Trevor Dineen: When a good deed goes bad

Have you ever tried to do a good deed?

Trying to hand out coffee to strangers not exactly a cup of tea

Doing a good deed isn't as easy as it seems. CBC's Trevor Dineen found that out the hard way on Tuesday when he tried to hand out free Tim Horton's coffee and tea to Winnipeggers.

Have you ever tried to do a good deed?

If your answer is no, first off, wow. What is wrong with you? Hang your head in shame.

But if your answer is yes, let me ask you this: Have you ever tried to do a good deed and everything about it goes horribly wrong?

We're talking Rob Ford trying to talk his way out of a scandal wrong.

If you have, welcome to my Tuesday morning.

It started simple enough. My producers came up with an idea to hand out coffee and delightful hand warmers to Winnipeggers who have been out braving this cold or as historians will later call it: "The End Times Temperature Freeze." 

It seemed like a fool proof plan that followed all the major mathematical rules (arctic temperatures plus hot beverages minus spending money equals happy Winnipeggers), so I jumped at the chance to help out.

At 7:30 a.m., I went to Tim Horton's (it's a coffee shop) and ordered eight different hot and tasty beverages (three hot chocolates, three black coffees and two apple cinnamon teas). They were put in two separate cup holders that held four drinks each and stacked one on top of the other.

It wasn't until I got back to the T-Machine (that's what people call my traffic jeep right?) that I realized I had a bit of a problem.

Have you ever tried to drive while holding eight steaming hot beverages?

Me neither. (I've driven with seven Slurpees but really, who hasn't.)

So I got into my T-Mobile Device and placed the hot drinks of hope on my lap, because really, should hot beverages go anywhere else?

Now, I would like to think that if our roads hadn't been turned into one giant icy mogul run in the last week, I would have been fine. But this isn't a story about being fine.

Cut to two minutes later as I pulled onto Osborne Street and one of the cups of coffee goes bouncing out of its holder and spills down my leg and my hand as I try to catch it.

Yes, it burned. But that's not all.

A second cup, we'll call it the scalding hot tea cup, wiggles loose and spills down my other leg.

To say we we're off to a bad start would be an understatement, but like a true Winnipegger, I forged ahead to the bus depot.

Now, you'd think that giving away hot tasty beverages on a cold day would be as easy as the Bombers giving away touchdowns during a regular season game, but it turns out it's not.

You see, we've been taught our whole lives not to take things from strangers, much less bearded men who roam into a bus depot with stains on their pants and no actual radio logo on their person.  

I literally couldn't give a cup of coffee away.  

Now, remember, I'm supposed to be getting an interview as well, so in one hand, I have those eight Timmy cups balancing ever so delicately, and in my other hand, I'm losing all feeling because I'm holding my metal microphone and my iPhone that can't be operated with mitts on.

So, my hand, which is involuntarily turning into a frost bitten claw, is starting to turn a painful blueish hue and apparently, the look of pain on my face isn't helping my coffee giveaway technique as someone curiously asks me if I'm doing okay.

I'm staring at people who have eyelids almost frozen shut, teeth chattering, bundled up in jackets, mitts and scarves and yet no one will take a warm cup of joe from me.

Then came the kicker.

After finally giving away two cups of coffee, a person walks up to me, grabs a cup of coffee and said, "Do you have any cream and sugar?"

I responded with no, while wondering if I can still do my job post 'frostbite finger loss,' and he said, "Really? Who gives away coffee without cream or sugar?"

I do, good sir.

The man with burns on his lap, stains on his pants, soon to be frostbite on his hands and not a single live interview to be found, that's who.

So try to remember everyone, all good plans have room for error, not all good deeds go as smoothly as possible and not all coffee drinkers like their beverages black.

These are the lessons we should teach our children.

Along with the always important: don't take coffee from strangers.

About the Author

Trevor Dineen

Traffic reporter

When he’s not guiding drivers through stalls and collisions, Trevor can be found sporting a pair of earbuds as a self-professed music fanatic who loves writing, jogging and making those around him laugh. Trevor grew up in St. James where his love of writing earned him an English degree from the University of Manitoba. Later, he graduated from Red River College's Creative Communications program.


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