Entitlement: Why The World Can’t Have Nice Things

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 5, 2019

I retired at age sixty, not rich, but comfortable. I lived alone in my house, as my wife had passed and my kids moved out long before. But instead of downsizing, as everyone tried to convince me to do, I decided to take a different path. I converted my basement into a small bachelor-style apartment. Very small. It had just a kitchenette, bathroom with shower, laundry room, and one living space. I got the basics that someone would need: microwave, towels, plates and bowls, and a few food items.

I then started visiting some local charities, a soup kitchen, and a homeless shelter. I volunteered a few times, but spent time getting to know a few people that were in need. After talking to one particular man, I decided to put my retirement scheme into action, and offer for him to stay in my basement apartment to get him back on his feet. He was obviously thrilled and grateful, and we wrote up a rental agreement: three months for free followed by three months at a very small price — about the cost of a single night in a decent hotel — if he hadn’t found something better by then. The only real limits I put in were that he was to be the only tenant, and I would enter to use the laundry once a week at an agreed time.

It started fantastically. My new tenant and I were becoming friends, and he was getting his life sorted out. He got a job within walking distance. He began to look healthier and happier. After three months, he said he would rather stay, which was fine by me, and he paid the agreed rent for month number four. Then, it started to fall apart.

He stopped talking to me when we crossed paths. He began to complain when I used the laundry, even though I never did it unannounced. When rent for month five came around, he complained that it should still be free and paid only part of the agreed price. As month six arrived, I found out he had no intention of leaving or paying. I’m not sure what changed, or why. I’m convinced there was no alcohol or drug use. But he became angry with me, saying that I should have done more if I really wanted to help him.

After seven months, and being paid rent for only one and a half of them, I had to evict him. It required the presence of police and the changing of locks, and afterward, he came by the house at random times for weeks. It was an indescribable nightmare.

I had originally intended to do the same thing for a different needy person every year, having the tenant during the cold Canadian months. But this was four years ago, and I haven’t had a tenant since.

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