updates: the coworker hiding a DUI, the stressful coffee system, and more

Here are four updates from people who had their letters answered here in the past.

1. My coworker is hiding her DUI from our employer

I told my boss about what I knew and had overheard the day after your letter was published. Thanks so much for your advice and for giving me the push I needed. My boss took it from there and notified our legal department. She stopped showing up for work and the next week a two line email went out that she was no longer working here. My boss thanked me because her driving when she wasn’t allowed to opened the company up to a huge lawsuit. My coworker no longer had insurance after the accident she caused and with that on her record the company insurance wouldn’t have covered her.

My coworker had her bail revoked after the company tipped off the court. She had been lying to her lawyer and the bail officer. Her lawyer dropped her. Her case was reported on in the back pages of the local news here. A marijuana plant was also found in her house when she was arrested. It’s illegal in any fashion here and was also a violation of her bail because the DWI was from driving stoned on it. The news also reported the sentencing deal she her lawyer had gotten was thrown out and she was given jail for the accident and then charged with felonies for the plant and breaking bail. She had illegally rented a car and driven it to Canada. When she was there, she drove drunk and got stopped and had gotten in trouble temporarily because she blew .05, which is not allowed there. She didn’t tell the court about this either.

I haven’t talked to her since she was arrested. Everything I know about her was in the news. My boss and the company are keeping tight lipped about everything and seem keen to move on. I feel bad for my coworker and hope she gets the help she needs while in jail. The other driver had his car totaled and his collar bone got broken but fortunately he was fine otherwise and was able to go back to work and have her insurance pay for his car. It could have been a lot worse.

I know I did the right thing by telling my boss. Thanks again to you Alison and the commentariat.

2. Our coffee system is stressing me out (#4 at the link)

Thank you so much for printing my question. Your feedback (and the amazing people in the comments!) really justified my frustration and helped me put things in perspective. I’m glad I wasn’t off-base.

Fortunately, my issue was solved — partially through circumstances beyond my control. Soon after my letter, my department was moved to a different floor in the building, and the distance is enough that group lunch plans are much less frequent (when the rare offer is made, I make polite excuses and do my own thing — I don’t offer to get food for anyone, and no one else gets food for me). Best of all, I have a separate exit — I can come and go with very little “parading” of delicious food or drink past co-workers!

As some of the comments deduced, we sometimes used a food delivery app so that no one person had the responsibility of collecting the food, but there always seemed to be one person who ended up with the wrong order/had their order forgotten by the restaurant. The larger the order, the more issues we had! Payment/change was still a challenge as well (why doesn’t everyone do e-transfer now??) I did start to say that I had errands at lunch — worked like a charm! I only had to excuse myself a couple times before it became a non-issue.

All in all, I’m really happy with the new situation – thanks again to you and the wonderful AAM community!

3. Getting info from an unresponsive HR department at my new job (#3 at the link)

I took your advice and reached out to my soon-to-be manager directly and tried my best to use direct but non-accusatory language about still not having details about my start time or on-boarding schedule. She was apologetic and responsive, which put me at ease. I finally heard from HR the Friday before my Monday start date at the very end of the day with a start time and orientation information.

Some of the commenters suggested that this could be a red flag pointing to some dysfunction in the organization, and now that I’ve been on the job for a couple months, I can confirm that is definitely the case- at least with the HR department. There were actually three other new employees that started on the same day I did that all said they had the same frustrating experience with them. We all were disappointed about starting off on a somewhat-bad foot.

The good news is the organization really seems to value feedback, and I’ve been able to share my experience twice now. Once at the end of the two-week on-boarding with the head of operations and once with my direct manager at my 30-day check in. Last week at an all-hands meeting they shared some on-boarding updates, so hopefully my feedback will help make other new employee’s transitions a little smoother.

4. How do I explain a lengthy absence from work after my estranged husband’s suicide? (#4 at the link)

Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone who responded so kindly and sensitively to my post. It really helped to read your replies on what was a very challenging day. I didn’t get the opportunity to ask my manager to relay the information beforehand, but I found a form of words that helped me through; for the first day I mostly stuck to saying “I’ve been on compassionate leave,” when people asked about my absence, which was sufficient to infer that I didn’t want to discuss it further. As the days went on, I gradually told people what had happened when I felt able to (we are a close and supportive team that takes an interest in what’s going on in other’s lives without being intrusive, so it wasn’t weird to do this). One section gave me a lovely card to say how sorry they were, which I still have on my desk. Everyone else gave me space and support. My line manager, who always checks in with me weekly anyway, gave over a portion of our meetings to talk about how I was coping over the next few months, and I continued to receive counseling through work until October this year.

The kids and I are now doing well and looking forward to our first fear-free Christmas.

{ 249 comments… read them below }

  1. Murphy*

    #4: I’m glad your office was so supportive during an an extremely difficult time. I hope you and your children enjoy your Christmas!

