In a tale of longstanding employment and evolving relationships, the Original Poster (OP) finds themselves at odds with their maid, Ola, over unpaid debts and the perceived value of service. As Ola highlights her sacrifices, including raising OP and relocating, the story reaches a climax when OP’s girlfriend intervenes, urging support for Ola. With both sides presenting compelling arguments, the question looms: where does obligation end and gratitude begin?
The Wealthy Man
OP is a 30-year-old man living in a large house with his two school-age children. He splits custody with his ex-wife in a friendly arrangement. OP has employed the same maid for the past ten years to maintain the household.
A Request from Ola
OP’s maid, Ola, approached with a concern about money. She had accrued $6,000 in debt at her son’s private school and sought OP’s assistance in a loan. While OP declined the monetary aid, they offered her time off to address her predicament.
The Maid Service
Ola cleans at OP’s residence three times a week for six-hour shifts. He pays her $19.50 per hour for her services as an independent contractor, twice the minimum wage where they live. The hourly rate is easy to calculate and complies with local laws.
OP gives Ola a generous bonus a week before every Christmas. This is usually around $500, which he thinks is a nice sum she can spend on herself and her son and a special holiday meal. He also gives her a $100 check on her birthday.
The Generous Employer
OP knows Ola works with one other client regularly, whom he introduced her to when she moved to work for him. He has generously sent work her way anytime one of his friends requires cleaning services for the holidays or before or after a party.
The Reality of Her Finances
Knowing how much he pays her, OP knows there’s no way she can pay back the loan in a reasonable amount of time, considering the circumstances, so it would end up being a gift. He can safely assume the money he gives her won’t be paid back.
Later, OP noticed Ola’s absence from work. Ola’s intention, as understood by OP, was to make her indispensable role evident by her noticeable absence. She hoped this gesture would underscore her value to OP and the household.
Revelations through a Girlfriend
OP’s girlfriend of two years shared some insights from a conversation with Ola. She said Ola felt unappreciated and believed that OP did not recognize her sacrifices. Ola also expressed her frustration to OP’s girlfriend about moving “across the country” for OP’s sake.
OP’s girlfriend reported that Ola claimed to have raised OP from a baby. OP contested these claims, saying Ola started working for his parents when he was 14 and self-sufficient. He rarely saw her because he was in school, football practice, or hanging with friends.
Clarifying the Past
Moreover, she didn’t move for OP’s sake, which was only a few hours away, but for employment opportunities when he offered her a job as a gesture of goodwill when his parents no longer needed her.
An Independent Household
Despite having a maid, OP and his children maintain an independent lifestyle, taking responsibility for their messes and cleanliness. The engagement of a maid was more a matter of courtesy. OP even allowed Ola’s son to use the household’s WIFI and computer.
The Girlfriend’s Perspective
OP’s girlfriend empathized with Ola’s sentiments. She suggested that OP should financially assist Ola to show appreciation for her years of service. This was based on her belief that OP had the means.
Wealth is Relative
Although OP possessed a decent financial status, they didn’t consider themselves affluent. Moreover, OP expressed concerns about setting unsustainable precedents. OP was torn between a personal relationship and financial prudence.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
Unsure of his stance and keen on understanding different perspectives, OP posted his story online. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “I would show my appreciation by making her unemployed and finding somebody who doesn’t make my life uncomfortable and guilt trippy.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “The lines between Ola as a valued employee and family member may have blurred. You can un-blur them by being clear that while what she’s asking isn’t in your budget, even with whatever raise or bonus seems appropriately sustainable to you.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “You already show your appreciation by paying her for the job she does. Entitled people stress me out.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “This is a perfect time to engage with another maid, one that knows her boundaries and tell Ola her services are no longer required since she feels ignoring her work will encourage you to shell out money.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.