Have you ever heard the phrase, "when you are pointing a finger at someone else, four more are pointing back at you"? I'm willing to take that risk with this post.
There's a guy at work, I'm going to call him Lou, that just bought his first house. Lou is rough and gruff, and often socially unacceptable. He'll tell you the truth as he sees it whether you ask for it or not. He works out in the shop, and is the kind of guy that you can't imagine in anything other than a tee shirt and jeans, usually dirty, with the jeans always falling off his ass and him hitching them up. I've never seen him with clean hands, and I've never seen him not in motion. He doesn't make a lot of money, and he works hard for it. His wit and humor are almost as quick as his temper. But his heart is pure gold and the size of Texas (provided you stay on his good side, of course).
He's the kind of guy that will bend over backward to help you anytime you need it, no matter what you need. He might grumble a little bit about it, but he gets it done. I'm not just talking about stuff at work, he doesn't see a line in the sand like that. If you need something personally and he can do it, he will. He won't take anything for his help, either, although he has been known to accept any kind of chocolate as repayment.
When there are leftovers in large quantities at any kind of work function, he's the kind of guy that will ask if he can take them to the battered women and children shelter. He personally donates his own free-from-the-company turkey to the shelter every Thanksgiving, and asks if he can take any of the extras to them, also.
He's the kind of guy that has faced many personal demons and has beat them into submission. He may still be haunted by them, but he uses humor to get past that. I admire and respect him for that.
I'd put him in his early 50's, and he's been saving for years and years to be able to buy his own house. A few years ago, he had a set-back where he used his savings to rescue his only child legally. His kid repayed him by moving up to Maine and never paying him back. Then, 2 years ago, Lou had a heart attack. He went through all of his sick time, vacation time, and short term benefits. Then he went through most of what he had started saving again just to survive and pay the medical bills.
When Lou told me early last month that he had finally found a fixer-upper and made an offer on it, I was so happy for him. All he has wanted for so long was to own his own home. He made jokes like, "did you know when you buy your own house, you have to buy curtains and blinds and stuff, too?". I bit, and said, "Lou, don't you have curtains in the apartment you're in that you can bring with you?". Turned out he has been living in a basement apartment for eight years with only those 2x3 basement windows, he has never needed curtains or blinds before.
Lou decided that he was going to just move in, and let the neighbors take up a collection amongst themselves. "After a couple of weeks of me living there, they are going to pay me to put up blinds!" Like I said, he's pretty funny.
I took up a collection at work to give him a house-warming type of gift card that he could use. I got permission to send out an email to the office (about 20 of us) and the field (about another 40 people) asking for donations for Lou for his new home. I'm not a pushy "in your face" type of donation collector, either. I'm more of a "it's your personal choice if you decide to donate toward a cause" person. Everyone's financial situation's and personal beliefs are their own. No hard feelings.
I guess I knew Lou better than some people did, and maybe my idea of helping him wasn't what other people had in mind. I won't even go into some of the negative comments that were made. Those people have their right to their personal opinions.
I had gotten quite a few responses that people wanted to contribute, but they didn't actually come through with the money right away. So I delayed it by one week, even though Lou had closed on the house the first week of June. I sent out a reminder email, and got a few more stragglers. I waited one more week, and then gave up. Out of all those people, I had only collected $150. I was disappointed, but I had done all that I could. I wasn't going to hound people about it, that's just bad taste.
I anonymously put a card and the cash in Lou's mail box yesterday. The card was a simple congrats on your new home thing, and I put in block lettering, "from your friends at (our company)". I decided to go the cash route because basically every appliance he had been counting on had failed as soon as he moved in. The seller had really taken him for a ride. I chose not to have just the contributors sign the card because I didn't want him to know who did and who didn't contribute.
Since Lou didn't know who to thank, he paged over the loudspeaker system, "Thanks, everyone, for the card!". When you page in our office, each individual phone is also a loudspeaker, and you can see who is sending out the page. Instead of responding to him personally at his phone, at least four people paged the whole office saying, "You're welcome". Which was probably supposed to be funny. Except two of those fuckers hadn't even contributed.
I was livid. LIVID! How dare you say "You are welcome" when you didn't contribute, you fucking scumbag? Some people gave $5, some people gave $10, some people even gave $20. You didn't give one fucking cent and you're going to try to take any fucking credit? Are you kidding me? You are the lowest of the low, the slimiest of the slimy. I wouldn't touch you with a 39 and a half foot pole.
I am too much of a professional to confront them on it, but I will not forget it. Maybe I need to get a life. Getting this upset over something that happened at work is not healthy. What it comes down to is that I still want to believe the best in everyone. I actually think that might be a good sign. I haven't evolved completely into a horrible cynic who only expects the worst, and every time I am confronted by the pond-sucking bottom-dwellers, it pisses me off.
Anger is better than laying down and rolling over, right? Or should I be striving toward not even letting things like this bother me in the first place? Hard telling, not knowing.
12 hours ago