    1. SigneL*

      Oh, yes, what a great update! I’m glad things went well for you – and good luck in the future.

    2. Connie-Lynne*

      #4 I was interviewing for a job when my husband died from suicide.

      I’m so glad to hear your team responded kindly. Mine did, too.

  2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #1 …damn. That was a helluva update. I’m glad you spoke up. You may have saved lives helping her off the roads. I also hope she gets the help she needs!

    1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Yeah, I dread to think what could’ve happened if OP concealed this information. I really hope their coworker makes a full recovery.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        And when I say “lives saved”, I mean the former coworker as well. She’s being reckless towards others and that’s the most important reason to speak up but she’s spiraling towards hurting herself with lying and going to Canada to break laws, eeeeek.

      1. Michaela Westen*

        Self-destruction… she’ll keep escalating until she gets hurt, or killed, or put in jail… which already happened… I think OP1 definitely saved a few people here.

    2. designbot*

      yeah I can’t decide if this is the best or worst update. On one hand, LW did the absolute right thing and potentially saved people from harm. On the other hand, it’s a complete sh**show anyway.

        1. JS*

          I dont think she got what she deserved. She could have been going through a rough patch trying to get back on her feet and OP made it that much worse.

          1. Tiffany Aching*

            No, the coworker made her life much worse. Going through a rough patch is no excuse for behavior that can kill people and did put someone in the freaking hospital.

          2. GreenDoor*

            Nah-ah. Don’t blame the OP here. What was the OP supposed to do? Stand by and just say a prayer everytime the coworker took off with a client or someone else? She reported a liability issue for the company. What happened to the coworker was 100% a result of her own choices, none of consequences are because the OP “made it that much worse.”

            Plus, had the employer discovered that OP knew about the DWI issue and not reported it, the OP could have lost their own job over it. The OP did the right thing here.

          3. allthepaper*

            Lots of people go through rough patches WITHOUT *actively* endangering the lives of everyone around them–coworker knowingly broke the law, violated her parole, BROKE THE LAW IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, lied to her company, LIED TO HER LAWYER, etc…because she couldn’t hit the road without a few puffs. I hope she’s banned from driving, pot-smoking, and working for life because she clearly is not responsible enough to handle those privileges. Thank God she didn’t kill anyone but it’s still not fair to the guy she hit that he now has hospital bills and a messed up collarbone (which will likely plague him for life with annoying “oh it must be raining” twinges even after treatment). I’ll save my sympathy for that guy and anyone else that OP’s coworker might have injured (because it’s very possible she has caused property damage and/or injury while driving under the influence before, but only got caught these particular times).

            1. Annonymouse*

              What happened to him was awful, but I don’t think she should be banned from working for life, lol. She made some pretty dumb mistakes with huge repercussions, which he’s paying for. And you don’t know his situation with medical bills. Her insurance might be covering all of that.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Here’s hoping this is the rock bottom the coworker needed to shift into rehab/recovery.

    4. Annonymouse*

      I think after hurting someone she would’ve stopped driving stoned on her own. Reporting her was nosy and ruined her life. Clearly, she was afraid of losing her job, and that’s exactly what happened. Attack away . . .

      1. Recent Anon Lurker*

        I agree coworker made a series of really, really bad choices. The problem is that those bad choices had dangerous and potentially deadly outcomes (mercifully no one was killed, but someone was severely injured when she crashed her car while under the influence), and that means that we as a society have placed severe consequences on those choices. Part of being an adult is accepting that the corners aren’t being padded for us anymore and we now receive the full consequences of our choices – good, bad, or in between. Some of us have been pretty harsh about coworkers bad decision to drive intoxicaded and then lie – but the outcomes could have been so horrible, and those of us that have been the harshest have been the injured party (directly or through family) and we have less tolerance for the really atrociously bad multiple decisions coworker made.
        Yes her life is at the moment ruined, but she made the decisions that caused that ruin – she wasn’t forced to drive intoxicated more that once, or to lie to all involved parties about her actions.

  3. LadyPhoenix*

    Update 1: There are times I wish the commenting system was Disque so that I can post a gif of a jaw drop.

    Holy shit was your coworker just…. fucked up. Like I have none of the synpathies for her and I hope she spends a good time really contemplating her big fuck up behind bars.

    Also, may the victim recover swiftly and painlessly as possible and may the insurance be kind.

    1. Mommy MD*

      Agree. Zero sympathy for someone who behaves so recklessly and hurts people. Also I love Disqus.

      1. Mongrel*

        I could have sympathy for a life error or two, depending on circumstances and as long as no other person was hurt but reading that list…..


  4. MLB*

    #1 – it’s always nice to see someone punished as deserved. I have no sympathy for someone who chooses to get behind the while impaired.

