While wife and I were visiting my uncle and his family for a few days, everyone went out to a nice restaurant. We were feeling pretty generous — and we wanted to thank my uncle for his hospitality — so I sneakily left the table to pick up the check.
At the end of the meal, my uncle asked for the check. She said, “He already paid it,” as she pointed at me.
When I saw the look on his face, I immediately realized paying the check was a mistake.
Generosity can be an incredibly powerful gesture when used properly. When used improperly, though, it creates tremendously frustrating, embarrassing, and even sad situations.
Even though I meant well and wanted to do something nice, I had essentially disrespected the man of the house.
What I meant to be a gift really just robbed my uncle of the joy of giving his extended family a nice dinner.
Before we said our goodbyes and continued our trip, he pulled me aside and handed me the appropriate amount of money to reimburse me for the check at dinner. Without a moment’s hesitation I took the money and graciously thanked him for his hospitality. We hugged and instantly felt better about the whole thing.
Generosity applied at the wrong time and place is counter-productive.
Have you ever intercepted the giver like I did? Or, have you had someone steal your joy of giving? Share what you learned.