Last year I made a post about the best things that never happened to me. Throughout the entire post I shared some stories of my life centered around the premise that perhaps the best things in our lives are those that never actually happen to us, or for us.
The stories that I shared had finished with 2018, and at the point of writing, I genuinely hadn’t had an experience that led me to believe there was anything to share with respect to 2019.
Fast forward to today.
Today, I got an intriguing email to my work inbox. Being a relatively new employee, my inbox has been rather quiet the past few weeks, mainly serving as a means for coworkers to share files with me. Today, the email I received was from someone that I’ve met before. It was from someone that I interviewed with in 2019.
In May 2019 I had a job interview with a tech company that I was really excited about. This company was ‘on their way up’ in the business world. It was new and exciting software that was unlike anything else on the market and they were poised to make an integral mark in the industry because of investments from Silicon Valley.
I made it to the final round of interviews and was one of the last two candidates being considered. Nevertheless, I was devastated when I didn’t get the job. I was so excited for the opportunity and I genuinely thought that the job was mine. It took me months to get over the fact that I didn’t get that job. I really felt like I was to blame for the missed opportunity at really stepping up my career.
The email that I got today was from the woman who interviewed me, and inevitably, did not select me to fulfill that role.
She’s looking for a job and she wanted to know if I was hiring.
A year later, someone who didn’t select me for a job was now asking me for a job. Does she know that I am relatively new to the company? Does she remember that I was the candidate she rejected to do my very role at her company last year?
I sent her an email back, reintroduced myself as the individual who interviewed with her last year and asked her what was going on, why she was looking for a new job. She seemed to have it made at the company she was with, so I just… wanted to open a conversation and see what she had to say.
‘The company went under in December 2019.” She said. Of course she went on to explain exactly what happened and she let me know that she was looking for work in January and February and then the pandemic hit and she hasn’t been able to find work since.
She actually went on to mention that she applied for the position that I now have. (Which I did not ask her, it was information she volunteered)
It was a ‘holy shit’ kind of a moment. I feel bad for her for being in a position of being unemployed. I know the feeling all too well and I don’t wish it on anyone. But also running through my head was ‘Had I been selected for that job, I literally would have worked for six months and then had to start back at square one’. Then my mind went to ‘holy shit, the woman who thought I wasn’t good enough to have this job at her company now wants me to keep her application in mind for being my assistant’.
There’s so much to unfold there. The biggest thing that I can’t seem to get past though is… had I gotten that job, I would have worked for six months and been right back to square one.
Did I dodge a metaphorical bullet, or did I dodge a metaphorical bullet?
As hard as my unemployment tenure was, and as much as I whined and complained to my friends, family and this blog, I’ve always maintained the belief that the universe guides us. And the universe clearly had better plans for me than a tech company that was soon to go belly-up.
I feel sorry for this woman. I really do. I wish I could say ‘sure I’ll keep your resume’ and give her hope. But, truthfully, I can’t give her any hope. My bosses won’t be hiring any more this year. I befriended her on LinkedIn and told her that if I hear of any similar positions that I’d pass along her name/contact information. I wish I could do more for her but dang, 2020 has been a hot mess and there’s really not much more I can do now.
Execept… I can savour the role that I have so much more today than I did yesterday. Does that make me a bad person? Her email just made me so much more thankful of the role I’m in now. I mean I’ve been appreciative of this position since they day they said ‘Will you accept our offer?’ But, today… it just seems so much sweeter…. like so much more of a win, finding a role in the industry in the middle of a pandemic.
2020 man… such a crazy year. The universe always has a plan.
Disclaimer: This is bare-bones explanation of this story. Honestly, there could probably be a novel written about all of the skeletons in this family’s closet, but the most important pieces are here. For the purpose of this story, I have not shared the name of the child which I speak. He is no longer legally their child and thus, being a minor, I did not want to post the child’s name on this blog.
I’ve long since had issues with ‘family vloggers’ and people who use their children to make them money on YouTube. It’s one thing to call yourself an influencer and use YouTube to broadcast every aspect of your own life, but it’s a completely separate thing to do that to your child.
A child doesn’t get a say in the matter. A child doesn’t have the frame of reference to understand the ramifications of a digital footprint when they’re eight, for example. Children also (largely) aren’t paid for the work they’re doing to make their parents wealthy via YouTube. Because, if we’re being completely honest, these parents, without the adorable kids doing funny things, would be rather boring and no one would tune in. Parents know their children are click-bait to the masses and they take advantage of that, subsequently not giving their children a dime in the process.
Insert the Stauffer Family.
Myka and James Stauffer have come under fire recently for FINALLY acknowledging to the world that they have ‘unadopted’ their adopted special needs son from China. The phrase they used was ‘rehoming’. But let’s be real here, this isn’t a pet. This is a living, breathing human child who has now been abandoned again. Yeah, the term abandoned is a much better term for it.
It’s estimated that dissolution of adoption happens in roughly 10% of adoptive cases in the United States (Source: Children’s Welfare Information Gateway) So, an adoption not working out is not a new concept. Why then, have the Stauffer’s made international headlines?
After being relatively anonymous in the YouTube spectrum for nearly a decade, The Stauffer’s adopted a special needs child from China and brought him to the United States in 2017. They proceeded to film every aspect of their lives with new adopted son and upload videos to YouTube for profit ever since. These videos of their adoptive child have made them rich. Rich, rich, rich, rich, rich. They skyrocketed from 4,000 subscribers to millions of subscribers amassed from five different YouTube channels. They found a ‘niche’ that people couldn’t help but tune in for, and they exploited it. That niche being a little orphan boy with a beautiful smile and rambunctious personality. People genuinely fell in love with their son and they knew that… and they took advantage of that.
