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10 Cringeworthy Stories Where No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by Shannon Quinn
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Sometimes, people go out of their way to do good things for their fellow human beings. Usually, this results in good karma, and they are appreciated for their efforts.

However, there are times where good intentions totally backfire, and these do-gooders would have been better off keeping to themselves. Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.

10 Paul Gaylord

Paul Gaylord lives in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. In 2014, his cat Charlie went missing into the wilderness for several days. When Charlie finally returned, Paul found him lying on the back porch. The cat’s face was swollen, and he had trouble breathing. Paul could tell that he was choking, so he opened the cat’s mouth to see that a dead, rotting mouse was lodged in his throat. He went to remove it, and the cat reacted by biting down on his hand, breaking the skin.[1]

Paul saved Charlie’s life, but the victory was only temporary, because the cat was clearly sick. Two days later, Paul began to feel flu-like symptoms at work. His skin turned grey, and the glands under his arms were swollen to the size of lemons. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with bubonic plague. His lungs collapsed, and his heart stopped. He was in a coma for nearly a month. He eventually pulled through, but the good deed of saving his cat caused him to contract one of the deadliest illnesses known to mankind.

9 Steven Arrasmith

Photo credit: Oregon State Police

One fall night in 2016, a car spun on ice and crashed on a bridge on I-84 over the Snake River that connects Idaho and Oregon. Do-gooder Steven Arrasmith was on his way home to see his newborn daughter when he parked his vehicle behind the crash and got out to see if the driver was okay. A third car approached the two vehicles parked on the bridge, and it lost control, too. The Hyundai crashed into Steven’s SUV, which pushed him over the edge of the bridge.[2]

Steven fell 15 meters (50 ft) from the bridge into the freezing river. His leg was broken, but he managed to swim to an island in the river and pull himself out. He began screaming for help, and eventually, he was rescued. During an interview, Steven says that he is grateful that he fell, because otherwise, his body would have been crushed by the cars, and he would be dead.

8 Will Orr

Photo credit: Orr family

Five-year-old Ayden Orr has a rare form of epilepsy, where he stops breathing shortly before having violent seizures. He also has fluid buildup below one of his ribs and will need possibly life-threatening surgery. Ayden’s family is coping with the problem as best as they can, trying to get him a service dog and make his life as comfortable as possible. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked Ayden the one thing he wanted more than anything in the world, he replied that he wanted to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. They granted his wish by giving the family a free trip to Disney World.[3]

Ayden’s father, Will Orr, worked in IT at the Foundations Recovery Network in Brentwood, Tennessee. In May 2017, he had used up his vacation days to take his son to his life-or-death doctor’s appointments. But when Will requested off for his son’s possible last trip to Disney World, they responded that he was “taking advantage” of the company and fired him. This means that his family lost their health insurance, and Will has to go to court to battle his former employer for coverage until he finds a new job.

7 Ethan Thompson

In July 2017, construction workers in Kybong, Queensland, Australia, showed up to work, only to find that a kangaroo had gotten stuck in the mud. The mud was acting like quicksand, sucking the animal down so deep that it couldn’t escape. One of the construction workers, Guy Nixon, pulled out his cell phone to capture the rescue efforts. Ethan Thompson rescued the roo together with his co-workers by using a long broom to pull its body closer to the edge of the shoreline, and then a few of the men pulled its body out of the mud.

While this was a wonderful thing for Ethan to do, the kangaroo sure didn’t seem to appreciate it. As soon as the kangaroo was free from the mud, the traumatized animal punched Ethan in the face. It continued to try to box the rest of the construction crew before it hopped off ungratefully into the bush.[4]

6 Bobby McDonald

Campground owner Bobby McDonald and his family are very active in their small community, and in 2012, at 27 years old, he was running for reelection to the city council of Walton, Kentucky. His wife was exhausted from working her very first 12-hour shift at the hospital. She was also raising their three kids and continuing her education as a nursing student. The day of the election, Bobby’s wife didn’t wake up on time. He figured that he’d do the nice thing and let her sleep in, since he appreciated how supportive she was and how hard she was working.

