Good intentions. Disastrous results.

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Back in 2007, I was helping a friend with their computer in their home, which I had done on multiple occasions in return for their friendship and the occasional bowl of noodles. They trusted me and I valued that trust, so much so that I made an effort to not see anything on the computer that was private including messages, photos and passwords.

At the time while testing their printer, I came across a great sporting photo of their spouse. We have a semi-professional printer at home and I thought I'd surprise them by adjusting and printing the photo, so I emailed the photo to myself and deleted the email from the computer to keep it a surprise. Unfortunately, the photo completely slipped my mind and I never got around to printing it out for them.

Today, almost 18 months later having had practically no contact with this friend, I learn that they've been upset with me since that day on the computer. They had heard the 'whoosh' sound of the email going out and questioned me about it immediately. Apparently, I balked for 2 minutes before telling them about the photo and that made them suspect that I had stolen it from the computer ('stolen' would be technically true although in my mind, I was 'borrowing' the photo, to be deleted once it had been printed). When they couldn't find the email, it only confirmed their suspicions. That I never got around to actually printing the photo, well…

On occasion, good intentions can have disastrous consequences. My friend and their spouse believe I stole the photo for personal use, no longer trust me, and are no longer my friends. Ouch! My apologies have been heard but not believed.

Trust is a delicate thing. It takes a long time to build but can be lost in the blink of an eye, or in this case the time it takes to email a photo.


Comments (Comments are closed)

33 Responses to “Good intentions. Disastrous results.”
  1. Nevin says:

    That's very unfortunate! :-(

  2. Rosso aka 閻魔彌勒 says:

    What a pity. Wish they would know understand someday.

  3. mark says:

    this remind me to think twice before doing anything else
    got a Chinese saying "好心做壞事"...
    sometimes, you want to help others but it turns out that you ruin it.

    anyway, thanks for sharing the thought and welcome back from SiChuan :)

  4. BOBO says:

    I think people who know you should not have misunderstood your kind intention. You are such a nice and truthful person. I hope they will understand one day!! Anyway, there is nothing to feel bad about!! Cheers!

  5. 小張 S.Y. says:

    Reminds me of Uncle Tung..

  6. cherrie says:

    so sad to hear that. maybe someday they will understand. i believe that as long as you have the determination to make up for your mistake one day they will be able to feel your sincerity and forgive you. don't give up!

  7. Ladykylie says:

    very unlucky ... I would be extra careful if I have to do something like that ... but if it had to happens just believe there's a reason. may be after a while they would 'forgive' you for doing this. be happy :)

  8. cathryn says:

    Hi Greg,
    I guess I know how you feel because it's my experience too; experiences too, more specific. It's life, but have faith (I do not mean in religion) but have faith in life. Best of luck.


  9. Emma says:

    Trust is not to be tested. Friendship needs more than trust to build.

  10. Jo says:

    Surprises and mystery are always hit and miss. Sad to hear that this one definitely missed =(

  11. JW says:

    Greg, in your subconscious mind, do you actually feel for this "spouse"? You may suppress such thoughts openly but deep inside yourself, you might feel for her so much that you would have took all these elaborate steps to do what you did. Then, when you realize what you did, you need to use various defense to deal with and erase your thoughts.

  12. Nana says:

    I think this is something everyone encounters at some point or another. People hurt each other deliberately and unintentionally... your case was the latter. We all are bound to make mistakes so I hope you won't let this upset you much. I don't know you personally, but from reading your blog I still think you're a wonderful person with a very kind and gentle heart.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're back!

  13. Wendy says:

    Would have forgiven you right away. Don't worry, be happy! Trust cannot be that easily lost among real friends. Agree?

  14. Agnes says:

    im sorry for that. btw, i accidentally found yr site, and i really like your acting. add oil and dont give up yr dream! yr such an impressive actor. :) wish alls well with u.

  15. Stephen says:

    Good day! I understand your feeling. To make my long story short, I know a female platonic friend and we talked about my feelings for a girl. Someway & somehow, she developed into thinking I wanted to date her. Then she proceeded to tell many people and some have thought of me differently. At the same time, this friend told the girl, whom I decided to court, was distorted by this rumour. To this date, this female platonic friend has created a crack in our friendship. However, the girl I wanted to date is now my wife. Thanx for reading.

