A couple of weeks ago a man came to the door while Husband was at work. He wanted to know when Husband would be home. I told him. He said okay, he would be back, and he left.
I told Husband about the man. He was kind of scruffy looking, not clean, but not filthy. Hejust seemed like he didn’t give much thought or concern to his appearance. Neighbor knew him and told Husband who he was. Sure enough within minutes he shows up at our house, stands by the porch. He wants work. He needs money. He was a helper to a man hired to do a job here last summer. And he no longer works with him. But he needs money. We know the job done for us last summer was done well. We were pleased with the outcome. Later he told Husband “rent’s due”. He was ready to start right now. Husband told him he could start the next day. With all of the projects going this summer we don’t have time to get to our windows. Though the exterior of the house is black and red, there are parts of the windows that are white. The windows are sixty years old and have not been well cared for. We agreed to pay him to paint the windows because we know it will be next summer before we get around to replacing them.
Husband and I talk about this that night. We didn’t really have the money to pay someone for a job that we could do ourselves. But we both recognized that he may have had a need we didn’t. Could we pay him? Yes. Were we completely trusting in his ability? No. Did we trust that he really needed rent money, as opposed to drinking/drug/gambling money? No.
He shows up to paint the next day. He doesn’t need in the house because it’s all exterior. Husband had everything ready for him to paint. Husband and I both had to work this day so we wouldn’t be around.
He arrived at our house every time on a bike. I appreciate that he may not have had the money for gas. Or even have a vehicle. But he alluded to having one in conversation with Husband when Husband returned home that day and he was still working on the windows.
The man wanted paid. Husband pointed out there were still windows to be done. The man said “rent’s due”. Husband ended up paying the man but told him if he didn’t return to finish the job, not to ever return looking for work or help, again. Husband and I talked about this again, that evening. He said if the man didn’t return, it was a lesson learned, at a not too costly price. We both felt good about trying to give this man a chance, we weren’t giving him a handout, we gave him a chance to help himself out.
The next day it was raining so he didn’t show up. But I did get to see the work he had done. It was horrible. Paint all over the windows. Black paint dripping and swooped on the red siding. Two windows were broken, not the glass, but the frames.
I was none too happy.
I told Husband I didn’t want him coming back. But I also didn’t want to say something to anger him, or give him reason to think poorly of us. I was concerned that if became desperate for something, he may target our house.
The next day he did indeed return. He “finished” the job. He “painted” the rest of the windows. In the biggest section of windows in the house, the very front, he took out ALL of the screws, and did not do anything else. Did not paint, did not return the screws to their proper place.
Again I was none too happy.
The more I looked at the windows the angrier I got. It will take me three times as long to repair what he did, than had I done it myself to begin with. There is paint around the frames, on the windows themselves, on every single window. He has paint sloshed all over the red house. I have a pile of screws out of the windows, sitting in a corner of my porch. That, by the way, he hid. Part of me wishes we had just handed him the money to leave us alone (yes, I am aware of the problems that would have created!).
I’m very sympathetic to the needs, problems and issues of others. Husband and I were very aware of the risk we were taking when we agreed to let this man “work” for us. We gave him a chance. And it would not have cost him anything at all to do right by us. His actions, his poor ethics, his problems…. do not deter my from having sympathy for others like him. And still, I even have sympathy for him. Because I don’t know what his problems are. I don’t live inside his head. And one thing I tell myself constantly when dealing with frustrating people: if it’s this difficult for me to deal with them, imagine how difficult it is for them to live inside of their heads.
I won’t stop doing what I can to help someone else.
But I won’t welcome him to my money ever again.