When Bosses Go Too Far and the Voodoo Doll Ain’t Working….

When my close friend William’s nephew passed away a few months ago, the restaurant where he worked as a server closed for his funeral. When they reopened afterward, everyone ate free. It was a thoughtful gesture made by an employer who obviously valued their employee. Knowing this, this is a restaurant where I would dine regularly if I lived in that area. If the owners think so highly of their employees, they must also think highly of their customers.

By contrast, my son also works in a restaurant. His employers do not care about their employees. He works hard. He rarely calls in sick and he’s almost never late. He insists upon getting up at four in the morning to take three buses that get him there an hour and a half early rather than clock in ten minutes late as he would have to by taking a later bus from home. 

If it were me, I would take the later bus. I wouldn’t give them any better than they give. It’s bad enough that servers don’t even get minimum wage because employers are allowed to include the servers’ tips as part of their wages. (Whatever happened to tips being a customer’s way of rewarding good service, anyway?)

My son’s employer requires servers to find their own replacement if they want or need a day off, no matter what the reason. He actually went to work sick one day because he couldn’t find a replacement. He got to the restaurant and started vomiting…and was sent home.

If they ended up shorthanded, it was their own fault.

A few days ago, we discovered that my son’s blood pressure is dangerously high–185/111, which falls into the category of hypertensive crisis. I urged him to take a day off and see the doctor immediately. He isn’t sure his boss will allow him a day off. Won’t allow it? 

What happens if he has a stroke? If he’s unable to make calls to find a replacement, what then? I guess he’d be fired, right?

I’ve envisioned the scenario in such an event: him on a stretcher, being taken to a waiting ambulance. He’s clutching his cellphone. “Wait,” he pleads with the EMTs. “I can’t go yet!”

“You’re having a stroke, sir,” they tell him.

“I’m supposed to be at work today.”

“You’re having a  stroke, sir. You have to go to the hospital now.”

“If I don’t find someone to fill in for me, I’ll get fired!”


“Just one more call.” He enters a number. No answer. He tries another. Voicemail. Another. The person he’s called can’t do it. He has a soccer game that day.

He’s losing control of his hand. His speech is slurred. “We have to go now,” the EMTs tell him. He finally surrenders, trying to mentally calculate what his weekly unemployment checks will be….


8 responses

  1. He really does need another position, where staff are better treated, and where the schedule can be better for him. Being up that early just to show up to a place that doesn't appreciate their staff isn't worth it, and it doesn't do any favours for the body either.

  2. Great little “stroke” story if it wasn't so sad and unfortunately so true. I am so sorry to hear about Collins problems !
    I know the main reason why so many employers act like this,
    and it really is a crime.

    Daughter moved three times looking for a job that wasn't under 40 hours with no benefits… she barely survived on a few low paying job and even at below poverty level she still had to pay the IRS… Thank Mr. President !
    Now after a year in Tucson she finally found a job with benefits. Thank Goodness !
    And it only took her 4 years after graduating.

    I hope there is a new and much better job soon for Collin.

    The Square Ones send woofs !

    cheers, parsnip

  3. Sad…I hope your son can find a place that values its employees. The restaurant where William's nephew worked sound too good to be true. I bet it's privately owned and not a chain, which I'm assuming Collin's employer is.

  4. That's what's so surprising, Maria…the employees who work at the corporate-owned restaurants in the chain are treated far better than those that are franchised. The franchisees don't give a crap about their staffers.

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