Monday, 1 October 2018

No good deed

I'm sure you've all heard the phrase "No good deed goes unpunished". If you haven't, you really need to get out and/or read more. Seriously. Anyway, it is typically said in a sarcastic way after something bad happens after you've done something nice ("I raked my neighbourss leaves and then watched as they were strewn all over the yard by their obnoxious children"). Sometimes, however, the phrase can be taken literally.

Like with Ted (not his real name™).

Ted is an auto mechanic and the nice guy of the neighbourhood. Though he had a large beard and unkempt hair and generally looked like my usual Friday night assault victim, Ted was quiet, kind, and respectful, proving once again that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover (read: I shouldn't be an idiot and prejudge people based on their looks because I'm too often wrong).

Ted is the guy who would fix your blender if it stopped working, clean your gutters when they got clogged with leaves, and change your tyre while you were at work. You know, just because. He is a true Nice Guy, that one-in-a-million fellow that you hope to find next door when you move to a new house.

So when one of his neighbour's needed a new engine for his car, of course Ted volunteered not only to buy him a new engine at his cost, but also to install it for him at no charge. All he asked was for his neighbour to reimburse him the cost of the engine.

Apparently that wasn't good enough.

After the job was finished, Ted presented his neighbour with his now-functional car and asked him to pay him for the engine. Not for labour and not for his time (which would normally be approximately an arm and a leg), just for the engine. The neighbour bafflingly said no.

Ted was confused, as I think anyone in his right mind would be. Still being a Nice Guy, Ted asked again, nicely. The neighbour refused again (somewhat less-than-nicely) and stormed off.

Ted was still confused. Obviously.

The neighbour returned a short while later with several friends in tow. I have no idea what the neighbour could have possibly told them ("This fucking guy actually wants me to PAY for my new engine that he bought and then installed for me for free! What an asshole!"), but I suspect Ted was expecting him to be bringing payment.

Ha. No. The group of men proceeded to beat Ted half to death resulting in:

  • fractured mandible
  • seven fractured ribs
  • two punctured lungs
  • fractured nose
  • forehead laceration
  • knee laceration
  • ear laceration
Ted needed surgery for his mandible and bilateral chest tubes to reinflate his lungs, and he spent nearly two weeks in hospital recovering. But no matter how much pain he was in, regardless of the fact that he couldn't open his mouth after his jaw was wired shut, he always took the time to say "Thank you, Doc" and tell me how a great a job the nurses were doing.

Yes, Ted truly was a Nice Guy.

I saw him in my office a week or so later for follow up. The first thing he did was give me a bear hug (again, despite his broken ribs) to thank me for saving his life, which I didn't really do and tried to explain to him. He was never in a whole lot of danger of dying, though I suppose if I hadn't put in the chest tubes that was possible. Regardless, Ted looked great and was feeling great (relatively speaking), and though I didn't ask, that's when he told me the whole story of how he got hurt.

The neighbour is behind bars. The friends are behind bars. And Ted is back to being Ted, fixing refrigerators and painting fences. And just before leaving (and after giving me another bone-crushing hug), he said he would invite me to his house next time he brews up a batch of beer. And I absolutely believe he will.

And I believe I will take him up on that offer.


  1. Sometimes its good to just read about really nice people. Little less so when they had the ever living shit beaten out of them but still

  2. Hooray, a kind-of-happy end!

  3. If I was the judge sentencing the neighbor, I believe I would have seized the car, as well, plus requiring restitution for ALL of what it cost ted to fix it AND get beat up and put back together.
    and then tell ted to figure out somebody to give the car to.

  4. The violent idiotic perpetrators are behind bars. I call that a very happy ending.

    Ted managed to keep on being a nice guy despite this madness, and I call that the best of all possible worlds. The Teds of this world should inherit the earth.

  5. Though I do wonder (idly, as I'll never know for sure) what the neighbour's side of the story is. What could possibly have gone through his mind? Was it a gigantic misunderstanding (did he think he'd already paid Ted who was asking for more)? Was it malice? Was it some sort of those strange semi-territorial disputes to do with "respect", intimidation and other alpha-male crap? "Baffling" is right, people don't do things without a reason.

    Just wondering. Learning the other side of the story is what helps us prevent the story being reenacted in the future.

    1. None of those reasons justify the treatment Ted received.

    2. Indeed not, but the neighbour clearly thought otherwise. He thought he had to bring a crew of people to beat up the guy who had bought and installed him a new engine.

      This simply doesn't make sense. Unless the neighbour had an actual mental problem, this doesn't happen without a reason. The reason may be stupid, idiotic, all in the neighbour's head, but it has to be there. I'm just wondering what it was.

      You can chalk it up to curiosity, or a naïve desire to better understand how the world works so I can make it better. Or you can call it self-defence - if I'm ever in Ted's shoes, I want to be able to read the warning signs, if there are any!

    3. I have a sneaking suspicion drugs were involved.

    4. Entitlement. Drugs. Entitlement + booze. That's the way these things often get started.


    5. I have seen the sort of things people think are good ideas while under the influence of drugs. the harder the drugs, the less what they think is a good idea actually is.

    6. Or just plain old stupidity. "There are two things in this world that are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity. And im not even so sure about the universe." -Albert Einstein

    7. Albert Einstein? They say I think a lot like him.

  6. Unbelievable. I'm outraged but not surprised by the violence visited on poor Ted, but am puzzled as to how it escalated in the first place.
    There's doubtless a bit more to the story, but regardless, that type of violence was ludicrously unjustified.
    I'm glad Ted is doing well and am VERY glad you were the one to treat him. Enjoy that beer!!


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