While growing up, we were taught to help others who were in need. That’s the kind thing to do. What I didn’t learn back then, was that you have to be careful because people may take advantage of you.
A few years ago, a sweet lady moved here from out of state. She had a medical problem which needed to be addressed by a doctor. Since she was unable to drive, she asked me if I could take her to her first appointment. No problem at all. Off we went. A week later she made another appointment and once again I picked her up and took her. Again, no problem.
Then, her appointments started to become a regular occurrence. Every week (sometimes multiple times a week) we were heading to the doctor. Not just for one problem, but for several. Her stomach, back, hips, legs; you name it, she had a problem with. I soon began doubting that she had any physical ailments at all.
To make matters worse, her “this will only take an hour” doctor appointments soon became half day outings. Her appointment was only the beginning. We would leave the doctor’s office and immediately she would request that I drive her to the store, to a fast food restaurant, to the bank, to the mall, everywhere but her home.
This would have been okay if I didn’t have work of my own to do, but I did. My work began piling up and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get caught up. Never mind the fact, that I strongly believed that there was nothing wrong with her to begin with.
After a few weeks of doctor runs, she began asking me to come into the patient room with her. The third time she had me do this, my doubts were confirmed. The doctor told her in a polite way, that nothing was wrong with her. I was relieved that finally all of our running around was going to come to an end.
I was wrong. As soon as we got into the car, she began to review with me what the doctor said, which ending up being the complete opposite of what I had just heard him say myself. As I drove down the road listening to her, I couldn’t speak a single word in response. I was fuming and in disbelief that she had twisted his words in such a manner.
Her appointments didn’t stop. The following week she was calling me again. I took her, but that was the last time. She had taken advantage of me for months and all along there was nothing wrong with her. It hurt me to put my foot down, but I knew that if I didn’t, that soon I would say something I would regret.
After weeks of calling me and weeks of politely saying “no” to her, she finally stopped. She was a nice lady. We could have been good friends, but instead she inadvertently chased me away. It’s one thing to ask for help when you need it. But, it’s an entirely different thing to ask for help when you don’t, and then to take advantage of the person who is helping you.
Sometimes we have to let people go. We have to let them learn on their own. One thing is for certain, we can’t hold their hand forever.