    1. Just Quit My Job 1 Hour Ago*

      Same. My aunt was killed by a drunk driver 9 years ago, the woman who killed her blew a .35 2 hours after the accident and it was not her first DUI. The woman that killed her will be getting out of prison in the next couple months. Driving while impaired is one of the most selfish things that you can do.

      1. To be clear*

        I’m very sorry about your aunt, but to compare blowing a .05, which is below the legal limit in most states, to someone blowing a .35 two hours *after* an accident is a bit of a reach. A .05 BAC is the equivalent of drinking less than a beer.

        1. fposte*

          Only if you’re well under 100 pounds; one drink will get you to about .04 if you weigh 100 lbs. How many units it means will depend on your size, and it’ll take about 4 drinks to get there if you’re, say, 240 pounds. More to the point, the different sizes will mean a different number of drinks to impairment–if you’re small enough that less than a beer will take you up to .05%, you’re small enough that less than a beer is going to make you too impaired to be safe.

          1. Quoth the Raven*

            And regardless of size, some people don’t tolerate alcohol well. I’m 137 pounds, give or take, but I’m talking pretty funny halfway by my second beer — not enough to where I’m drunk, but I wouldn’t trust myself behind a wheel.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              I don’t drink much, I wouldn’t drive for at least an hour after 1. At 2, I just plan to stay put for the night. And I weigh about 200.

              1. GreyjoyGardens*

                I’m a lightweight, even though I’m not especially light in weight. I prefer to not drink at all if I’m driving; if I do want to indulge in fine wine, I’ll get a Lyft or a designated driver. Better safe than sorry. DUI is NO joke. I’m proud of LW #1 for speaking up.

        2. Just Quit My Job 1 Hour Ago*

          I wasn’t trying to compare the two, simply explaining my personal experience with someone drinking and driving. Obviously I realize that someone that drinks two beers and gets behind the wheel is a lot different than someone that drinks a half bottle of vodka at 3:00pm.

          1. Gerald*

            Please try to ignore that other comment as it seems quite reasonable to compare the two – in both cases the driver continued to make decisions which clearly threatened lives. This employee may have been caught at .05 in this particular case, but she may have also been high at the time (Canada has a lot of cannabis), or may have been on her way to drink more. She clearly made a large number of bad decisions which endangered others, same as happened with your aunt. I am so sorry for your loss.

            1. JSPA*

              This is pretty hypothetical. People who sometimes drive impaired can crash when they’re sober, too.

              As can anyone, of course.

              But someone who makes bad decisions when impaired, and also makes bad decisions–or finds themselves not-in-control–as far as deciding to drink or use (a process that starts with a decision taken while sober) may also be problematically impulsive in other ways, when sober.

            2. Trouble*

              Canada has had legal cannabis since late October. I don’t think it would have had any more than the US at the time of the first letter…

                1. Gerald*

                  And many Canadian cities had shops selling cannabis prior to the legalisation, so in quite a few places it would have been very easy to access. Likely much easier than some US states…

        3. mark132*

          This would perhaps be remotely relevant if this were the only detail in the story relating to this coworkers reckless disregard of other’s safety. But this is just a single detail of many.

        4. Coder von Frankenstein*

          The .05 (which is about two and a half beers for a typical person, BTW) was only one example. She also hit another driver, while high on pot, and put that person in the hospital with a broken collarbone.

          She sounds like a piece of work. I don’t wish her ill, but I’m glad she’s off the streets for a bit. Here’s hoping she gets her act together.

          1. teclatrans*

            Right, the .05 was something she hid when she got jailed for causing an accident, one which injured another driver. (I can see why she would hide it, it has implications for the nature of her sentence/potential parole.)

        5. Observer*

          It doesn’t really matter how much you need to drink to get there – you do NOT get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had enough to drink to affect you!

        6. LadyCop*

          There is a reason BAC alone does not dictate impairment…and why the law allows for a two hour window. You clearly understand neither.

          Please stop talking nonsense of which you have no experience.

          1. GreenDoor*

            Right on Lady Cop – the law is the law. It doesn’t matter how much your individual body can handle. The coworker was over the legal limit, lost her license to drive, was driving anyway, putting the employer at risk of legal issues. Her BAC or her weight or her ability to handle potare irrelevant.

        7. Gen*

          She blew a .05 while uninsured and illegally driving a car in another country while out on bail for crashing a car while high on a drug that’s illegal in her state. She didn’t just have one beer, she had one beer at the end of a massively chain of reckless behaviour. She shouldn’t have been in that drivers seat in the first place regardless of one beer or many! The beer just made it worse and then she concealed that from the court as well. She was precious impaired enough to leave a guy with a broken collarbone. How many tines did she drive impaired enough to potentially kill someone and just got lucky?

      2. Lilo*

        It means she drank before getting in a car, after she had already had a DUI. Someone who was taking their DUI seriously would not do that.

          1. fposte*

            And if it means that you can’t drive because you’re impaired at less than a full drink, then you can’t drive; them’s the breaks. There’s no right to drive impaired just because your BAC took less to elevate than somebody bigger.

