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My instinct says to get pi$$ed at him - but this dang, cursed conscience says to be grateful....dammit

I have borrowed things and had them break on me. The honorable thing to do is to return the borrowed item in the same condition as it was when you got it. I hesitate to borrow anything anyway. If I have to pay to fix it, it might as well be mine when I am done.
On the rare occasion I need something I don't have, I rent it outright from somewhere commercial.
I don't want such a thing as using other folks' stuff to potentially cause an issue with them and
sometimes friends will get downright offended when their generous offer to loan me something
is rejected.
Sorry, I just don't do that...better if the rental joints' machine lays down on me. MUCH better.
Quick Ed Story Time!
Deadbeat neighbor is finally getting tossed out of my dads' former farmhouse next door, along with his family.
He's managed to kill off three riding mowers in succession, trying to mow what I used to for Pop using a tractor.
Regardless of his lack of motivation to provide for he and his in this life, he's always been kind to everyone and
the best kind of neighbor - quiet, no trouble, even keeps an eye out when I'm gone.
He's a good dude, his kids both grew up polite and productive....yada yada, you get the deal here.

So...a couple days ago, he asks to borrow my tractor with the finish mower on the back - part of what he has
to do to get clear of the lease is to get the veritable hayfield chopped back down to acceptable levels.
Keep in mind, I have NEVER loaned out anything of real value to anyone before - it's all come too hard to do
that - so the natural reaction was "nope"...
but then a little voice in the back of my head said "go ahead, it'll be fine and you're right up the ridge."
Dammit...warning bell #1 went off in my noggin.

I tell him I got to fetch some diesel for it first, but he holds up his pudgy paw and says "no worries, I got a bunch
of diesel. I'll fill it up, free of charge."
That should have been warning bell #2....'cause it was.

He commences to mowing and I head back up the ridge, praying all would be well and I'd get some sort of
atta boy award from the heavens over this.
Well, that didn't last long...I hear my tractor stop, but it isn't a "turn the key" sort of off.
No, this sounded a lot more - odd.
Warning bell #3 ringing in my head, I damn near race back down the ridge in the Ram....
And discover my tractor just sitting there, doing nothing but otherwise unscathed.
Neighbor has a flummoxed expression on his face, like the RCA Victor dog on those old record labels.
"What happened?"
"Stopped running."
"Uhhh, any idea why?"
"Nope. I filled it up and started mowing, then it just laid down."

I pick up the empty gas can he pointed to when he said that and instinctively gave a sniff of the contents...
WARNING BELL #4!! Oh hell, I'm gonna KILL me a neighbor!
That ain't diesel I'm smelling - that's stagnant old GASOLINE!
I chuck down the can, cursing like a tourettes sufferer under my breath, trying to maintain calm...
"Uhhh, neighbor? That ain't diesel!"
"Well, SURE it is... I think? I was told it was, anyways!"
He now realizes how close to death he is and instinctively steps back, stammering apologies and such nonsense...
and I expect the worst has happened to my beloved 20+ year old tractor.

So, now you know where the title of this post comes from...haven't spoken/seen the dude since, either.

I managed to get away from him and dragged the tractor back up to my place (ever-faithful Ram to the rescue yet
I figured, what the heck, before giving up on the old girl I'd flush the tank and lines and get some fresh diesel in
her, then observe what happened....and don't you know, that rascal came back to life and apparently runs fine now!
I figured he'd blown the damn thing up for sure....tough little diesels those Iseki folks make, I tell ya.

Younger me would have been ragin' angry all up in the neighbors' grille over such a stupid, irresponsible thing.
Me now? I'm literally ate up with empathy for the poor ignorant fella - and even a tiny bit of gratitude for not only
what he's been as a neigbor, but even for the offer to fuel the tractor, misguided though that turned out to be.

So - am I just getting soft?
Getting soft…no! You did the right thing!