However, his nice gesture totally backfired. Bobby lost the election by one vote. If he had woken his wife up that morning, he would have won. The vote was an exact tie of 669 votes on each side. The election was ultimately decided by a coin flip. Not only did McDonald’s gesture cost him the election, but it also put him in the dog house with his wife, who was angry at him for letting her sleep in.[5]

5 Charles Artz

Photo credit: WLS-TV

A Chicago police officer named Charles Artz was patrolling one day, when he discovered a 53-year-old woman named Dolores Anderson and her three young granddaughters, aged seven, two, and one, squatting in an abandoned house. Dolores’s own daughter had abandoned the kids, which forced her to quit her jobs in order to raise them and prevent the girls from entering foster care. Standard procedure would have mandated that Charles call social services, who would take the girls away from Dolores and get them into the foster system immediately. However, he felt so sorry for their situation that he went home and immediately started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for them to find a place to live and keep the family together. The page raised over $90,000, and Dolores and her grandchildren were able to get out of the dangerous and unsanitary environment.

Despite the fact that police officers are sworn to “protect and serve” citizens, the Chicago Police Department sure didn’t think so. They immediately began an investigation on Artz, because it is against the rules for officers to solicit the public for donations. Even if the investigation is dropped, he will always have a complaint on his record, which damages his ranking and career.[6]

4 Andrew Pasek

Photo credit: Pasek family

During Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, 26-year-old Andrew Pasek from Bear Creek, Texas, was trying to find his sister’s cat so that it could get something to eat. The water was up to his knees at that point, and he was able to wade through the yards with his friend Sean. Andrew was ahead of his friend and had no idea that a live electrical wire was floating in the water. He got too close, and immediately began getting electrocuted.

As Andrew was being electrocuted, Sean began to come toward him to help pull him away. Andrew’s last words were, “I’m dying. Go away. Don’t help me.”[7] He knew that if Sean grabbed onto him, they would both get electrocuted, and Sean would die, too. Andrew’s mother is advocating for electricity to be turned off during floods and for anyone who is trying to help be careful and protective of themselves before risking their lives to help others.

3 Taylor Radig

A woman named Taylor Radig was an undercover worker for an animal rights group called Compassion Over Killing. She got a job working for the Weld County Cattle Company in Colorado, after her organization heard rumors that they were abusing the livestock. After months of working there, she gathered multiple videos with proof of animal abuse—including newborn male calves being dragged, kicked, and left to lie injured while their bodies were still developing, before they could even walk.

However, her undercover spy work backfired. She witnessed this abuse and filmed videos of evidence on her phone for three whole months before reporting it to the police. Since she did not report the abuse immediately, the police considered her to be complicit in the crimes. Taylor was also charged with animal abuse, even though she was the one who brought attention to the problem. The men who actually did the physical abusing of the animals received the same punishment that she did.[8]

2 James Brady

In 2013, a man named James Brady was living in a homeless shelter in Hackensack, New Jersey. One day, he was taking a walk. As if by some miracle, an envelope filled with $850 of cash was just lying on the street. James could have secretly pocketed the money, but he chose to do the right thing and take it to his local police station, just in case whoever lost it was looking for the envelope. They told him that if no one claimed the money in six months, it was his. During that time, he tried his best to find part-time work and eventually got out of the homeless shelter by splitting rent on an apartment with multiple roommates.

Sure enough, six months later, James got to keep the money that he turned in. However, since he had gotten the police involved, the state learned of his new $850 “income,” and they revoked his free Medicaid health care, because he “made too much money.”[9]

1 Chris Sommers

Photo credit: Twitter

In September 2017, people were protesting in the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, because a police officer had been acquitted for murder of a black man. It was hot outside, so Chris Sommers, a man who owns a pizzeria called Pi Pizza, began to hand out glasses of ice water to the protestors. His shop had always been very pro-police, and he always encouraged officers to visit his restaurant by giving a half-off discount on food. He explained that handing water to the protestors was a gesture of peace and goodwill—not to mention simply humanitarian.

Soon after he was seen outside carrying water to the protesters, officers began shooting pepper pellets and tear gas directly at his restaurant. A publication called Blue Lives Matter basically said that Chris deserves it for helping, and they suggested that police supporters boycott his business. He began receiving threatening phone calls to the restaurant nonstop.[10]

Shannon Quinn ( is a writer and entrepreneur from the Philadelphia area.

fact checked by Jamie Frater