At best, what you could call this is child exploitation. At worst, this story really borderlines on child trafficking, if we’re being totally honest. They built a wealthy empire upon the likes of this child for three years and then, when they decided he was no longer profitable, they put him into foster care.
Backtracking a little bit here, Myka has been trying to become famous through YouTube for more than a decade. She tried fitting into the ‘hot girl with the amazing diet tips’ niche and that didn’t work. She tried fitting into the ‘I’m going to teach you how to cook’ niche and that didn’t take either. She also had her go at the ‘Single Mom, doing it on my own’ niche, but quickly pivoted when she met and married her now husband in a rather swift time frame.
After marrying her husband and quickly having her second child, Myka and James began documenting every step of their lives and their children’s lives on Youtube in 2013. They lead a very modest life, went on to have a third child and documented every single step of it on YouTube, amassing only 4,000 subscribers between 2013 and late 2016.
In late 2016, Myka started an adoption series on her YouTube channel. She had decided that she wanted to adopt and that she wanted to adopt right away. Apparently god had called her to adopt and she needed another child in her life immediately.
Because she had no issues with fertility, three young children and she and her husband were unwilling to adopt an older child, they sought to adopt from overseas. She is on video stating that she specifically chose China as the country to adopt a child from because it would allow her to adopt a child the fastest.
Prior to even adopting her son, she made a 13 part series all about him, how she literally picked him from a catalogue and how he was now her son who she’d ‘birthed in her heart’. It was all very sweet, very hertfelt, very saviouristic.
She took the thirteen part series to explain that the child that her and her husband wished to adopt was one with special needs. He was living in an Orphanage in China, was nearly two years old and (they were told) he had a brain tumor.
Myka also took the thirteen part series to explain that she had this child’s medical records reviewed by doctors in the United States and that the doctors here had warned her about adopting him because his prognosis was quite severe and could cause for around the clock care.
Myka, again on video, said ‘I used to be a nurse before becoming a stay at home mom, so whatever it is, we can handle it’.
Myka and James subsequently used a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds to adopt their son from China. Though they did not need the money for the adoption, they were happy to essentially ‘crowdfund’ to pay for the process because… why not? The GoFundMe actually garnered the family a lot of attention and the couple were touted as incredible saviours for rescuing this boy from life in a Chinese orphanage.
While the adoption process was still going through, they were already showing photos and video footage of their to-be son for the world to see. And, when they brought him home, their YouTube channel skyrocketed.
Their ‘Gotcha Day’ video they uploaded of the day they picked their son up and he legally became theirs garnered more than 5,000,000 views and was monetized up the whazoo.
And, after they brought him home, they filmed his every move. His every struggle with adopting to a new life in the USA, his trauma from being torn from his home country, his adapting to a new family he didn’t know, they put it all out there. They did it because it got them attention, it got them views and it grew the balance of their bank account.
Keep in mind here, Myka had three biological children and this adopted child from China was responsible for the majority of the content on her YouTube channel. She wrote articles for Bump Magazine, was featured in People Magazine and got a lot of national attention because she was this incredible mom who rescued this boy from China, knowing he had a brain tumor, to give him a better life.
Along the way, Myka and James learned that it wasn’t a brain tumor their son was suffering from. Rather, once reaching the United States, he was diagnosed with Autism. Myka quickly took the opportunity to become the ‘autism mom’ and ‘autism advocate for youtube’ despite the fact that she clearly knew nothing about autism.
People started to notice a change in this family. While everyone were tuning in to see this adorable little boy, the family took to exploiting him for each diagnosis he was given, for every struggle that he had. At one point he was seen on one of their YouTube videos with his thumbs duct taped. Myka later explained in a comment that she did that because they were annoyed that he would not stop sucking his thumb. The channel became more about this little boy and less about the family.
Don’t get me wrong, if you look at her YouTube channel, she did upload other content from time to time… including ‘What I eat in a day to stay skinny’ and ‘Cleaning the whole house because it’s a disaster’, but none of those videos ever garnered the views that her adopted son was getting. So, she continued exploiting him.
Adoption updates. Autism updates. [Son’s Name] first therapy session. Celebrating Chinese New Year for [Sons’s Name]. All of these videos were centered around him. Why? Because people tuned into her channel to see him. They wanted to see him grow, flourish and become his own person. They wanted the best for him. The views turned into big bucks for this family.
Between 2017 and 2020, the Stauffer’s also proclaimed they were going to adopt another child from China because they loved their son so much and wanted to rescue another boy. Also during this time, they went on to have another biological child, meaning that they had four biological children and one adopted child.
Between 2017 to 2020, Myka’s channel grew from 4,000 subscribers to more than 700,000 subscribers. The family vlog channel grew to 350,000 subscribers and her husband’s YouTube channel grew to nearly a million YouTube subscribers. They bought a 6,4000 square foot million dollar hom and multiple $90,000 SUVs, took vacations to California and Flordia, Myrtle Beach, London and more… staying in swanky hotels along the way. They were ‘living the life’ all because they were the saviours of this adorable little boy.
It’s worth noting here that after seeing doctors in the United States, their son was diagnosed as being non-verbal autistic. So he largely did not speak. That didn’t stop the family from click-baiting multiple videos with titles like [Son’s Name] Finally Speaks, we’re so happy! and so on and so forth.
They knew what was making their money, so they kept it up for clicks.
All of the sudden in January 2020, this little boy seemingly disappeared. For a woman who’d been exploiting his every move, every tantrum, every struggle, every doctor’s appointment, every piece to his life since 2017, it was odd… to say the least.
