The gift of a good night's sleep

Rest, But No Romance

One woman’s parting gift of a good night’s sleep

Many Good Samaritans prefer to remain anonymous. In most cases, this is so that their good deeds aren’t tainted by the perception that they’re using their resources for self-aggrandizement. Sometimes, though, it’s to avoid embarrassment — not necessarily on their part, but on the part of the recipient of their good turn.

A single mom in San Francisco whom I’ll call Jane did a good deed a few years back that fell into the latter camp.

After dating a man several years her junior for several weeks, she was invited back to the apartment he shared with a couple of roommates. When she got there, though, all he wanted to do was sit on his couch and watch television. Meanwhile, his roommates and their friends continued to come and go, making for an atmosphere that was something less than romantic.

“I asked him if there wasn’t somewhere a little more private we could go,” Jane recalls. But she got a surprising answer: her date told her he couldn’t take her to his bedroom — because he had no bed. He’d sold it the week before in order to make the rent.

“I’m really tolerant, probably too tolerant, but there are some places I just can’t go.”

While she sympathized with his plight, Jane — a marketing executive in Silicon Valley — eventually told her young friend that she couldn’t see him any more. (After some initial bitterness on his part, the two parted on good terms.) A couple of weeks later, though, the opportunity arose for her to do him a somewhat unique good turn. At a tag sale, she noticed a mattress and bed frame that had no price attached. “If you want to take them, they’re yours,” she was told. So she loaded them onto her station wagon, and drove them to her former friend’s house.

“He wasn’t home, but I asked his roommates to give him the bed,” Jane recalls. And now that he had a bed to lie on, was she interested in dating him again? “No,” she tells Good Turns. “I’m really tolerant, probably too tolerant, but there are some places I just can’t go.” Even so, she got to do him a good turn. And he probably got to sleep better that night.

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