  16. happylcs56 says:

    Don't be sad, I believe they will forgive you one day. Cheer up

  17. happylcs56 says:

    Don't be sad, I believe they will forgive you one day. Cheer up

  18. Tony Tang says:

    Really sorry to hear that.
    Not easy for them to "forgive"......

    even you guys can become "friend" again... you cannot have the same level of trust anymore.

  19. marissa says:

    ohhh,,it's such a sad incident.
    u were trying to do something good secretly,
    but just turned out to be bad..
    cheer up.

  20. Eddy says:

    It is sad. Friendship takes time to build up.
    Why not just print it out and mail that to them? It was what you intended to do. You could just tell them your intention again and what you think about that after 18 months. Of course, believe it or not, it is their choice. But if you do, at least you tried and completed your promise.
    Sometimes we just need a brave moment to start the conversation again.

  21. ahhmui says:

    Trust is such a delicate matter... as everyone has mentioned - it takes so long to build up but can be so easily lost... but at the same time your story makes me wonder the idea of how much trust they had in you, in the first place. In my own opinion of course (and I obviously don't know the entire situation or relationship history), if my friend came over to help me with computer problems as you did, to a point you wonder how much trust they had in you to begin with if they suspect you "stole" a picture for personal use. Perhaps I am more trusting than I should be but if that happened to me I would think something suspicious yes, but would lean towards the hope that my friend is telling the truth because I trust you as a friend. Not sure if any of that makes sense - but in any case, sorry for this unfortunate incident!

  22. Michael says:

    I am not commenting on the human side of the story.(enough of them)
    The next thing interested me is the technical stuff. You are quite proficient in computer, I bet you know there are other ways of sending a file than email.

    By the way, doing something to "give a friend a surprise" doesn't always work. Many times the friend was not "surprised" as s/he should, especially Chinese, we used to hide our feelings.


  23. Jennifer says:

    I come to your blog every now and then, to be honest...sometimes i don't read through the whole thing cuz they're pretty long.

    but this one is short and sweet.

    first of all, you are a lucky guy, you got so many comments on ur blog.

    your post is so true.

    once bitten twice shy.

    e.g. you can married someone for like 30 years, if your partner cheat on you once, you'll never fully trust him / her again.

    P.S I was gonna add u on facebook, but i don't see "add as a friend" option. hehe...probably cuz you wanna be discrete. which is disappointing to me but understandable and reasonable.

    I actually emailed you before (a long time ago) through the tvb website. I emailed you cuz I saw you in starbucks and I overheard your conversations with the cashier and I thought you were so cute. hehe...I never got a reply from you...but oh well... the way...the conversation you and the cashier had was just "你最後拍緊啤o羊戲?" "拍緊武俠片"

    I think you are such a legend in hk/tvb, I've seen you on tv since I was a kid, my parents and all my friends know who you are too.


    P.S if you send me an email, it'll mean so much to me, but if you don't, it's cool too :-p

  24. Bob says:

    Sorry to hear that..
    Instead of email, should have used a thumbdrive to copy out

  25. S.K. says:

    i am sorry to hear that. i am sure they will understand you with time since you seem to have been friends with them for a long time.

  26. eugene says:

    You will lose these 'friends' sooner or later over this or the next event. They should have the grace to trust and believe someone like you and that is what friendship is about.

    About the pronunciation of the word 'disaster', I was teased by my friend years ago and I checked the dictionary. That confirms my mistake of saying it like 'dis-ars-ter' but that is so hard!

  27. Edward Ng says:


  28. Hugo says:

    Why "a friend" but their computer?

  29. Spirit says:

    It's sad how easy it is for little misunderstandings like this to ruin good relationships. At this point there's no need for us to tell you "You should have done X or Y instead", it's much too late for that. I'm just curious about what kind of 'personal use' they thought you would put the picture too, hehe.

  30. Jason says:

    I just curious how your friends found out you sent a photo to yourself after hearing the mail send sound. Or are they unhappy there was a email sent and didnt even know what was sent? Unless you didnt emtpy the trash?

  31. Stella Chow says:

    great sporting photo as in... not the Edison kind of 'sport' right? LOL

  32. RSL says:

    Was that a sexy photo of the spouse? otherwise why would they be upset about it? and how did you find out about it almost 18 months later?

  33. Elaine says:

    Sorry to hear that. If the couple know you long enough, they should know your personality.

    I like the way you follow your dreams. Very inspiring. And you are cute. I am your supporter.