No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
On July 31, 2004, Colorado teens Taylor Ostergaard and Lindsey Zellitti decided to stay home from a dance and bake cookies for their neighbors. Wishing for their good deeds to remain anonymous, the girls knocked on the doors of nearby houses and ran away, leaving packages with heart-shaped gift tags that read, "Have a great night. From the T and L Club." At 10:30 p.m., the girls visited the home of Wanita Renea Young. Startled by the "shadowy figures" on her doorstep, the 49-year-old woman called the police, who arrived to find nothing to suggest that a crime had been committed. Still, the experience reportedly gave Young an anxiety attack and she was admitted to the hospital the following day.
Ostergaard and Zellitti apologized to Young, and their families even offered to pay her medical bills. But instead of forgiving the well-intentioned teens, the disgruntled woman sued them. A Durango judge awarded Young almost $900 for medical expenses but denied her demand for nearly $3,000 in punitive damages, including lost wages and new motion-sensor lights for her porch. When the ruling made national headlines, Ostergaard and Zellitti received donations from across the United States to help pay their fine.