Where did he go?
People asked for months.
People asked and comments were deleted.
People emailed and were hit with responses from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
People commented on their YouTube channel and they got blocked.
Where was their son?
The couple went on a luxury several week long vacation in February to Indonesia and boasted on social media about staying in a room that cost $9,000 a night.
But where was their little boy?
All of their biological children were still appearing in videos, but their adopted son was… gone?
No one knew. Every time someone kept asking, they would get blocked.
Screenshots started to circulate of the Stauffer’s complaining about their adopted son on adoption forums. (Probably wasn’t the wisest thing for them to use their real names to complain about their adopted son given the YouTube fame they’d skyrocketed into)
Footed started to circulate of Myka being really sinister towards their adopted son and people who were sharing them were getting letters/dms and emails from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
Where was this little boy?
Well, his birthday is June 1. And, as the majority of their following really started to realize he was missing and had been for a long time, getting closer to his birthday the questions started ramping up. They were getting so frequent that the couple couldn’t possibly delete/block everyone fast enough.
On May 26 the Stauffer’s uploaded a video to Myka’s channel explaining that they had ‘rehomed’ their adopted son. They fake cried throughout the video, had disingenuous jump-cuts and proclaimed that they couldn’t tell anyone they abandoned their son because of his privacy. They also proclaimed that they were lied to by the adoption agency and the Chinese government about the extent of their son’s special needs and that numerous doctors had told them to put their son up for adoption.
The whole video was incredibly contrived. Nothing about it was genuine.
Let’s keep in mind here that ‘god called on her’ to adopt a child with special needs. Let’s also remember that doctors warned her about the severity of this boy’s special needs and she is on video stating that it ‘went in one ear and out the other’ because she was a nurse and she could handle it.
Let’s also keep in mind here that they were on video proclaiming that they couldn’t afford the cost of his therapy, whilst also bragging on Instagram about staying in a $9,000 a night hotel room in Indonesia and living in a multi-million dollar home wearing a $10,000 watch on her hand…
Everything about this story just disheartens and disappoints me to my core.
Honestly, people struggle for years to try and adopt. They have to go through home studies and family vetting, have every aspect of their lives combed through to ensure they’re a safe fit and a good family to care for the child they’re adopting. And rightfully so. But there are so many people who try so hard to adopt a child and hit continuous roadblocks. Somehow, this couple, with a criminal past, managed to jump through all of the hoops of an international adoption within a matter of a few months to bring home a little boy from China.
The crowdfunded his adoption, exploited his life every step of the way and, when he was no longer profitable to them, they ‘rehomed’ him.
Imagine what it would feel like, psychologically speaking, to be one of the other four siblings in that home who this year just watched their parents give away one of their children. They’re all under the age of ten, and probably so young that they could be wondering if they screw up next, will their mom and did abandon them…
Knowing that the announcement of their ‘rehoming’ their son was going to get them a lot of views, they selected to have the video monetized on YouTube. It was quickly demonetized, I’m not sure if that was a YouTube choice or if someone reported their video as content that should not be monetized. It’s just telling of the parents that, after abandoning their son, they’re still choosing to profit from his story.
Myka Stauffer has also been filing copyright claims against people who’ve been using her video announcing the ‘rehoming’ of their son, as a measure to further profit from the story from content creators/people who are telling her story in a light that she might not like.
The adoption community is worried about whether or not China will penalize future adoptive parents who genuinely want to adopt because of the actions of the Stauffers.
The autism community is angry after all of her videos are being re-watched and scrutinized for her lack of empathy, acceptance of her child’s autism and willingness to help, care for or treat his needs
The general public (30,0000+) who enjoys watching family YouTube videos signed a ‘Change.Org’ petition to have her remove all images and videos of this little boy, since he is no longer legally their child and she has been still profiting off of videos and Instagram ads about him since abandoning him.
Myka has, since the video where she says she ‘rehomed’ her son, gone on to proclaim that the little boy, who is now five (was four at the time), expressed to them that he no longer wished to be a part of their family. She says that they unadopted him as per his wishes. When people called bullshit for that comment, she deleted it and had her lawyers send a statement regarding the child to major news outlets stating that the couple would no longer be speaking of this child.
Because when a non-verbal, autistic child says ‘Mommy I don’t like you I want a new mommy’ the obvious choice to make is to put your child up for adoption.
From my perspective, I can’t understand how a couple specifically seek out to adopt a child with special needs and then proclaim to millions of people that they unadopted your child because he had special needs. Those old videos still exist… the ones where they proclaim they specifically wanted a child with special needs. The videos where they proclaimed any and all special needs that could arise were fine with them because they could give a little boy a better life. With the sheer vastness of wealth they accrued in recent years, they could easily afford any and all treatments and therapy that would/could help the boy. (For reference, they’re on video bragging about making $47,000 for one YouTube video… so do the math there)
This whole situation just saddens me.
This little boy has now been abandoned three times in his short life. I can’t imagine the horror that must feel like. While he might just be better off without the Stauffers, I can’t help but feel sad because they did him so wrong.
I wanted to link to a few articles about this story, but the majority of articles use this little boys name and photos in their articles. If you want to read more about this story and this couple and why they’ve come under fire, please google ‘Myka and James Stauffer’.
They story hasn’t just made it all over national headlines in the USA, but it’s also made it to Chinese News Outlets, Australian news outlets, The Netherlands news outlets and more.
Honestly, after a decade of lying to the internet, there’s a pretty huge digital footprint from this family. One quick google search and you’ll start to realize that not everything is adding up about what they say on the matter.
