In chapter 19 of Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson testifies for himself on the witness stand. First Atticus gives Tom time to speak freely about the events on the night in question. It is during this time that Tom explains how he often helps Mayella with a few chores around her home on his way home from work. He testifies as follows:
"She'd call me in, suh. Seemed like every time I passed by yonder she'd have some little somethin' for me to do--choppin' kinlin', totin' water for her . . ." (191).
Atticus asks Tom if Mayella ever paid him for his services, and he says she offered once, but after that, he refused payment because he is glad to help her out. Tom also says that Mayella's father and the children never help her out, so he felt inclined to help. When Mr. Gilmer cross-examines him, though, Tom admits that he feels sorry for Mayella because "she seemed to try more'n the rest of 'em" (197). Basically, Tom sees Mayella doing her best to take care of her home and younger siblings without much help, and he assists her out of the goodness of his heart. Unfortunately, his kindness is not returned, and he is repaid with lies and false accusations.