    2. President Porpoise*

      I was rear-ended by a drunk driver once. No one was injured, thankfully, but I was telling my coworkers about it the next day, and they were all like “Oh, I do that al the time! Never been arrested! No big deal! So funny!” I was horrified and lost all respect.

      She had a baby seat (but thankfully no baby) in the back seat, blew well over double the legal limit, and had her lawyer on speed dial. She had no insurance. She failed to show up for court, and we had to eat the cost of the minor damages to our car – when we were both working barely-over-minimum-wage jobs.

      It could have been so much worse, like in OP’s ex-coworker’s victim’s case, but I’m so glad OP said something. Those people shouldn’t be allowed on the roads.

      1. Dragoning*

        I had a friend relate a “Funny story” about how her aunt slouches all over the wheel when she’s drunk, isn’t’ that SILLY, what a SILLY way to drive and did not expect me to go “Why is she driving while drunk?

      2. Can't Think of a Name*

        The Try Guys (YouTubers) did a series on impaired driving where they did 5 trial runs on a closed course: 1 sober, 1 drunk, 1 stoned, 1 while texting, and 1 while sleep deprived. It was very educational and entertaining, and made them (and other watchers) re-evaluate their driving habits. I highly recommend it!

        1. OhNo*

          I also loved that series! I even made a point to send the links to some of my family members who are always conscientious enough to take an Uber after drinking, but think nothing of driving around while texting, or after days of no sleep.

        2. JessaB*

          Yeh, Mythbusters did one too. Varying levels of booze and how much time between, when they were tired, pretty much the same concept and until you watch things like that and the Try Guys you don’t get how very little it takes to make your driving completely erratic.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          They did a great video comparing their BAC to their levels of impairment. It was really helpful.

      3. Gerald*

        I feel very lucky. Only twice have I been around someone who I felt should not be driving despite their belief that they should, and in both situations we (as friends) resolved it by buying them another drink and ensuring that they took a taxi home. I am lucky to be part of a community which is very much against impaired driving.

        1. Recent Anon Lurker*

          While in college I ran into that a few times, all but one batch were talked out of driving. The batch that couldn’t be talked out of it – they were all at a house for a party, and when I realized what they were going to do I distracted them and froze their (all completely non-electronic) car keys in a bowl of water and left a note in “pig Latin” giving them a clue to finding their keys. I also left really shortly thereafter (I hadn’t touched a drop because of some medication I was on at the time). They were pissed the next morning – but I got three thank yous a few days later when they had thought it all through.

      4. Mommy MD*

        My SUV was hit head on by a drunk who was driving 90 mph and had 17 empty beer bottles in the car. 3:30 in the afternoon. He ran and left his unconscious passenger for dead. Helicopters and dogs caught him. It was his second in less than a year. Two people had already called 911 before he hit me. Months recovering from injuries. These drunk people are a menace to society and don’t give a phuk. Glad you are ok.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          OMG that is horrifying. I’m so sorry it took so long to recover, but thank goodness you survived. I don’t understand how often the only people who seem not to be severely injured in these accidents is the person driving drunk.

          1. t.i.a.s.p.*

            I read somewhere it’s because they are more relaxed so they roll with the forces of the impact, I guess.

        2. Former Employee*

          Amazing that you survived. I hope the passenger in the other vehicle did, too.

          Completely agree with you that people who drive while impaired (or distracted, for that matter) are exhibiting reckless disregard for the lives of others.

      5. CoveredInBees*

        I hope it never happens to you again, but if it does, most (if not all) states have uninsured and underinsured motorist funds to help people like you in situations like that. I’ve never had to access it but I know both funds exist in the state of New Jersey.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          My son was killed by an impaired driver. There is a fund here (Washington state) that gave me a little bit of money.

          1. Former Employee*

            My condolences on the loss of your son.

            As Liz said, money doesn’t really compensate you for such a tragedy, but I hope it helped with the kinds of expenses that unfortunately come up at such a time.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      A friend of ours had her car shoved under a big-rig trailer by a drunk driver (at 7:00 in the morning, fleeing another, less-serious accident). Fortunately, the back of her seat collapsed and instead of being killed instantly, her leg was crushed. She was in recovery for almost a year and the stress broke up her marriage.

      I have exactly zero humor about drunk driving.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        I have zero humor about crappy driving in general. A little over a year ago, some idiot wasn’t paying attention and pulled out to accelerate across a lane and smashed into the side of my car. I have chronic whiplash and back pain, plus nerve damage in my arm. All because this guy decided not to look where he was going. Now I straight up give people hell when they laugh about driving recklessly. I was a distance hiker before I got hit. Now I have chronic widespread pain and everything is a struggle.