10 years ago, fresh out of University, I accepted a job in a city that I’d never been to and was told I needed to be moved in and ready to start in two weeks.
Scrambling to find a place to live, I settled on one of the first apartment buildings to get back to me because it was near my office and the rent was… decent. I had no one warn me about the neighbourhood, I had no one help me find a place and I made a quick decision to ensure I’d have a roof over my head in time to start work.
That apartment ended up being a nightmare. About six months after I moved in, the apartment building was actually raided by swat. Apparently, one of the tenants living at the other end of the third floor I was on was quite the drug kingpin.
I should’ve taken it as a sign to get the hell out of that apartment. But, I was only six months out of University, I was working for practical pennies and I didn’t really have the resources to move. So I stayed.
Did I mention the apartment was horrible? Because it was. It was built in the 60’s, so a lot of the structure was aging. The heating system sounded like it was going to explode each time it turned on (it was a broiler-based heating system). The upstairs neighbour lived his best life between the hours of midnight and six in the morning. One night I actually had to call 911 on him because he was beating up his girlfriend in the middle of the night and I woke up to her screaming ‘Help me, he’s going to kill me!’
I called 911. I gave a statement. She ended up being okay, from what I was told. After this fateful night, I wanted to move. Still being paid practical pennies for the work I was doing, I didn’t have the resources to move. I was barely paying my bills each month and I was worried that the psycho who lived above me knew that it was me who called the cops on him and that he’d be coming for me next.
Three weeks later, I received a summons from the Crown Prosecutor to be a witness in court at his assault trial that was scheduled for six months down the road.
I was terrified.
My upstairs neighbour didn’t know I was the one who called 911. If I had to stand up in court and say that it was me, could he come for me next? I needed to move. But I couldn’t afford it.
I remember how low I felt the day I called the Crown Prosecutor to beg him to not make me take the witness stand. He didn’t really seem to care about my fears. Apparently, he believed I was being over-dramatic about it.
I needed to move.
I ended up spending a few weeks sleeping in the basement of one of my coworkers. About two weeks after I called the Crown Prosecutor, he called me to let me know that he had a change of hard, that he was able to prosecute my upstairs neighbour without my being a witness and that he was being a bully in forcing me to be a witness when he knew that I felt it could put me at risk. Whilst he didn’t think this man would come after me, he understood that I was a single-white-female who lived alone and he would know what door to knock on the moment he saw me.
So, I didn’t have to take the witness stand and I decided to put off moving.
The man upstairs ended up getting evicted after prolonged absence from the building do to his being locked up on a drug charge.
A few months later, I got a raise at work. I thought it was an incredible moment for me because I was going to have a few hundred extra dollars each month and if I put them aside for three months then I could move.
A few days after I got my raise, the apartment building raised my rent due to ‘increased demand in the city for rental units and the prime location of our building’. I was crushed. Here I was thinking I was going to be able to save money to move an the apartment building had just given me a big ‘fuck you, sucker’.
I could go on and on about the stories that plagued me whilst in that apartment. Or other apartments I’ve lived in (I always seem to make horrible decisions with respect to living situations… refer to stories of roommate Derek from 2019 if you’re curious), The bottom line is, it wasn’t a happy place for me to go home to each night. And now that I’m looking to move and find myself an oasis in the city, I would really like to make sure that I don’t just accept the first thing that comes along because it came along.
I want to do this right.
I want to find a place that I’m happy to come home to each night.
I want to find a home that, if COVID 19 strikes in a second wave, I am content with spending a lot of time in.
I’m counting my lucky stars right now that I’ve landed a job that I am able to work from home due to this pandemic, but I would still like to move sooner, rather than later. For my sanity. For tax purposes. Because I want to be a city girl. Because this past year and a half has been really hard on my mental health and well being, and I’d really like to move onto a new chapter.
I’m loving my job, by the way. It’s been amazing so far. I know I’m still new to it, but it’s different from anything I’ve ever done before so it’s all exciting and there’s so much to learn and so many new ways to grow and get better.
The trouble with house hunting is… finding a place during a pandemic. Most places aren’t booking walk-throughs. Which I completely understand. But many places have really shitty pictures, or misleading pictures, online. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across at least three scams already. And I’ve also come across a lot of places that are really, really overpriced for what they are.
I thought I’d found a really incredible place for a really reasonable price but the landlord just does not respond. So that’s kind of a bummer. But I’m not going to let it stop me.
I’m going to do this right.
I want a place to call home. My home. A place to feel safe and welcome and like I belong. I’m not going to settle this time around.
The tectonic plates have shifted and I got a job. A really good job. Dare I say… a great job!
I just finished my first day of work. I am working remotely until COVID calms down.
I am the Marketing/Digital Marketing Coordinator for a tech company. I’m going to start their blog, ramp up their social media profiles and take control of branding and graphic design.
I’ll be looking to move in the nearish future. Once COVID calms down, I’ll join them at the office (their office is closed now and all employees are working remotely for the time being). Then, once travel is safe again, I’ll be joining their sales team as they travel around the continent so that I can help them ‘do their thing’ with professional presentations and my charming personality. Okay, I might not be serious about that personality part.
I am really excited about this job. So… here’s to new beginnings.
Yesterday I was cleaning out a desk that belonged to my brother before he moved to Denmark in 2009. This desk was filled with old homework from his university days, pictures of his friends, some random bits and bobs (including a pocket knife, some drill bits, etc) and a stash of chocolate.
I got scared when I found the chocolate.
I needed to clean out this desk so that my parents could sell it. I genuinely don’t believe anyone has touched it since my brother left for Denmark.
