Tony Allen: And finally... Do me a favour!

Jun 22 | 2023

‘No good deed goes unpunished’. ​Nobody quite knows the origin of this pithy phrase but it certainly came to mind following an episode that occurred recently.

Tony AllenI might have mentioned before that I play in a band – mainly 60s and 70s songs of course. Dave the bass player had kindly offered to give me a lift to and from a ‘gig’ that we were playing. It was very busy when we finally left. I should add that we have a problem with ‘groupies’ – basically there aren’t any!

Firstly – and with our systems still charged with adrenalin – we had to negotiate a very busy car park, but soon there we were, the three of us, Dave, me and the double bass travelling home along quiet country lanes.

Suddenly, way ahead of us in a lay-by, we noticed a vehicle displaying a set of rather eager flashing warning lights and alongside the vehicle we could just about make out a couple of individuals who gave every impression of scratching their heads in confusion. This all happened within seconds, but I could see that Dave was making up his mind as to whether he should stop or not – we’ve all been in this predicament at night I’m sure.

Anyway, there was enough space left in the lay-by and I’m pleased to say that Dave rapidly came to the conclusion that we should offer our help so he pulled in, where we were energetically greeted by a rather confused and ageing couple. I say ageing, I suppose they were about my age (don’t you dare!).

The first problem was that they had a puncture, the second problem was that they were living in contemporary times where nothing is made to be simple anymore. Even though they had a comprehensive vehicle manual, they simply could not work out how to change to the emergency wheel. As a result they had both reached a point of despair.

Between us, the much younger Dave and I slowly worked out how to change the wheel. Although I couldn’t really claim too much credit. I’m pleased to say that pretty soon, a rather relieved and grateful couple were finally on their way home. And what about us? Well to cut a long story short, Dave’s rather ancient car wouldn’t start; we had to call out the rescue service who speedily arrived and rapidly got the car going.

Finally, Dave dropped me back home. And talking about dropping, the real point of this story is that Dave dropped his double bass whilst unloading it when he got home, thus causing considerable and expensive damage and I can’t bring myself to ask how much. Which gives true meaning to that opening phrase.

Whoever dreamed up this phrase obviously was quite perceptive. How many times have you been in a supermarket queue when you give way to somebody out of sheer politeness when you don’t really have to? They are then the person who has chosen an item without a bar code which results in an assistant being sent off around the shop trying to find a viable item. Why is it that this very same person then uses a credit card that won’t work and takes ages to get the code right on the alternative card? All this whilst you try to look completely unconcerned and try to keep the frustrated scowl off your face.

It’s the same in business when you try to do someone a favour which goes completely wrong. Before I had anything to do with the moving industry, I had a situation where a friend of mine needed to get some boxes to a customer of theirs as a favour by a certain date. The carrier let us down and we were informed on the day that the delivery would not arrive. Gadzooks! Or words to that effect. Twenty miles away, what to do? Friday afternoon, options closing down. I’m not making any money out of this, I’m purely doing a good deed to somebody who is doing somebody a good deed. A twenty mile drive on a busy Friday afternoon was my punishment.

I’m quite sure that you’ve had many similar situations and they are probably carved into your mind. But I think most of us get a warm glow out of carrying out good deeds so don’t ever stop doing them. But try not to be a glutton! 

Photo: Tony Allen.