I Asked For a Week off to Care For My..

When Annie’s son becomes ill, she takes a week off from work. But when she returns to the office, her boss has a police officer and a pair of handcuffs waiting for her. You know how sometimes you think that you’d be valuable to the company because you worked in a place for a decade? Yeah. No. That didn’t happen to me. Let me tell you everything. I’ve been working for a company for ten years. Straight out of college, I joined as a marketing intern and then worked my way up thcorporate ladder — the pay increasing at an exceptionally slow rate. One day, my five-year-old son, Kenny, became very sick. His fever was through the roof, and he kept vomiting. That would upset any mom, right? There was no way that I could leave him at home with a babysitter. I needed to be there, watching him, and ready to take him to the doctor if the time came. So, I decided to call my boss and tell him the truth. I also hadn’t used my leave for the year, so I knew it couldn’t be an issue. I left my son in his bed and walked away. “Hi, Mr. Williams,” I said when he answered on the first ring. “My son is sick, and I need to be with him. I’m going to take the week off to care for him. I haven’t used any of my leave yet.” There was silence for a moment before he exploded. “Are you serious, Annie?” he shouted. “We have our annual general meeting in two days, and you’re abandoning me now? You know I need the marketing reports.”

“I’m sorry, Sir,” I said. “But I just can’t come in. And the reports are done. I emailed them to you yesterday morning.” He didn’t bother to reply — instead, he hung up. I didn’t overthink it because my boss was a hot-headed man who tended to be impulsive and rude. Then, I made some soup for Kenny, putting all my energy into my child. A week later, when Kenny had recovered and was also back to school, I walked into my office. My boss was seated in my chair and began clapping his hands slowly, and an eerie smile plastered onto his face. “Annie,” he said. “Welcome back. I have a surprise for you.” Before I could even react, a uniformed officer entered the room, handcuffs at the ready. Annie Mills,” he barked. “You have the right to remain silent…” He continued to read my rights while my heart raced and my body felt limp. “What is going on?” I gasped, suddenly unable to breathe. “Annie, it has come to my attention that you don’t have a son. And now, you’re going to be punished. Well played, Annie, but you got caught in your lies.” My mind raced, trying to make sense of the situation. I had no idea what my boss was talking about. Of course I had a son. I was a single mother because my son’s father had left the moment he heard that we were pregnant. While I was being escorted out of the office, I couldn’t help but wonder when things had gone so wrong. I sat in the police car, anxiously pinching my wrist to make sure that I was awake. When we got to the station, I was refused my phone call — the officer continued giving me horrible glares. The officer threw me into a holding cell that smelt damp, the mold dark on the walls. I didn’t know what to do. If I was refused a call, how would anyone know I was here? My neighbor would keep Kenny after school until I got home. But other than that, Kenny only had me. After what felt like hours, another officer walked past the holding cell. “Please,” I said, running up to the bars. “I need to make my phone call.” She agreed and led me to the pay phone. I phoned my best friend, Mia. She was an attorney, and I knew I couldn’t afford her services, but she was the only person I had. “Mia,” I said quickly, not knowing how much time I had. “I’ve been arrested. I need you.” Mia came to the station, and they allowed her to see me immediately. Now, the plot thickens. Mia took my case without hesitation. “There’s something shady going on here,” she said. She spoke to a few of the officers – needless to say, a few voices were raised. Eventually, she got me out and I went home to Kenny. Then, she did some digging. It turns out that Mr. Williams orchestrated everything. He had paid off the officer to arrest me. See, according to our company contracts, if an employee is arrested, suspected, or involved in any criminal activity, the contract is to be terminated, and the company would take whatever money was outstanding. In my case, it was my salary yet to be paid. “Are you sure?” I asked Mia when she came over, and she told me everything. Including emails from Mr. Williams to the police officer. “Yes,” she said, helping herself to dinner. “It’s all a done deal now. Prison will be his home for the foreseeable future.” I smiled. This woman selflessly saved me from prison without taking a cent from me. And I know that Kenny and I will forever be indebted to her. The company, trying to save face and a lawsuit, gave me $40,000 as moral compensation and good faith, claiming that Mr. Williams acted alone. I was only in a holding cell for a few hours, but it was more than enough to scare me. I’m grateful for Mia and her faith in the justice system because I would still be waiting for some form of explanation and justice without that. Now, I’m working with Mia, taking care of her firm’s marketing needs and PR whenever called for. It’s a stable job, and I feel safe. Most importantly, I can provide for my son without worrying about who I work for. Has anything as ridiculous happened to you where you work?