        1. AKchic*

          I feel you there. I have permanent spine damage from a “minor” car accident that totaled my vehicle 14 years ago. I’ve had multiple neck surgeries and need fusion. It took me almost 5 years to settle the case, and because the business who’s driver hit me had a big legal department (and money), I ended up with very little. It didn’t even cover my existing medical bills.
          I did refuse to sign an NDA, though, so GCI can sit on a cactus.

          1. Jennifer85*

            That’s awful, I’m so sorry. Especially given they could presumably have afforded a bigger payout!

            (I looked up GCI just to hate on them).

    4. Temperance*

      Same. My aunt and her best friend were killed by a habitual drunk driving loser, who will likely be getting out of prison next summer. 7-15 years for taking two good, productive lives. Disgusting.

    5. Lilo*

      I have a cousin who was killed by a drunk driver. Someone who continues to violate leaves the law no choice but to lock them up.

    6. Cherry Sundae*

      The son of a family friend got drunk at a party and did the responsible thing, i.e., called someone sober to pick him up. They were hit and killed by a drunk driver on the way home.

          1. Recent Anon Lurker*

            But the legal limit is not standard across the US. In Utah the legal limit is .05 (there are lots of other odd laws around alcohol here as well). It could be that parts of Canada are the same with differing legal limits.

          2. Canadian here*

            In many parts of Canada, blowing a .05 gets your licence suspended and your car impounded. So while .08 gets you a court charge, .05 is still a penalty

            1. This is She*

              Yup, also Canadian (Vancouver). The .05 penalty is called an “administrative driving penalty” or ADP, and they are issued roadside by the police. They impound your car on the spot and fines start at $1000. However, it is not a criminal charge. many people here oppose them as being unconstitutional, given that you are tried, sentenced and punished by a cop on the side of the road, without due process, and they have been found to be in error enough times that they can’t be relied upon.

              1. Chinookwind*

                The Supreme Court ruled, though, that doing road side testing, though unconstitutional, is worth it for the greater good because of how many people are driving drunk. As a result, cops will soon no longer need a reason for a breathalyzer and taking a drink after an accident but before blowing will no longer nullify the results (both of which were enacted because habitual drunk drivers rarely show external signs of intoxication or know the tricks that will get the tests nulled in court).

            2. Chinookwind*

              Plus there is the whole entering Canada with a record that would have made you inadmissible if they knew about it at the border thing.

              As well, you can still be arrested and/or licensed suspended for being impaired without reaching the legal limit if you show signs that you are not in any shape to be driving that covers things like being high, too tired, etc.

              1. fposte*

                Yup, same in the U.S. And of course following a conviction it’s often forbidden for somebody with a DUI to have any alcohol at all, hence interlock devices.

              2. Dove*

                Yeah, if the “illegally rented a car and got arrested for DWI in Canada” happened after the co-worker got out on bail for the first DWI? That’s going to get her *banned* from entering Canada for decades; you can’t enter with a DWI on your record unless it’s over 10 years old, and lying to customs will get you banned from entering for anywhere from weeks to months if they find out about it, depending on how serious the lie is.

                Plus, if I’m remembering right, I think the police tend to be a bit harder on tourists who’re driving while impaired than locals – locals don’t get a pass, but tourists are more likely to get arrested for blowing enough to make it clear that they’re impaired. But I’m going off of fuzzy memories from back when I lived in the Niagara region, where we got a *lot* of American tourists who would come to see the Falls or the Christmas lights or whatever was going on seasonally, and then drink a lot while they were here, and the police tended to have very little humour left for it.

            3. sheworkshardforthemoney*

              We also have constant RIDE checkpoints going on at this time of year. No one in this day and age can plead ignorance about the dangers of drinking and driving. LW did the right thing, considering the co-worker’s actions it was only a matter of time before an even more horrific accident happened.

              1. Quoth the Raven*

                We do the equivalent to RIDE down here (Mexico City). There’s a lot of idiots who take to Twitter to warn others about the location of the checkpoints because they think it’s nothing serious.

        1. fposte*

          9 provinces impose administrative penalties at .05, so I’m guessing that’s what the OP was referring to.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Word up.

          “They didn’t mean to to it”, I don’t give a naked rat’s patootie: They drank, drove, and killed somebody. I’m over it. Alcoholism is a disease? Fine. My cousin’s wife can’t drive because she has epilepsy and is at high risk of having seizure behind the wheel. She happens to be a responsible person who won’t drive without one, but if other people aren’t, I am a-ok with removing them from the streets.

          1. Chinookwind*

            To paraphrase Canadian MP (and former police chief) Bill Blair, you are making a “criminal choice to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

            1. AKchic*

              You may be impaired, but you still have the agency to make the choice to stay out of the driver seat.

              1. RUKiddingMe*

                I think after X amount (varies by individual) you don’t have the ability to make that judgement though.

                I’ve never have been a drinker. IIRC the last time I had any alcohol was about five years ago, on vacation where I shared a couple bottles of wine with my niece and her sister-in-law (both twice the legal age).

