There's an expectation these days that when someone is given help they automatically assume that they should repay that assistance, whether by cash, goods, or by doing a favour in return.
Indeed, a lot of people do expect to be compensated for their help, even if it's just a matter of a couple of beers.
I'm not like that. If I can help someone, I'll do it because it's the right thing to do.
There's a movement known as 'Pay it forward' which is about doing things for others with no reward other than the hope that the person who has been helped goes on to do the same thing for others.
This is all well and good, but sometimes the attitude of those who practice this is that if they do these things, they will be repaid in some way in the future; like collecting on some sort of cosmic debt.
I have a problem with this way of thinking. To my mind the whole concept of 'Pay it forward' should be completely selfless. Sure I have no problem picking and choosing who or when I help, but when I do it's never with any expectation that it will come back to me.
While I firmly believe in karma, I certainly don't see it as a sort of savings account where you put good deeds in so you can draw them out later when you're going through a bad patch or just fancy a bit of good luck.
If I did, I'd be out there helping the needy every weekend in the hope that one day I'll have saved enough credit for Melissa Fumero to suddenly appear at my door feeling horny and wearing nothing but a big smile.
Nice idea, but I don't think it works like that.
I like it when I'm in a position to help someone because it makes me feels useful. I like being able to make a positive difference to someone's day. Not because I enjoy basking in some warm glow of self-righteousness, but because I believe that in these dark days of rampant me-ism it's good to spread a little humanity.
There's far too much greed and self-interest around - so many people who frankly couldn't give a toss about anyone else as long as they're alright, and I find that very sad.
So when I decide to help someone, the only thing I hope for in return is that that person goes on to help someone else in whatever way they're able to, thus passing on the good deed.
Under all the world-weary cynicism I wear on the outside, I still cling tightly to the hope that there are enough decent people around to ensure that all those bastards who devote their lives to being shitty to others don't ever win.