There was a stash of chocolate in the desk that included Kit Kat Bars. The wrappers of one of the Kit Kat Bars was open as though he’d taken a bite out of it and then never finished it. The wrapper said that the expiry for the Kit Kat was November 2010.
There was no a speck of mould on this chocolate bar. It wasn’t even dried out. I touched it thinking that it would be rock hard because of how long the package had been open. Nope. I held my fingers against it and it started to melt from the warmth of my fingers, but otherwise, it was pretty much just a regular chocolate bar, even though it had expired ten years ago.
Nothing was wrong with it.
It looked like a brand new, perfectly good chocolate bar.
I could have broken off a piece and given it to one of my family members and they could’ve easily believed I’d just gone to the store and bought it.
10 years expired and looks brand new. Think about that next time you eat chocolate.
P.s. I showed a piece of it on my Instagram story if you want to see it. lol
Picture this: a beautiful August night in a deep amidst the skyscrapers of a major Canadian city. Myself and a few delegates from across the country had just wrapped up one of the ‘booziest’ business meetings I’d ever sat through and the plan was to head back to the hotel, change and meet at the hotel restaurant for a nice dinner in one hour’s time.
Sounds great, right?
The meeting was the equivalent of five city blocks from the hotel.
Five city blocks isn’t far. All of these men had been drinking, a lot. (Oh the joys of working for a company that’s sponsored by a major international alcohol distributor) They’re just going to walk. Right? Right?
The thing about arrogance is that it leads people to believe they’re invincible. It leads people to believe they can do no wrong and that no harm will ever come to them for the choices they make. Even if that choice includes being five drinks deep and asking the valet to bring your car.
I don’t know why the valet didn’t stop them that night.
I tried to stop them that night. And, after being physically shoved into the front door of the building with great force, one of the building’s workers came over to check if I was alright. The master manipulator looked at me and told me, with some serious snark to her tone, that I should mind my own damn business and that if they were going to drive, they were going to drive.
The man who worked at the meeting space was very kind. He sat me down, calmed me down and asked me if I’d like the police called due to the physical altercation that had just taken place with one of the other delegates.
You want to know the definition of being between a rock and a hard place? When people you have to work with decide they’re going to get behind the wheel while drunk and your boss leads you to believe that your job could be at risk if you dare try to stop them. That’s an impossible situation that no person should ever have to be put in.
The man who worked there and saw that they were getting into their vehicles drunk ended up calling the police. Not because I told him to but because he knew these four were drunk and he didn’t want them hurting anyone. He asked me what hotel everyone was staying at to tell the police where they were headed. And I, I set off on my way… walking.
I walked particularly slow back to the hotel… on purpose. I’ll admit to that. After what had just happened, I didn’t want to get there in a hurry. I was upset, I was angry and I really didn’t want to be at dinner with any of these people after I’d been physically shoved into a door for trying to stop them from driving drunk.
As I approached the hotel I could see there were police cars at the front of the hotel with their lights flashing. I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on, but it had been more than 15 minutes since the man at the meeting space had told me he was going to call the police, so I presumed this was why.
Upon reaching the front door, I noticed that there was something amiss with the front of the hotel….
One of the vehicles I’d just watched the delegates leave in, it was parked under the covered area drop-off zone next to the front door and it was damaged. It had a giant dent in it. I’m talking GIANT dent. This was a rented Tahoe (basically the SUV equivalent of a tank) so seeing such major damage got me scared that these guys had hit someone, or something between the meeting space and our hotel. I ran closer to the door and I noticed there was a giant chunk missing out of the pillar at the edge of the covered drop-off area.
These fucking idiots had ran into the structural pillars that were holding up the covered car-port area at the front of the hotel. They’d hit it so hard that they wrecked the Tahoe and taken a giant chunk out of the pillar.
I walked into the building to see what was happening and they were lined up in the lobby talking to the police officers.
The master manipulator was there, of course. She always has a hand in everything.
I watched her blatantly outright lie to the police officers and tell them that no one had been drinking that afternoon. I watched her tell the police officers that it was an honest mistake, that none of them had ever driven a Tahoe before, or a vehicle quite so large, so they didn’t realize where the edge of the vehicle was. Then I watched her start to flirt with the police officers.
She actually tried to give two of the police officers her phone number. While they didn’t take it, you could tell that they were quite engaged with her and what she was ‘putting out’. Her fiancee wasn’t there at this point. I’m honestly not sure what he would have done had he been watching her manipulate these cops into not doing anything.
The cops asked the hotel manager if he wanted to press charges against them for destruction of property and almost instantaneously, the master manipulator turned around and started flirting with the hotel manager. Honestly, she was rubbing his back, patting him on the shoulder ensuring him this was just a big misunderstanding and that she’d write a cheque that would cover all of the damages. And the manager fell for it.
The manager told the cops that everything was fine. And the cops left. They fucking left. They left the scene of an incident where four individuals who’d been drinking drove two vehicles back to a hotel, one crashing into a pillar at the front door of the hotel. They’d been told by the man at the meeting space who called them that drinking was involved. And they left.
They left because the master manipulator is that fucking good at what she does.
She’s like a scorpion that poisons men with her manipulation tactics.
I skipped dinner that night. I didn’t feel like being around a bunch of wealthy men and the master manipulator after they’d talked their way out of any repercussions for drunk driving and destruction of hotel property. When I asked the master manipulator what she wanted to do about the rental, she said ‘That’s an issue for tomorrow. Just have the valet get it away from the front door’.
