UBER is teaching my son about the abuse of generosity

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One afternoon, late in the day, Brad walked into the living room, stood in front of the TV, yanked his phone out of his pants pocket, and as he was stating “I’m gonna head out to LA with my friends…” he looked at the face of the phone and finished with, “Never mind. I guess they left without me.” He went on to tell me that the plan was that a few of the guys were going into Los Angeles for about an hour simply to sell a much-wanted backpack to an interested party somewhere on Melrose.

He finished his story saying he was going to meet up with another friend at the park to ball-up while they waited for the other guys to return from their quick trip.

A few hours later I sent Brad a text asking “Sup?” in which he returned my response with a call back. He was upset. Not five minutes before my text, the friends who had driven in to LA, or rather were driven by a friend of a friend of a friend, contacted Brad pleading with him to pay for an UBER to take them back home. Apparently, their original driver had other things to do and didn’t mention she wasn’t planning on returning to town that evening.

Brad is a very generous kid in that he loves when he can pay for things, especially when he knows his friends carry empty wallets. He’ll buy them food, clothes, tickets to concerts, etc. because he is given a regular allowance. And I have no problem with his kindness as long as it fits into his budget. Plus, as his mom I seriously love that he thinks about others and sharing the wealth.

But, that evening when his friends needed a ride home from Los Angeles because apparently they hadn’t planned how they’d return, Brad was the first person they thought of, which sort of questioned the value of his friendship with them (because, remember they left without him, for no reason). To add to that his anger was exasperated when he told them he didn’t have enough cash in his bank account and one of the guys said, “Ah, man, don’t worry, the amount of the ride will go through. It’ll just leave your balance as a negative.” These dudes managed to make him feel bad so he gave in, and it was right at that moment he had returned my text with a call, which in turn pissed me off, not at Brad, but at his friends motives. I kept the thoughts to myself, wanting Brad to work through it on his own. To figure out how to handle his feelings, and the situation that has made him wonder what a good friend really is.

And to top it off, when they did return from LA later that night, the boys never told Brad what happened on Melrose, if they did indeed sell the backpack, if so, for how much, and worse “Thank you,” was never said, which irked Brad to no end. He ended up returning home that night because he couldn’t deal with these people. Sadly, he began to wonder if they really were his friends or if he was simply a cash cow.

As much as he loves giving, Brad’s realized that he  needs to be careful with the way he shares his generosity. The next day, the day after the UBER incident, as he was sitting in someone’s living room with the guys, feeling cooled-off, in control, someone said they needed an UBER. Brad kept his mouth shut, didn’t offer… anything, didn’t say a word until one of his friends asked if he would pay for the UBER. He matter-of-factly stated “No.” And that was that. Lesson learned.

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