                The thing is we planned for the night. We were at my niece’s house (where I was staying) and her SIL was there for the entire (over) night.

                We ordered in and when someone needed something…I can’t remember what it was now…we sent her husband, a teetotaler out.

                We planned ahead while still stone cold sober. Planned to not drive. This is my biggest problemvwith impaired drivers. They have the ability to say “ok I’m gonna get wasted. Let me hide my keys and plan to take Uber.” Then they get drunk and feel 10 feet tall and bulket proof.

                1. LKW*

                  But other countries have significantly lower rates of drunk driving because it’s understood that a night of drinking, even a little, means no driving. You simply would not consider getting behind the wheel because the consequences are too significant.

                2. Michaela Westen*

                  Other countries have trains and transit. Most of America is car-dependent. So drunk or not, the only way to get home is driving…

          2. JSPA*

            Well put. I do wish, however, that good public transportation were more universal, for the many who’d be better off not having the option of driving. When people are willing to do the responsible thing for the common good, it’s good policy to meet them part-way.

            1. Michaela Westen*

              Yes, it would be. I haven’t studied all of it, but here and there I’ve seen references to American towns that discontinued their street car and bus services, and cross-country trains, because in the early and mid-1900’s car companies lobbied for more roads and less transit so everyone was (and is) forced to buy a car.
              Thanks, car companies, for the destruction of drunk drivers, for keeping poor people poor because they have to pay for a car and all it’s associated costs, pollution, making the rust belt dependent on one industry, and misc. other destruction… but none of that matters because it made you rich, right? :/

  5. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Some heavy, but positive updates today.

    #1 – good for you for doing the right thing.

    #4 – best wishes to you and your kids for a wonderful Christmas!

    #2 – glad things worked out for you!

    #3 – please update again in a few months and let us know if they have actually implemented the new onboarding things.

  6. Just Quit My Job 1 Hour Ago*

    To OP4, I am so sorry to hear about your loss and the entire ordeal. I am glad that you and the kids are doing alright and that your workplace has been so kind when you were dealing with everything. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way during the holiday season. If you are ever having a bad day or start dwelling on things, I like to read the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, it always helps me whenever I am having a difficult time.

  7. AdAgencyChick*

    OP1, you haven’t mentioned this, but I hope you’re not feeling at all like you did anything bad to your coworker.

    Your coworker brought this on herself, and your actions have probably saved some lives by preventing her from going out and doing the same thing again.

    1. Dove*

      Yeah, your coworker absolutely brought this on herself, OP1. You don’t *accidentally* hide from the court that you’re violating your probation. And you don’t *accidentally* rent a car, illegally or otherwise, and then drive to another country and get drunk and get arrested for driving under the influence.

      These are actions which were deliberate, and which indicate that she *really* doesn’t take the whole thing seriously. If you hadn’t informed your boss, your coworker would have gotten someone killed sooner or later.

  8. Adlib*

    #2 – Yes, why DON’T people use e-transfer of some sort? I now do that in some fashion with almost all of my service providers and some friends!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      I guess for context, 7% of Americans have no bank account all – it’s as high as 20% in certain cities.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            That’s awfully pedantic, and since credit unions perform the function of a bank, it’s a completely unnecessary distinction.

            1. Engineer Girl*

              I don’t think so. The level of protection in a credit union is different than a bank. Just like the level protection is different with various apps, credit cards, etc.

              The security is different.

              1. Someone Else*

                Sure but you were responding to something the context of which was e-transfer and whatnot. A person with a checking account with a credit union can Venmo or electronic-billpay just as easily as someone with a checking account with a bank. So, while the distinction you cite is true, I’m not sure it makes a difference in this specific context?

              2. Not Today*

                Uh, no. My credit union does bill payments, accepts direct deposits, and transfers fund in from and out to my “bank” account. I don’t know what you mean by the security is different, but my account has never been breached in 25 years. It’s definitely a distinction without a “meaningful” difference.

              3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

                Not really–FDIC and NCUA are pretty much the same. Regs are the same. Credit Unions are regulated like banks.

              4. Sylvan*

                Do you mind if I ask what you call your account at the credit union? I also use a credit union that’s pretty popular in my area, and nobody speaks about its basic services differently than, say, Wells Fargo.

            2. JSPA*

              Banks and credit unions are becoming far more similar, but for many years C.U.’s were blocked by various laws / statutes from offering equivalent services. So it doesn’t go without saying that they now can participate in the various e-transfer schemes.

        1. mark132*

          I would be surprised if the 7% stat made a distinction between banks and credit unions. I have a credit union account as well, and I would answer yes to a question asking me if I have a bank account.

          1. Recent Anon Lurker*

            I’m with a credit union now, and would consider those accounts a bank account for a generic survey.

        2. Jennifer Thneed*

          Nitpicky. We’re talking about being able to use e-payment, and lots of people use “bank account” as a generic.