So several years ago we were cutting firewood for hunting camp. I had my trusty Husqvarna 55 rancher going. We would cut a tankful, fill it, use my buddies saw and just keep going back and forth. Well the rancher finished its run, I handed to another guy who was helping. The only gas can we had in the area was mixed for the saws. He went and got the other non mix can and put it in the saw! It toasted the piston. I could have killed him! I didn’t see what he did as we kept cutting. I asked what the hell he did and he said I just gassed it up. Then I saw the can! He paid for the rebuild and a bottle of crown! He knew better too! He hasn’t touched the saw since. I learned again right there the ole valuable lesson..if you want it done right, do it yourself..
My father-in-law always says "Never let anyone borrow your wife or your chainsaw. They'll both come back fxxked"
I had a friend call me over to check a leak on his I/O boat. Sure enough, when he lowered the outdrive, some water leaked out from the prop shaft on to the pavement. I told him the shaft seal had gone bad and not to use the boat until we could fix it. As we were discussing it, his friend, who I also knew, drove up to borrow the boat. I explained the problem and he said that I was saying that just so he would not be able to borrow it. I told him it wasn't my boat and I was just saying I would not use the boat as it is. My friend ended up loaning the boat to this guy. Several hours later, I get a phone call from my friend asking me to come over and see what was wrong with the boat. It had to be towed in to the dock and loaded on the trailer. I go over and have him lower the outdrive to the pavement. I figure over a gallon, maybe two gallons, of water drains out of the outdrive, The seal was gone. I remove the upper cover plate and look down at the upper gears and not a single gear tooth was left on the shafts. I drain the lower unit and water and silver metal sludge flows out. The cost locally to replace the outdrive with a new unit was $5500. My friend was upset and sold me the 19 ft. boat and trailer for $650. We removed and I had the outdrive rebuilt and my wife and I reinstalled it for $2500. It still runs to this day. The guy who borrowed it wouldn't help pay for the damage at all. Two weeks later, he asked to borrow my wife's direct drive ski boat. I told him a non-refundable $1500 cash-only deposit was required. He said no thanks and left. Believe it or not, this guy and I are now friends but I don't loan out my stuff. I go and do the job for others myself to avoid any problems and I don't charge them so there's no hard feelings.
Terry W.
I firmly believe in "you break it, you bought it". It's amazing how when a person who doesn't own what they are using don't care if something bad happens. Years ago my FIL had guys working for him that constantly left keys in equipment, left said equipment parked for easy theft, tore stuff up etc. However, their own personal vehicles were locked up and alarms set plus perfectly maintained/cared for.
I had a neighbor back in the mid 80's who I let use some of my tools/equipment. We had the keys to each others garage to cross borrow. We had an agreement that the tools would not get lent to others without knowledge/permission of the item owner. Was fine for a bit till he lent my stuff out without me knowing. Then he left my floor jack out where it walked off. He replaced it but that was the last straw. Changed the lock on my garage after laying into him about his generosity to others and that I had had enough.
I make it a point not to borrow but I do trade equipment use with some friends as we all have tools the other does not have. I keep this very limited to minimize issues.
I do not let my equipment leave with out me operating it. Two exceptions brother and my brother from another mother.
Since I have equipment. I always get “Hey can I borrow your loader, bush hog or your big chainsaw I can’t afford to rent one”. My response is if you can’t afford to rent one then you can’t afford to replace one plus if you break it also means I can’t go to work. That being said I tell them I can do the job instead. Which either results in me doing it or them not even worrying about it cause it wasn’t free…
Younger me would have been ragin' angry all up in the neighbors' grille over such a stupid, irresponsible thing.
Me now? I'm literally ate up with empathy for the poor ignorant fella - and even a tiny bit of gratitude for not only
what he's been as a neigbor, but even for the offer to fuel the tractor, misguided though that turned out to be.

So - am I just getting soft?

No. You are getting wiser in dealing with people.

Apparently though, you still need to work on the wisdom of lending stuff out.... which I bet you have now made some progress on.

Thank you for being a good neighbor!
No. You are getting wiser in dealing with people.

Apparently though, you still need to work on the wisdom of lending stuff out.... which I bet you have now made some progress on.

