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Marked for life? Is this normal or not?

Ever had such a bad experience or witnessed someone act in such a horrible manner that it seems to have made you skeptical for life?

I once had a friend (and I use the term loosely) - We'll call her Melinda.

Melinda was married to David and had two little girls. DD1 was just a mean, nasty little girl - DD2 had Down Syndrome. David beat Melinda all the time. Broke her knee, broke arms ... the really ugly kind of abuse.
One time Melinda called me when David had beat her up again - I called the police - they went and arrested David. I told Melinda that I would do all I could to help her, BUT she had to keep David away and get some professional help.

I helped Melinda get her and the girls added to an Angel Tree in town (Christmas was coming). Melinda already received FS, TANF and got SSI for DD2 - but since DD2 was born, Melinda refused to work anymore - citing that she couldn't work because she had a child with Down Syndrome.

A month before Christmas, Melinda's car broke down - she actually called on of the local car dealership, got the owner on the phone and tried to badger him into GIVING her a car because she had a Down Syndrome child. She got nothing from them.

Melinda and the girls got adopted off the Angel Tree by one of the richest families in town - on Christmas Eve this lady shows up with LITERALLY an SUV FULL TO THE BRIM of things for her and the girls - including things like a very expensive leather coat for Melinda, a laptop for the girls (complete with learning games etc), a pre-paid visa card with $500 on it... plus probably 3 dozen more assorted gifts.

I'm at Melinda's apartment when the lady showed up - I saw it all with my own eyes. So here's this haul of stuff unlike anything my own family has ever been able to have period.

Within 20/30 minutes of this mass delivery of charity - Melinda calls David on the phone and begins to SCREAM at him about how she knows that he just got paid 2 days ago, and knows he had x amount of overtime, and how her and the girls have no food, and their disabled child isn't going to have any Christmas. She literally screamed at him that if he didn't bring her his WHOLE paycheck in the next hour that he would never see the girls again.

At this point I'm sitting there with my eyes popping out of my head with my chin on the floor ~ I got up, walked out the door without saying a word to her and NEVER spoke to her again.

This all was more than 10 years ago -- to this very day I have a hard time when I see someone asking for something charitable. I just found a question on CM about a mom wanting us to go vote for her to get a free car from some charity - and while I'm sure she is probably sincere, I couldn't do it. (go vote for her I mean)... and every time I run into a situation like this.... Melinda is all I can think about.

Is it normal to be *this incredibly skeptical of people asking for charity? We're not talking about people being on assistance - I mean literally asking for charity - like the mom wanting the votes to get a free car ~ I tend to think, "how can I vote for you when I don't know you and could never be sure that I wasn't voting a *REAL* family in need out of a car?"

Am I abnormal or something? I feel really guilty for not wanting to help her with a vote but I also feel like I could be helping her cheat a charity if I don't KNOW FOR SURE myself that she is really that needy. (This is not about that mom in particular, just the feelings this kind of thing conjures up in me)

Answer Question

Asked by ShelbyShareAlot at 3:40 PM on Apr. 24, 2011 in Relationships

Level 19 (7,281 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • Most people are skeptical of charities, I know I am, this is why I do my own work and handle charity on a one to one basis.

    Answer by older at 3:44 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • not nalil

    Answer by MommaGina84 at 3:46 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • While I can understand your skepticism, I would feel the same, you do have to forget about her. I know this may sound stupid, a simple donation (or vote) can mean the difference between being able to afford food for the family and having them survive on soup for a week. I have been burned by a "friend" but I have to overlook her selfishness. I have had blessings of people helping our family when needed. I always try to remember to pay it forward.


    Answer by krissyvelazquez at 5:05 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • I can relate, not quite on the same scale, but I tend to feel the same way. We have a lot of panhandlers in our city, it seems to have gotten A LOT worse in the last few years. I also know for a fact that, while many are sincere and in impossible positions, some are just freeloading scammers. I can't justify giving to them because I don't know who is legitimately in need, and it's not like we have money to throw around anyway. (I DO however, volunteer on occasion at a shelter, and donate clothing and kid stuff to places I know directly support the needy.)

    Answer by Its.Me.T. at 5:47 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • I am very leary of charity. I know some marines that use to do Toys for Tots and they told me some of the worst stories about people rolling up in expensive cars and still being rude and greedy about the FREE items they were receiving.

    Answer by HollyBoBolly at 7:25 PM on Apr. 24, 2011

  • Oh, on the whole, I am a very charitable person. I used to donate all unwanted items to Good Will or Salvation Army ~ until I spent a night at the Battered Women's Shelter - now all donations go to them. From make-up I tried and don't like, to laundry soap samples, to giant stacks of baby or kids clothes that I may find at a garage sale for a little money all the way to furniture, lamps, home decor, etc. I'm literally the kind of person that will give you half of what I have in my wallet if I know you or see that your need is real. I guess I just have a problem with people asking for cars. LOL LIke some on CM would say "if you can afford a computer and internet - why are you asking me for a car? Sacrifice the internet, sell the computer and save for your own car." (but I guess there is something kinda unsympathetic in that attitude, huh?) IDK I guess the way that CM presented it turned me off -totally not her fault.

    Comment by ShelbyShareAlot (original poster) at 8:54 AM on Apr. 25, 2011

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