YEAH. They fucking wrecked a rental Tahoe and decided that it was a problem for tomorrow and they were going to go to the hotel restaurant and continue their drinking and laugh the night away over an expensive dinner being charged to the company.
I sat in my hotel room cooled down for about two hours and then I wrote a very thorough, poignant email to our CEO explaining what happened and how the master manipulator acted, as well as that there was a Tahoe seemingly parked under the hotel right now that was going to need to be explained to the rental company.
I wasn’t there the next day when the master manipulator had the Tahoe towed back to the rental place. I opted to go to the airport on an earlier shuttle. (Told her that I wanted to use the airport gym ahead of the flight) In reality, I just figured she was going to do something fucking stupid and I didn’t want to bear witness. And realistically, she did. If you wreck a fucking rental car, don’t tow it back and put it in the front of their business door. Phone them and tell them so that they don’t have a wrecked vehicle on display for the world to see that day.
I took a shuttle to the airport early. We got on the same flight but thankfully wound up seated in completely separate rows. The other four idiots got back on flights to their home provinces.
So how did this all end?
Our company took the blame for the accident.
Our CEO wrote a cheque for $72,000 to the hotel to fix the pillar outside their front door.
Our CEO had to pay the deductible on the rental and the rental company told us they would no longer rent to our employees. They threatened legal action but the CEO did something that made them back off. (Discussions that I wasn’t privy too)
A police report was made because the police showed up to the scene so they were required to report what happened by law.
None of the four individuals in those vehicles drunk got any repercussions for what happened. Not our CEO nor the master manipulator sought any sort of financial compensation to help cover for the damages our company was now paying for.
They drove drunk and got off scott-free. And it was five blocks. Five fucking blocks that they couldn’t walk. Or call a cab. Or call an uber. Or let someone sober drive.
One day, a few weeks after this all went down, the master manipulator brought me with her into the CEO’s office. We had a sit down chat and I was told that I was never to bring up this incident again. I was told that the public was never to find out a police report was made because if they did it could mean serious ramifications for our company. I was also told that I was no longer invited to these meetings. And I was reprimanded for 1) Not being of assistance to the master manipulator when she was trying to deal with the police and 2) Not attending the dinner and making our organization look bad after everything happened.
She let them drive our rental whilst drunk. She told them it was fine. She never once said anything wrong was done on their part. Somehow I got in trouble at work for the situation. Apparently I’m a poor ‘team player’. Because if you really want to fit in at work what you’re supposed to do is let people drive drunk…
This story is a part of an ongoing series about work-life and the truth about what goes on behind the scenes. Read parts one and two by clicking on either of the following links:
The company that I worked for effectively had two branches – the for-profit business and the not-for-profit foundation. Each branch operated with very different business practices due to the fact that there are so many more stipulations required to be followed to maintain not-for-profit status with the Canadian government.
The master manipulator liked to spend money. She especially liked to spend money that wasn’t her own. And, knowing just how closely the fondation’s financials were tracked, the master manipulator had a plan to skirt the system so that she always had money to spend.
Each month she would invoice the foundation, on behalf of the for-profit branch for various ‘fees and expenses’. These fees and expenses were different each month, so the invoice would be for a different total dollar amount every time. The invoice would also be dated for different date each month. This way, if the totals were different and the dates were different, it would be less likely to look as though it was a recurring fee the foundation was paying that she would need an excuse for.
She even took it a step further as to deposit the funds into different company bank accounts each month to ensure that no department noticed regular funds incoming from the foundation.
Now, all not-for-profit foundation’s have expenses. It’s just a fact of life. Even if it’s as simple as banking fees, there are always expenses. That being said, what should not be happening with a foundation is excess expenses. The bulk of donations that a foundation is accepting should be being turned around to be distributed to those in need, right? Right.
Every month, the master manipulator was hiding an expense. Every month. And because she’d manipulated all of the men in the office into believing she could do no wrong, it was easy for her.
Here’s an example of how she did it:
Every July the company hosted a banquet to raise money for the foundation. Every rich friend or acquaintance of the company would be invited in hopes they would open their wallets and donate large sums of money to the foundation.
One July our guest speaker was a famous Canadian television actor. This actor’s agent let us know that his speaking fees was $7,500 for a regular event by a for-profit company, but if the event was to raise funds for the foundation (which ours was) he would speak at the event for $2,500. This was his way of helping to keep the foundation’s expenses as low as possible so that more money could be given to those in need.
The master manipulator signed contracts agreeing to pay the actor $2,500 for speaking at our event. Then, the master manipulator went to the CEO and told him that the fee for this actor to speak was $7,500. And, because she’d been manipulating the CEO for years and he believed everything she said, he didn’t even blink an eye.
Then she would invoice the foundation on behalf of the company for $7,500. Because foundation policy stated she was not allowed to sign-off on her own invoices, she would then use her management powers to force me into signing off on the $7,500 invoice, knowing that I well knew exactly what we were actually paying this actor.
$7,500 would be transferred out of the foundation’s bank account and into a company bank account under the guise that she was paying the actor $7,500. She would then e-transfer the actor’s agent $2,500 and put $5,000 onto her company credit card, thus increasing the balance of her company credit card by $5,000 for that month.
With an extra $5,000 on her company credit card, she could do whatever the fuck she wanted. Working lunch, every damn day? Sure. A penthouse suite at the hotel they were hosting the banquet at… rather than a regular hotel room? No problem. A new dress for the banquet because, as the hostess she needed to make the best impression? Get it girl.
