Theft of my laptop taught me a valuable lesson – you are at your most vulnerable when you are helping someone. You are simply never more prone to exploit by dishonest people than when you are helping them. Out of your sincere will to help, you go all out to make the world a better place and when you do it, when you offer your unconditional help, you do it believing that receiving party will appreciate your efforts and will be grateful for what you have done for them. And most people would. When you are stranded and can’t get yourself to a destination with your own devices, you will rely upon unconditional help of a random stranger and if such random stranger does offer their help – they will have taken a big weight off your shoulders. If I were in such position, I would make damn sure the person who helped me along knows that I am endlessly grateful for what they’ve done for me.
Trouble is – when you are helping someone, the last thing you expect is for them to take advantage of you and rob you while you are doing your good deed. Whether gratification is expressed or not, it is experienced. At least you who are the one helping subconsciously believe that because you are providing that other person with something they can’t provide themselves with, that they would be sincerely grateful. You know you would be grateful and you just wouldn’t fathom the possibility of them stealing from you (as happened to me) or worse.
Last thing you anticipate when you are helping someone is that they will take advantage of the situation for their own, selfish enrichment at your expense. Thieves have no class nowadays. They’ll stop at nothing and will intentionally put themselves in the situation of being in need of help and if someone who has the means to help stops and offers it, they will abuse it because they know that the helping one is at their most vulnerable, not even in their wildest dream anticipating it from a person they are helping.
It’s truly sad that this is really happening in the world today. When you would least expect it, when you should be receiving endless gratitudes, some people won’t hesitate to steal from you. This makes further helping much trickier. I’ve seen this happening to volunteers in South East Asia. Same thing – they flew across the big pond to help underprivileged people. Those people, people who were receiving financial support as well as support in form of work and shared know how did not hesitate to steal from those helping while they were around improving their lives. It does get worse though as I have also known a girl who was raped while volunteering by the very people she was helping.
Just as was with me, also this girl would never have prepared herself for the fact that an attack against her could be orchestrated by the very people she was helping. She was not ready for it, because you expect people to be grateful for putting your own life and interests aside to help them along. And they abused it.
You naturally tend to be suspicious with people you don’t know or have nothing to do with. If they are around you, you will be looking after yourself and your stuff eagerly because that’s a natural response to such situation. However when you are in a position of helping someone, natural response is to expect gratitude. You don’t actually anticipate them to start singing praises in your name, but you naturally expect them to feel thankful and will be glad they got help. Because of that you are likely to drop your guards. You believe those you are helping will react to help offered the same way you would – by showing appreciation to the person and their belonging and guarding them with your life. And that’s why you are at your most vulnerable when you are helping someone. It’s a lesson I took for my own too late and paid for it immensely.
There are more dishonest people out there than I would like to admit. They make helping others difficult but for as long as the society around them remains poor, they know that others will be willing to help and that means continuous supply of potentially easy victims who do not yet realize that they are at their most vulnerable when they are helping. The results are devastated lives and loss of faith in humanity. It truly is hard to get over it when someone you were helping takes such savage advantage of you while you are expecting their gratitude. This kind of limits your future options and you’ll think twice before you help someone again. In my case – I know I will not let that stop me; however I will limit this type of unconditional help in less civilized societies. I won’t hesitate giving a lift to hitchhikers in Europe, but will pass right by them in Central America or South East Asia.