No Good Deed…
Recently, I attended a wedding with a friend who was nice enough to offer me a ride to the festivities. I wasn't sure how late I'd want to stay (I was nine months pregnant at the time), and let him know that if I needed to leave before he did, I could take a train back home. But when the time came, he said he was ready to leave, too, and offered me a ride home, which I gratefully accepted.
But somewhere between New Haven and Brooklyn, he mentioned that he needed to stop off at a housewares store to buy a few things. I was tired and eager to get home, but also aware I was lucky to be getting a ride at all, so I waited patiently (okay, fine, impatiently) while he shopped and made his purchases.
It was only after mentioning this to a girlfriend back home and hearing her outrage that I gave it a second thought. She felt that if you've offered someone a ride home, you're not within your rights to run personal errands along the way.
And that got me thinking about another good deed conundrum: Often, if my husband and I are driving home from a weekend away, and someone asks if they can hitch a ride back with us, I always feel obligated to drop them at their front door, even if it's way out of our way. (This was a rule my mother taught us to follow from the time I was very young.) But others say it's fine to leave a passenger at the nearest subway or train station once they're close enough to their house.
If you're giving someone else a lift, is it still okay to do what's convenient for you?