Just recently, I faced another setback in my life in the name of kindness.
Many months back, a net friend of mine approached me to take photos for her son’s one-year-old birthday party, which would fall on 21st September 2013. During that time, I was only doing voluntary work for charity and friends, and I was not prepared to get any paid shoot. She was a young mother (born in year 1991) after all and I thought I could help. However, I did not want anyone to take things for granted, and thus I told her I would not do it for free but she had to give me a red packet. She even had to ask her husband about engaging me and the green light was given the next day as expected. Then she confirmed with me the location, date and time.
Within that few weeks, I saw photos of her son doing baby photoshoot in her Facebook profile, which she stated cost hundreds of dollars – nearer to a grand figure if I did not remember wrongly. It was really stunning because not many parents whom I knew of had spent that amount of money. The most outrageous thing was that she could afford such photoshoot package and yet tried to get me to shoot for her for free. That was when I regretted promising her for the birthday party shoot but a promise was a promise.
The day before the event, I messaged her in Facebook to check if there was any changes, which photographers would usually do. She took a while to reply me, telling me “Yes. Currently bz. Text you Later..sorry!”
I realised something was wrong and went into her Facebook profile again. I was amazed to see a photo of the printed invitational cards that stated 22nd September 2013 instead of 21st. It was obvious that she had changed the date of the party and she had left me out totally.
Anyone with a brain would have informed the photographer (or any party) if there was a change of date, time or venue. Even if she was not interested in getting my help, she could have told me directly. If I did not check with her, or rather, check it on my own, I would have gone down to 30 Sturdee Road like a fool on the initial date she had told me. The most amazing thing was that when I messaged her, just the evening before the “actual” date, she did not even bother to tell me immediately that the date was changed.
Instead of getting back to me to explain anything or cancel the appointment with me, due to her very busy schedule, she could update her own Facebook photo. To think I had even told my elder brother that I could not attend his company’s barbeque session, which fell on the exact “same” day and time, it was silly. I actually had blocked out the date in my schedule for her party.
It took me lots of patience to message her again hours later at 11 plus in the night. I blasted out the little intelligence I had gathered and she simply said she was overloaded that day that she had not even taken her dinner. It was only when I pointed out that the the invitational cards were ready a week ago and that the date was definitely changed earlier, she admitted it was her fault. I got to realise that it was the actual birthday of her son on that day itself and she had spent money to engage another freelance photographer for a photoshoot during the day, which “explained” why she was so busy at night – I could not understand it though.
I was lucky because I did not get to help her eventually. I was used to do free work for the society and friends, but I would never want to give any free work to people with such attitude.
My mistake is trusting people too easily and being too kind to net “friend”. The fact is even rich people ask for “free” stuffs and thus do not assume people are not well-to-do just because they want free help from you. The reality of life is that if someone is given something free or almost free, she will likely to be unappreciative of it, and probably forget about it. This incident will act like a gun pointing at me, reminding me to be fair to myself and also to collect a deposit upon confirming a photo shoot. I’m also done with free event photo shoot, unless it is for charity organisation.