came home and told me about this and was in TEARS< she said that the girl had no coat or sweater either, and it was November.

I called and set up a meeting with the guidance counselor and found out that the father up and left. The bank had foreclosed on the house, the mom was previously a stay at home mom was now waiting tables at TGI Fridays. Three girls, no home, hardly any clothes… (all of which, I’m sure that the counselor probably should not have shared with me, but I went in with the intention of “what can I do to help” we’re a relatively small town, not that that justifies her giving me this info, but I guess she knew it was for the ‘greater good’ so to speak)

For me, I couldn’t sit by and do nothing. I rallied friends and family for money, clothes, donations, I called the county to see what help I could get from them (none!)

My sisters and I each bought jeans, shirts, underwear, socks, coats, toys, and a Wal-Mart gift certificate for each girl

My mom pitched in and bought clothes for the mother, as well as another g/c to Wal-mart

The money donations I collected from friends and other family members were substantial.

I handed everything over to the guidance counselor, and told her that we’d like to do this anonymously.
Less than a month later, the mom wrote a letter to the “Angel or Angels” who helped them out… it brought tears to my eyes… they got out of the motel room and moved into a nice mobile home and were getting back on their feet. The new clothes gave the girls a renewed self confidence and their work in school was improving, because the worries of not having a ‘place to live’ were gone.

“There but for the grace of God, go I”

Jack79's avatar

yes, but if I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore, will it? :P

scamp's avatar

@Jack79 Just took the word right out of my mouth!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

yes, do it quite often. No, I won’t tell you, seems counter productive if I did.

Ivan's avatar

Wouldn’t be a secret if I told you about it, would it?

Dr_C's avatar

As often as possible. I don’t think that it counts if you get recognition for it in that some (not all) people will on occasion do a good deed in order for others to see how charitable/socially conscious they are. Kinda bothers me.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Dr_C that’s why I saw the answers here as pretty much self-serving. If you do it secretly, then brag about it on Fluther, it’s not an altruistic good deed, is it?

christine215's avatar

gee a question was asked, and some responded, suddenly the act of responding to the question (telling complete strangers of an act of kindness) turns the good deed into what? less of a good deed? we’re self serving because we shared with people who were not involved? Sorry @evelyns_pet_zebra I normally agree with most of your posts, but saying that just because we shared a good deed experience with others makes the good need no longer ‘good’ doesnt fly with me.

markyy's avatar

@christine215 I agree, unless the deed affected someone here on Fluther there is no need to be all high and mighty. Let me try a little reverse psychology here: I think ya’ll have never done a great deed!

Ps. That still leaves you and the original poster to respond with your stories :P

DarkScribe's avatar

@christine215 (telling complete strangers of an act of kindness) turns the good deed into what? less of a good deed?

Ok, well I gave a drunk $20 a couple of weeks ago – maybe I should try to find him and mug him to get back the $20 if the point of giving it is meaningless.

christine215's avatar

@DarkScribe I think you misunderstood what I was saying… I personally don’t believe that re-telling a story of a good deed diminishes the act itself. The comment was made that “If you do it secretly, then brag about it on Fluther, it’s not an altruistic good deed, is it?”

I disagree with this statement. I know what the intent of my good deed(s) are, you know what your intentions are. If I were to take this personally (ok, which I am a little) I’d be offended that someone else is reducing the impact of what you or I or anyone else here that’s ‘shared’ has done to less than what the intent was

DarkScribe's avatar

@christine215 _ I think you misunderstood what I was saying…_

I think that you might not realise when your leg is being pulled. ;)

christine215's avatar

boy, is my face red!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Maybe I have… SHHHHH!

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