update from the reader whose boyfriend wanted his company to pay for a car service after breaking his leg

Remember the reader whose boyfriend had broken his leg and was unsure how he’d be able to commute to work (they’re in New York City and his usual commute was by subway), and she was wondering if he could ask his company to pay for a car service? Here’s her update.

I originally posed the question because I had broken my leg while in college (also in New York City) and the school paid for a car service to get to classes held off campus. I realize that the “real world” is different from college, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask, and to see what others had done. 

My boyfriend has been on crutches for about 4 weeks, and he’s doing ok; normal aches and pains from using new muscles to “crutch” instead of walk, and going a little stir crazy from not being able to do much. He decided not to ask his company to pay for/help with a car service to get him to work. He did speak with his boss and HR and has been taking as much sick time and working from home as much as possible, and he’s gone into the office about 2 days a week since. When he does go in, it takes a long time on the train (about 2x the usual) or it’s a $50 cab ride. There is one person in the office (only person in the building really) who drives to work and he’s helped my boyfriend once or twice as well. It’s not quite a happy ending, but he’s hoping to only be doing this for another 2 weeks or so.

Thank you to your commentators for the suggestions and well wishes and I hope YOUR foot heals completely soon!

{ 15 comments… read them below }

  1. Another Anonymous Person*

    Let me be the first to say this is not a win. Essentially, the boyfriend wussed out on actually asking and as the old saying goes, “If you don’t pray, God doesn’t listen.”

    1. Anonymous*

      Considering his boss was perfectly willing to offer 3 days of telecommuting per week, I’d bet that they would’ve offered the car service if they felt it was worth it to the company.

      1. Observer*

        In my experience, that’s unlikely. For many bosses, offering telecommuitng makes more sense than offering to pay for car service, especially if you have the infrastructure in place. And, depending on what you need, that doesn’t have to be all that complicated – a decent internet connection at both ends, the user’s computer left on and something like gotomypc or logmein installed (and some of these programs have free versions that are perfectly adequate), and decent phone service. Very little incremental cost. On the other hand, cabs can add up quite quickly, and you wind up with potential liability issues.

        1. BW*

          If an employee can work from home, there’s little or no justification of the cost of paying for transportation to and from the office.

          Working from home is probably more comfortable. My friend broke her ankle around the same time. She can’t work from home, and she can’t find a comfortable position for her foot working at her desk.

    2. Anonymous*

      I don’t think the boyfriend ‘wussed out’ at all. He considered the options and spoke with his boss/HR about the issues, and they came to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties. Asking for a car service would have been rather naive, and could have had a negative impact on him and his career if his boss thought he were demanding the car service, or acting as if he were entitled to it. (I’m not saying the OP’s boyfriend would have done either of these things, but that’s not the way the boss would necessarily have looked at it.).

      As Anonymous above says, if the company felt it was worth a car service they would have offered it, but they didn’t. What they did offer was telecommuting and sick days which is perfectly fair and I’m willing to bet is a lot more than some employers would have done.

  2. Someone*

    I wouldn’t say that the boyfriend “wussed out” either. He certainly wasn’t being a wuss when he approached HR about his commuting issues. He broke his leg in a gym on his own time, so there isn’t a reason that he should expect the company to pay for a car service. I think he was being very reasonable and in asking for the accomodations he did get and not asking for more.

  3. KayDay*

    There’s nothing to indicate that the boyfriend didn’t want to work from home and/or take sick time–even with a car service, being in the office on crutches is probably no fun. The OP was just wondering if it would be a reasonable request, which people had mixed feeling about.

  4. OP*

    Hi, OP here! It was may idea to ask about the car service; my boyfriend hadn’t even considered asking until I mentioned it. After he saw the responses to the original post he decided not to pursue. Some good news, his boss agreed to let him work from home for the remainder of his time on crutches and helped him set up access to his work computer from his personal computer.
    Alls well that ends well, and thanks for all your input.!

    1. OP*

      oops… “my idea to take a car service”
      As an aside: he broke his leg at a rock climbing gym, which is kind of badass, so no more calling my guy a wuss!
      (since this is the internet, I feel the need to point out that this sarcasm/joking; no hard feelings Another Annon!)

      1. Josh S*

        Dang. As a once-serious-and-hopefully-again rock climber, I don’t even know how you’d break a leg climbing unless you were doing some serious crap–or being stupid (like climbing too high without a belay)… I’ll go for the former and assume your bf fell while doing a sweet toe hook for balance.

  5. Eric*

    I had ankle surgery last year and was on crutches for about three weeks, and then in a boot for three weeks. I was cleared to go back to work after three weeks, and my company, unprompted, offered to pay for a car service for the first two days I was back. I work for a non-profit and I was super surprised they offered!

    After the first day back I was okay not to use the crutches, and wearing a huge boot is a great way to get seats on the subway. :)

  6. Ivy*

    Wait… your college paid for transportation?? That’s unheard of where I’m from… You either make it to those classes or you don’t! Every man and woman for him/herself!

      1. OP*

        Nope, not a sports scholarship. More of a squeaky wheel gets the grease situation – I went to the disability services office, and asked if there was any way they could assist me or had suggestions and they offered the car service.

  7. Rachel*

    I totally misunderstood the headline on this article. I was thinking “so, the reader’s employer broke her boyfriend’s leg, and he wants her employer to pay to get his car washed??” :D

    Talk about “when I nod my head, hit it”. Perhaps a clear speaking course is in order, AAM? :D

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