When Good Deeds Go Unnoticed

It is one of the most frustrating things in the world not to be recognised for the good deeds you do. The real world differs vastly from school: At school you are given awards, certificates, medals, trophies, ribbons, anything and everything to recognise the deeds you do from completing extra homework tasks to dancing in the school play. But I am not talking about tasks you complete because you have to, or because you want to earn esteem or popularity. I am talking about the deeds you do to benefit humankind. When these deeds go unnoticed, it can leave you feeling mistreated and under appreciated.



I have found items of value that have not belonged to me many times on upper campus. In each and every case I made the effort of finding the people who they belonged to. When I found a student card, I emailed the person's student number to inform them I found it and would keep it safe until I could return it to them. Another time I found a wallet and managed to contact the person on Facebook just by finding their surname on a slip from the post office. Both times I went out of my way to make sure I protected their personal property and returned it to them safely. I also chose to contact the people personally rather than handing it over to campus security because I wanted them to know that there were students on campus who could be trusted, and hoped that they would be inspired to pay it forward.

In both cases I was met less than enthusiastically by the people whose things I had found. The person with the student card arranged to meet me on upper campus during meridian. When they saw me they asked if I had it, took it from me, and left. I had never felt so mistreated and overlooked. I had not expected a bouquet of roses or an invitation to dinner, but I thought at least a "thank you" would have been polite. I know how important it is to keep your student card safe, and how much of a hassle it is to replace it when it has been misplaced or stolen. So I thought that by keeping it safe for them, and by contacting them personally, that they would express a sense of relief and gratitude that they had been saved the laborious process of replacing their student card. But they just took the card from me and left without a word. Let's just say it was a lot less "thank you" and a lot more "next".



You should not do such good deeds for the physical or tangible rewards that schooling gave us, but rather for that fantastically warm feeling you get knowing that you have helped someone in need. It is a feeling I have not found possible to replicate in any other situation, and when I see it in someone else it reminds me that there is still so much more good left in the world. At a place such as university, where your belongings can be misplaced, stolen, or lost everyday in any situation, being contacted by someone to say they found your belongings and will return them to you safely can be seen as a godsend.

And yet I still felt that sense of dissatisfaction because the kindness had not been returned...

In the second case with the person whose wallet I found, I contacted them via Facebook and email as soon as I found their full name. They then proceeded to contact me on a Friday evening asking if I would come to upper campus to give them their wallet back. I found this to be very abrasive of them as I was relaxing after a long day of errands, was in my pajamas, and was not planning on leaving home that evening. They did, however, sound urgent to have their wallet back, so I agreed to meet them on upper campus. When I saw them they checked their wallet, rifled through to see that everything was in it, and then left. By that point I was nauseated by the lack of compassion they showed me. A wallet is something that could have easily been stolen, so when I found it I knew that whoever lost it must have been in full-on panic mode thinking they would never see it again. I know I would be. I did not remove their cards, touch their money, or let it go out of my sight. I kept it with me at all times until I had to return it to make sure that they would get it back safely. And they seemed to overlook those efforts completely without a hint of thanks...



I once saw a quote that said "Always do the right thing, even if no one will ever know. Because you will know." And while that inspires me intensely and is how I live my life, in these cases the people in question knew I did the right thing and did not show any thanks. Be that as frustrating as it is, I have to find a sense of calmness and inner peace in knowing that I did the right thing and that I helped people in need. That in itself has to be enough for me. Even though they did not extend any gratitude or basic manners, I hope that they will pay it forward one day. For it is good deeds such as these that make upper campus, and the world, a safer and more wholesome place. Not only do we need more people performing good deeds without expecting any reward, but we also need more people who pay forward such deeds to the world.