          I, too, use a credit union rather than a bank, but I still talk about going to the bank, and it’s just because “credit union” takes longer to say. And “savings and loan”? Forget it.

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I don’t do transfers like that. I honestly don’t believe they’re secure. I won’t even log in to my bank account online anywhere but my home and I do not use their mobile banking app. I had LOADS of issues with my account being compromised and all the security advice I’ve read is to essentially never give your account number to anyone for any reason. If I need to pay something that won’t take a credit card and I don’t have cash, I’ll use our online bill-pay through the bank and it will either transfer the funds if they’re set up to accept that or mail them a check (which doesn’t have my account number or routing number on it).

      That said, I’m happy to float something on my card (which I pay off every month) until someone pays me back, and can afford to do so.

      1. SoJo*

        But your account number is absolutely on your check. Anytime you write a physical check to someone it has your account number and routing number on it.

        1. Not Today*

          I’ve never seen a personal check without this information, how else would it be paid? Unless the poster is referring to a cashier’s check or money order.

        2. pleaset*


          But I avoid transfers through companies such as Venmo and Paypal because I simply don’t trust them. Plus don’t have a smart phone and will not login to banking systems except from my home computer.

          I don’t trust my bank much either, but am trying to keep the number of institutions involved as low as possible.

          1. kitryan*

            I also don’t use these companies because it’s only come up about once a year for me (I’m pretty self sufficient) and I don’t want to give access/sign up with a company that I will be using so infrequently. I’m happy to use any of the bill pay or transfer services that my bank already provides, to write a personal check, or take cash out of the ATM. I will also accept all of these. But I’m not signing up for Venmo. And I think PayPal has behaved unethically on many occasions and I don’t want to support them if I can avoid it.

        3. Frank Doyle*

          I think Amy means that when she uses online billpay, the BANK will issue a check, if the receiving party won’t take an electronic transfer.

          1. bonkerballs*

            Account number and routing number will still be on the checks that are sent from the bank. I process those all the time at work.

            1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

              Some banks issue these checks from the bank’s accounts–they take the money, cut a check drawn on the bank, and go from there. The customer’s name appears on the check but the account is the banl’s account.

            2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              It’s not the customer’s account number. It’s a clearing house.

              These checks automatically clear your account as a holder. That way you’re not waiting for Jumbo’s Mechanics to make their weekly, monthly, every 25 day whatever, bank drop.

            3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              You also can’t see if they’re cashed. I’ve had a lot of them lost in the mail. It is wonderful because the bank can’t charge you a stop payment charge if it’s their payment check lost.

              These come from 3rd party facilities. I get checks from multiple banks, multiple accounts, in one envelop often.

        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Ugh, ask me about the time someone stool my checking account number and routing number from a check and tried to buy $700+ of online swag with it. It was shockingly easy, and I am still leery that it was so easy to steal from my checking account.

          1. Mommy MD*

            So sorry! I won’t use physical checks for purchases now. Only if I need them for some random thing like the DMV.

      2. Observer*

        Physical checks are one of the most INSECURE ways to handle money. And, handing your CC to anyone is another – especially if they keep slips or take the card elsewhere (as in the case of many eateries, for instance.)

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Using any of these services run through the exact same merchant services setups as your credit card do. That’s why a debit card is set up with a MC or Visa logo. You’re protected by the same securities.

        Businesses still use checks and now a lot of ACH and payment platforms. I’ve had one card in 15 years become compromised. I saw it within 24hrs thanks to mobile apps and disputed it immediately. It was a painless process with no cost involved to the customer.

        1. DArcy*

          There is one big difference: you have a lot more legal protection against fraudulent purchases with a credit card versus a debit card.

    3. Recent Anon Lurker*

      Can’t speak for everybody, but my current and former bank charged a 15 to 20 percent fee for those e-transfers if it was going to somebody else’s account (the higher fee was for a transfer to another bank). Sorry, but I’m not going to do a transfer if I have to pay that much to do it.

        1. Recent Anon Lurker*

          Never heard of Venmo, but the previous one was A big bank that has been in the news a lot for all the wrong reasons, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if outside services were banned so they could have you use their system and earn them a fee.

          1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

            It’s free for transfers from your bank (up to some fairly ridiculous amount- my sister uses it to pay rent to her landlord), and charges 3% interest on credit cards. It’s worth looking into if you’re comfortable with having money-related things on your phone and transfer money between friends regularly- I really like it, anyway!

            1. aebhel*

              Yeah, that’s pretty much my issue. I don’t have good enough data security habits to have that kind of thing on my phone, and experience suggests that I’m not likely to develop them anytime soon.

      1. Observer*

        PayPal is another service that doesn’t charge and allows transfers to and from you bank for free.

        If your bank doesn’t allow a service like Zelle (which works with about a dozen banks that I know of) and doesn’t allow free transfers in and out of at least one service like Venmo, PayPal of CashApp, you should SERIOUSLY start looking at other banks or Credit Unions.

