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Payback Dilemma

William Shakespeare wrote, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

That’s our payback dilemma today.

Friend And Helper

We first met a fellow I will call “Manuel” (not his real name) when we began building our house over two years ago. Manuel worked for the contractor as a laborer.

Manuel was a good worker. He showed up every day, did his fair share, and didn’t cause any problems.

Because he lived nearby and could come on the crew’s day off on Sunday, he sometimes asked us for extra work. My wife tapped him for several odd jobs. 

After our house was finished, he became our go-to guy for odd jobs. We paid him the same rate as the contractor had. We also fed him lunch and gave him water whenever he wanted it.

For two years he did things like dig holes, work on our pigsty, and lay sidewalks for us. He was around quite a bit and we considered him a friend as well as a helper.

Something Happens

The last sow we had from our piggery attempt is being bred for us by a neighbor. We get a couple of her piglets whenever she has a litter. The neighbor gets piglets for taking care of her for us. A couple of months ago we had Manuel over to make us a little pig pen for two of her piglets.

After he was finished and we paid him, he asked my wife if he could borrow an additional ₱ 1,000.

We didn’t hear from him for weeks.

He finally showed up one day and told my wife that he didn’t answer her texts because he was embarrassed that he didn’t have the money to pay us back the 1,000. She told him not to worry about giving us cash. She said that he could work off his debt at the rate we usually paid him.

After that, he disappeared completely.

Payback Dilemma

I don’t understand this at all.

Manuel is someone we’ve known for more than two years.

We’ve never treated him badly or unfairly. We even gave him jobs to do when he showed up saying he needed money and asking if we had work for him. 

How could he do this? Manuel has not only thrown away our past relationship, he has thrown away any chance to have a relationship with us in the future. All over a ₱ 1,000 debt that we gave him the option of working off honorably rather than repaying in cash.

It’s a very sad situation.

2 Responses to Payback Dilemma

  1. Queenie October 30, 2017 at 5:13 PM #

    We’ve had similar problems from time to time in the past. From my experience, working to pay off a borrowed debt is not a desirable thing to do for some.. Occasionally a worker would rather burn his bridges, than go back and make a debt right. He just doesn’t see the merit of it. The immediate gratification of a payday is just not there.

    It can be a tough call with workers at times. When we were building our houses, if a worker wanted an advance of a portion of his workweek pay, we would usually do that as a favor, and it was not a problem come the end of the week to have that deduction factored in .Some workers when being canvassed for a price for an individual job, would give a quote for the work ,then immediately ask for a 1000P (pre) advance on the job. Sorry no can do.

  2. JD October 30, 2017 at 6:09 PM #

    You’re right. I can see where someone might have the attitude that working off the debt isn’t important. I suppose also that when your future is uncertain, what you have right now is more important to you than a hundred maybes tomorrow.