Thank you for being a good neighbor!
Well, in my defense...
1. Again, I felt a certain obligation to the guy for past favors he's done me. That over-rode the abundance of caution
usually extant re: my letting anyone borrow anything.
2. If the guy just didn't care or - God forbid, there was actual malice - that would be one thing.
Instead, he actually was trying to give me a bunch of what he thought was "free diesel" in return, as a form of
payment for the loan of the tractor.
A matter of intent, I suppose.

The combination of his not wanting to try to start/run the tractor after it nosed over, coupled with my lightning-quick
trip down the ridge, no doubt saved that engine.
In the end, debts were "squared", he's relieved, I'm relieved, tractor is relieved - hell, the dog is even relieved.
It could have turned out much, much worse for humans and machines...
My Dad was always hammering into us kids several basic tenets of life, which include - Never loan the following to anyone: Money, vehicles, tools, or your time.

Money. The plus side is if you loan a friend even $20 and they never pay it back, chances are you'll never run into them again, he doesn't have to worry about being punched in the mouth over it, and he's not gonna ask you for money again!

Vehicles. I loaned my car hauler out to my niece a couple of times without worry, and I borrowed her truck once to pick up a van, so that worked out OK. Other than that, I don't loan a car or a truck to anyone. I'll give them a ride, instead.

Tools. Hell, to the NO!!! I have tools I'd inherited from my grandpa nearly 35 years ago. Miraculously, they survived the 2003 tornado, and frankly, I'd be devastated if they "wondered off". My sons don't even borrow them, unless they remain in the shop while in use. Some of my tools date back to the late 1940s and are of a quality that is not matched at all in 2023. I can name every tool in my shop; so if my shop burned up or gets tornado-fied again, I'm in. I have pics of everything, too, as back-up.

Time. I do my damnedest not to waste other people's time, or my own. Time is a valuable commodity for all. Use wisely.
Lending things ca be okay. I have a friend that lives in Abbotsford BC. Wanted to fly out here and travel around Saskatchewan last summer. Car rentals were asinine, so I told him use our 4Runner. Which he did.
Another friend said why did you let him use it, I said I trust him. He put about 800 miles on it, washed when he got back. When we were sailing with him in the Salt Spring Island area, he let us use his trooper for a few days to visit other friends on Vancouver Island.
I think it mainly depends on knowing the people. Have another friend, great guy, but when he wants to help you really need to keep an eye out. Never should let him use anything that is powered.
I've been on the other side of this though, and don't like borrowing tools or equipment as a result.
This is so very true.

Have you ever noticed that when you do borrow something from someone else, that it is usually quite well worn, almost at breaking point and never brand new in mint condition?
I have many times. And usually, the next person to use that item will have some sort of failure with it....usually me (or you) as the borrower.

I am also of a similar mindset @66 Sat ....I prefer to go out and buy my own stuff....probably why I have such a vast array of tools now - more than the average Electrician. :lol: I even bought a new Makita 12 " compound mitre saw and bench to do my home renovations. It is to replace the cheaper version which doesn't know a right angle from its elbow. :rolleyes: My brother offered to loan me his, but it was rusty and jamming, and missing parts.......
I stopped loaning stuff out to all but a select few. Borrowers tend to not return things, or return them either broken or damaged.
My dad always told me if you HAVE to borrow something give it back in better condition then when you got it, whenever possible.
Anvil breakers...
Finding people that respect someone else's property is getting to be a rare thing anymore.
I think you did right by your neighbor, sounds like he made an honest mistake. What happened wasn't born out of neglect or malice or indifference.
Finding people that respect someone else's property is getting to be a rare thing anymore.
Agreed - the sense of entitlement and sometimes even downright spite that so many display for others
and their posessions these days is at the root of most of what ails our society anymore.
Apparently it isn't taught nowadays (by both parents and education systems) like it was when I was a young one...
I owned a pick up truck in the early 80s when I did my first tour as an owner operator. Haven't owned one since because of the borrowing issue. Anything I've needed to haul, I've rented a suitable vehicle, or taken a buddy to dinner to get it done. Working in the trucking business made me sensitive to how too many folks beat up equipment they don't own. And, in my experience as well, it seems to get worse with younger generations compared to the old guys I worked with when I started my career.