If anyone ever noticed how much she was spending, or how she always seemed to be spending more than the limit provided to managers of the company, she would simply… buy them something too. I remember with respect to this particular banquet that this particular actor spoke at, another manager questioned her purchase of a $1,000 Alexander Wang dress ‘for the event’. Suddenly, that manager was invited to the banquet, and she’d bought him a new suit for the event because, as a representative of the company, he needed to make the best of impressions with her.
That’s how she worked. She manipulated everyone.
Some months it was a couple hundred dollars. Some months it was $10,000 plus dollars. Every month, though… every month she had a reason why money needed to be transferred out of the foundation and into company bank accounts where she knew it wasn’t subject to audit. Because, when the money wasn’t monitored with a fine tooth comb, when it wasn’t subject to annual audit, she could do what she wanted with it, and at worst, would be subject to coming up with a haphazard excuse to give to a CEO who already believed everything that she said.
I wish it weren’t true but I’m not even kidding. My dad is not a very fearful man. I’ve seen him fend off someone with a knife and not blink twice. Right now, though… he’s a little on edge.
A couple of days ago my dad took his dog on a walk through some of the trails around here. The trails themselves are provincial parks that have just had walking paths cleared for people to hike in the non-snowy months.
Leading up to the trails you have to walk past a house with a rather yappy little fur ball in the back yard. If you so much as step foot within eye-line of the fence the dog will bark until you’re long out of sight.
A couple of days ago when my dad was walking with his dog past this house the dog started yapping at them. His dog, naturally, started barking back. The man that owns this house came out and started screaming at my dad. My dad says that he called the man an idiot for complaining about a barking dog because dogs bark when they see each other, it’s a fact of life. Then he says that he kept on walking leaving the man to yell into the abyss of his backyard.
A few hours later, bylaws enforcement showed up at our house and had us come out to the driveway so that, from a distance, they could tell us that someone had reported we were out with our dog, not on leash, and that we were not following social distancing guidelines and had gone into someone’s yard and made them fear for their safety.
There’s a fence. A FUCKING FENCE. There was no going into anyone’s yard.
Should my dad have pissed this man off my calling him an idiot and walking away? Probably not. But that’s how my dad rolls. I guarantee you, with how worried he’s been about this COVID stuff as of late, he ain’t going near anyone who doesn’t live in his house.
Anyways, bylaws enforcement left and my dad was like ‘Well, I guess we won’t walk that trail anymore’. And he told each of us to avoid that trail, whether or not we had the dog with us.
Today this grumpy asshole brings his yippy dog down our road. Naturally, when my dad’s dog sees this dog on the street it starts barking.
This man gets so angry that my dad’s dog is barking from the window, inside of the house, that he walks up to our front door, pounds on it and starts screaming ‘Get out here you asshole, and bring that fucking piece of shit you call a dog too’.
My dad went over to the fence and started yelling at the man to get out of our yard and leave us alone and this guy just went off. He was screaming and yelling about how my dad’s dog is a menace to society and she bites small children (which, by the way, I don’t think my dad’s dog has ever bitten anyone or anything… she’s the dog equivalent of a teddy bear) and she annoys the whole damn town and on and on AND ON… My dad, not being afraid of pretty much anyone, just called him an idiot and told him to keep on walking.
The man told my dad to ‘man up’ and come out and fight him. When my dad refused this guy got angrier. Finally my dad said ‘If you don’t leave my yard I’m going to call the police’.
The man says ‘You want to play that game? You want to hide behind the fucking cops? Okay, we can play that game. Better watch that nobody puts drain cleaner in your dog’s water bowl because we’d all be pretty fucking happy if that thing dropped dead’.
This all unfolded in the space of maybe 2-3 minutes. My dad ended up coming in the house and phoning the police. He did so to let them know that this guy had just threatened to kill our dog. And now, I tell you, I haven’t seen him this afraid of anything in a long time.
I don’t think he’s going to let the dog out of his sight. I mean, he’s told us we’re not allowed to give her food or drink outside anymore and that if we let her outside we need to watch her. He’s just really scared right now. And rightfully so, I think. That dog is his best friend.
What kind of a human being threatens to poison someone’s dog?
Honestly, if a man comes that unhinged at another dog barking at his dog, he’s lost his marbles. There are 20 dogs on this road, all of which are a chorus of barking the majority of each day. Is he just going to start going around poisoning the whole neighbourhood?
I recently started telling some of people in my life about the things that I’ve dealt with at work through the years. These stories are stories that contributed to many dark years in my life where I struggled a lot with what was going on and the role that I played in it because I didn’t speak up. For many years I told myself that I needed to grin and bear it, and that if I worked hard enough, tolerating the shit would pay off. That, at the very least, it would look good on my resume.
I’m not much of a story teller, it’s definitely not one of my strong suits. But, having other’s know the truth does have a certain catharsis to it.
‘And then we had sex. Great sex. Damn good sex!’ She exclaimed with a smile on her face.
Not the exact topic of discussion I thought would happen when my new boss invited me out for dinner just a few days into starting my new job. But hey, sometimes you have to roll with the punches, right? Clearly she thinks that I give a damn, that I want to partake in girl talk… that I think she’s a good person. Clearly she didn’t catch my eyes roll to the back of my head. So pretend. That’ll make this end faster.
Though it had only taken me about forty minutes on my first day of work to determine that my manager at the new company I was working for was a manipulative bitch, it only took her four days to actually openly brag about being such.
She took me out for dinner, under the guise of it being a ‘working dinner’ so that she could tell me all about the professional hockey player that she had just hooked up with this past weekend.
A grown woman having sex with someone and then bragging about it to her friends? Why it happens a lot, actually.
