No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

The words for my next tattoo. Each time I have, in the past, joked about it, something comes up that makes me think maybe I’m not being so cynical. No good deed.

I don’t just hand out good deeds – I try to do the right thing. I try to do the thing that I think we need more of in humanity. I am a cynic in many ways – I am a broken hearted idealist who knows how the world should work but has had my heart broken too many times around the fact that what should happen is not how it does happen.

18 months ago when we were asked to foster a kid – a friend of my daughter’s – we said yes. The idea of putting this kid into the system – into a home where he knew no one – well, it killed us – so we did all that was needed to make it so. He was with us for about 3 months – then turned 18 and decided to leave the system and head back to his abusers.

We were all frustrated and sad and worried – and all of the things one would be feeling when seeing someone go back to an abuser.

A month later, we were asked to take his brother. We had gotten to know him – and we liked him. So being in the same place as we were the first time around – we took him into our house and family to prevent him from being tossed into the system.

Six months into his time with us – he OD’d and ended up in the ER. We had always advocated for treatment from the start of his time with us – therapy, anti-anxiety meds, anti-depression meds – we knew he was using pot to numb things, so fought hard to get him the help to treat the source. And this time was no different. We fought alongside his social worker and his therapist to get him into immediate rehab. And it happened. He got into a rehab program. And when he go out – he tried to push us away – but then embraced the fact we were there for him – and he remained sober.

Until something happened and he fell off the wagon spectacularly.

And we all scrambled. We formed what we called “his team”. We had conference calls – email correspondence – and strategy sessions. We called ourselves “his team” because we were so aligned to help this kid. But in the end, it didn’t matter. His social worker, seeing how badly things were going in a nurturing place, found him a new placement. Right before he was to leave – he stole $200 from someone in the house then was found scrounging again to steal things.

We have not heard from him in 7 months.

Until yesterday, when I caught him on my security cameras entering our house with a friend – then literally running out of the house with a camera and jar of change in hand.

My former police officer friend at work suggested the cameras back before he left our house. “Addicts steal from who they know” was his comment – so he told us to protect ourselves. So I did.

Our daughter’s friend who attends college nearby (and lives with us) was at home upstairs. He got into the house downstairs. Rummaged around than ran from the house when she made noise. He and his friend had gone through drawers and found about $700 in cash and another $300+ by taking a camera. (Not my camera – he ironically found it, took it from the bag, then left it next to the bag.)

I found the video about 90 min after he left. I contacted his social worker than police – then turned it all over to Police. His social worker was like “I hope this gets his attention – here is who at my office can give him all of the information.” Yeah, they are done too.

I am trying not to feel like a sucker.
I am trying not to feel too tenderhearted.

But fuck – the “no good deed goes unpunished” mantra that used to be my joke is starting to make me wonder if it is my truth.

I am a sucker.
I am too tenderhearted.
I should be more hardened.

We told police we would press charges. We don’t care about the stuff or the money. At this point, the kid needs fucking mandatory help. Jail may just give him too many contacts. We need him to be between a rock and a hard place which we hope is rehab and jail.

But fuck – no good deed goes unpunished.
Maybe it is my lesson.
But in a world of too many people pulling back and not caring – I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place.

That is not how I want the world.
And it isn’t how I want me.

And I have to look myself in the mirror each day. I am the one I have to live with. At least, on my deathbed, I can look back and say I tried. I will not have the regret of someone who wished they had.

What do you think?

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