A grown woman (38 years old) having sex with a professional hockey player (who was just 18 years old at the time) and then bragging about it to the newest employee that she oversees at the office, whom she’s only known for four days, because she thinks it will give her clout and make the new employee look at her in a more positive light, that it’ll make her new employee look up to her… well I don’t know how that happens.
To add even more of a twist to this nightmare of a working dinner, my new manager, who was at this point going into great detail about where she and this hockey player met for sex, for how long they had sex and the positions they tried that she, and I quote, ‘had never dreamed of doing’, well, my new manager was telling me this story as she twirled her engagement ring around her finger. The engagement ring that was given to her by another manager from the office.
Yes, she took me out for dinner to brag about how she cheated on her fiancee (who was our coworker) with a professional hockey player who was 20 years younger than her because she felt, in her bizarre head, that made her sound cool.
Four days on the job…
If she was trying to get to know me, or get a feel for who I was as a person, bragging to me about cheating on her fiancee, someone who also worked in our office, wasn’t a great place to start. Furthermore, the fact that she thought I was going to provide her with praise and accolades for managing to sleep with a professional hockey player truly showed me how much character this woman lacked.
And there we were, smack dab in the middle of this restaurant, my awkwardly staring at my food, thinking this dinner couldn’t end sooner. She, on the other hand couldn’t read body language or acknowledge that I hadn’t participated in the conversation for nearly ten minutes now. She just kept continuing on about how she would leave her fiancee for said hockey player if she truly felt there was a future and that it is, and always will be, one of her biggest goals in life to be a ‘trophy wife’.
Listen, I’m all for people having goals. Goals, desires, dreams… these things push us forward. They give us reason to be better. Honestly, though… if one of your biggest goals in life is to be a trophy wife, you should be aiming for a lot fucking higher. If you’re having sex with someone solely because of what their profession is, and you think that makes you cool, you should be aiming for a lot fucking more in life. And, if you think it’s alright to cheat on your fiancee when ‘someone better offers’ then you shouldn’t fucking be engaged and planning a wedding.
The cap to this glorious dinner came when her work credit card was declined and she made a joke about just how much that hotel room cost where all of her glorious sex took place. Begrudgingly, I paid for the meal and was promised that she would expense it and have me paid back by the following Friday. At this point, I was just relieved that I could leave. I was about ready to walk into the restaurant’s kitchen and fall on some knives.
This dinner was the very beginning of what turned into five years of manipulation, lies, intimidation, so very many occasions of her asking me to cover for her when she was cheating on her fiancee (who eventually became her husband), and her siphoning tens of thousands of dollars away from the charity’s bank accounts and onto her personal credit cards
She never did pay me back for that meal.
In the grand scheme of things, that dinner was a small fry. But, to this day, that night shines as a perfect example of the sheer demon I was facing at work. People, and by people I largely mean senior management, always wondered why I couldn’t just… get along with her. Why couldn’t we be friends? Two women working in a male dominated industry, in the same department, for the same company. Why couldn’t we be allies?
Well, call it a difference of character, or her lack of character. Call it my stubbornness if you want. Whatever you call it, just know that management isn’t always right. And they’re definitely not the moral authority. At least not from my perspective. Respect is earned, and if someone doesn’t earn for it, they’re definitely not going to get it from me.
I sent my brother to the store for me this morning.
I have a cold. It’s just a cold. I’ve been through it 15,000 times in my life and I know that it’s just a cold. But, knowing how many people are on edge about germs at the moment, I decided the last thing I needed to do was make anyone in a store worry about me.
So I sent my brother to the store.
I asked him to purchase me cough syrup, cough drops and neocitron… all over the counter items that can help someone fight a cough/cold. Did I need them all this morning? No. But, in limiting the amount of times we visit a store, and in thinking that it’d be smarter to have these things at home for fighting this cold, I asked for each of these items.
While he was standing six feet behind the woman who was already paying at the register, two other women in the store berated my brother for what he was purchasing. One of the women went so far as to yell ‘You’re going to kill us all’, at him.
These women were assuming he was sick because of what he was purchasing. In trying to calm them down, he tried to explain ‘I’m purchasing these things for someone that I know. I’m completely healthy and I’m standing away from everyone. Please do not worry’.
The women then decided to berate him for being inconsiderate to the general public by associating with someone who is sick. Then they told him to go home because he’s a carrier and if he keeps on he’s going to make everyone in town sick.
I’ve largely been held up in my bedroom since my cold symptoms started. Why? Because, while it is just a cold, something that goes around each spring… I didn’t feel like spreading germs to anyone in my home given what’s going on in this world.
No one should be shamed for purchasing medication at the pharmacy right now. I know, the world is stressed out. I know that people are on edge about anyone who sneezes or coughs in public. That’s precisely why I sent my healthy brother and I didn’t go to the store myself. People need to remember that it’s both allergy season while still being cold and flu season. Allergy pills, cough syrups, cough drops, neocitron, nasal sprays, these are all things people still need to purchase right now.
I count myself lucky that I could send my brother to purchase those things for me. I was really disheartened when I heard what happened to him at the store. My brother is such a docile person that when two women started yelling at him all he wanted to do was leave. But, he wanted to make sure that he got me what I had asked for so he just had to stay and listen to them. He was so frustrated that he called to tell me what happened on his way back.
I know people are anxious, but berating someone for buying cough syrup is not going to fix anything. Furthermore, berating someone for picking up goods for someone else is not productive. I thought we were supposed to only send one family member to the store. I thought we were supposed to ask neighbours, friends and family and so on… if they needed anything before going to the store so it could all be bought in one trip. What do I know though?
I’ve been laying pretty low… not leaving my room a whole bunch. And I’ll continue to do so until this passes.