    4. KayEss*

      I don’t because I’ve never really needed it. It means I usually just bow out of group payment situations like the OP is describing, but those don’t come up often for me… if I was in an office where that was the culture and I wanted to participate, I’d probably get it set up.

      1. KayEss*

        Oh, I forgot I do use one to pay my rent, because my landlord starting having trouble with reliable mail delivery (my rent check got lost in the mail three times, even when sent directly from the bank). It costs a buck per transfer, regardless of the amount… not a huge deal for monthly rent, but that would get old pretty fast on $10 lunch orders.

    5. Antilles*

      I think it really depends on the circle of people you deal with. I’ve never used any of the apps and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done e-transfers to individuals…and each time, that was a direct bank-to-bank transfer for a several hundred-dollar thing like a shared hotel room or splitting a fee for a resort.
      However, I’ve also never really been in a situation where I’ve had to worry about it – I have no hesitation about asking for separate checks, my friend group always has people pay for their own stuff, and I always carry a few bucks of petty cash to cover if there’s something minor like a parking fee or whatever.

      1. aebhel*

        Same. I don’t even know how they work, and I have no desire to learn. I just split checks or carry cash if I’m going out with friends.

      2. katrinka*

        Yeah, I recognize it as a mark of being An Old, but I don’t know anyone over the age of 30-ish who is Venmo-ing anything. I always make sure to carry some cash for reasons like this.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          Oh please. I’m in my 60s and I have it.

          Different people have different abilities in technology. It’s not necessarily age dependent.

          1. Mommy MD*

            Tell her EG! Sheesh. I’m insulted lol!

            Maybe I should look into getting one of those big number cell phones.

          2. Antilles*

            I wouldn’t even call it “abilities in technology”. I’m in my early 30’s and have been dealing with computers and technology since practically the day I was born (shoutout to MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.1 for Workgroups).
            The reason I don’t bother with Venmo is just that it’s not something that’s particularly relevant to my life. I haven’t run into a situation yet where I’ve needed it; the very few times that I’m out with friends and we can’t each pay individually, it’s easy enough to either toss in a few bucks of cash or the tried-and-true “I’ll get the next round” system.

        2. doreen*

          You do now- I’m 55 and I mostly have Venmo for transferring money to/from my kids because I only know one other person my age who has it. Although I will say neither she nor I are using it in situations where the alternative is separate checks (because the other old people don’t have it) She uses it to send money to her son who is away at college and I use it mostly to collect my kids’ share of the cell phone bill or to reimburse them for something they picked up for me.

        3. katrinka*

          I apologies for making age-assumptions–in my family and workplace it’s predominately the younger cohort who never carry cash and are amazed that I don’t want an app all up in my checking account. I’m not all that much older than they are, but I’d still rather hand you a Hamilton than Venmo anything.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Cash is filthy. It is also difficult to track. I can fight if someone steals my card and tries to use it. I’ll get the money back. I have done it. I’ll tell anyone who’s scammed to do it.

            As an accountant, I’ll promise you cash is not safe nor the best choice if security is an issue. Wait until you’re found with a counterfeit Hamilton.

            1. JSPA*

              News google, [Venmo millions fake payments fraud] Someone getting Venmo access to your account can drain a lot more than that Hamilton. See also today’s article, “SC woman’s account drained through popular payment sharing app.” (not linking, to avoid posting delay)

            2. Michaela Westen*

              I use cash for weekly shopping because it’s convenient. However, the main reason I use it is to keep from making the card companies richer.
              Card companies charge the merchant for each card transaction. I saw the suggestion to use cash to counter this on FB a few years ago and have been doing it ever since.
              It also makes my checkbook easier to balance with much fewer debit card entries!
              One of the chain burger places here went “cashless” in the past year. They promote it as cleaner and better for managing their stores.
              UH-huh. It also shuts out customers who don’t have cards, runs up their card fees, and confuses the employees when I ask for an order of fries and a glass of water. They don’t know what to do when the total is less than the card minimum.

              1. Michaela Westen*

                I would have stopped eating there, but it’s one of the few restaurants that doesn’t cook with the oil I’m allergic to.

              2. Recent Anon Lurker*

                I do the same because it makes it very easy to stick to my grocery budget for the month. It can be easy to run up a bill when it’s on a card, but at least for me I’m much more aware when I have to hand over cash.

            1. vonlowe*

              If you are outside the US, then that’s why as it only operates within the US (might be N.America instead I dunno)

        4. Observer*

          Well, I don’t use Venmo – but that’s because I use PayPal and my Bank’s app, and I have Google Pay set up. I don’t remember the last time I used a paper check – I know we have some in the house, but I never use them. I do still use cash for very small purchases, and my physical CC for in store shopping.

          1. nym*

            I do! I write paper checks every year for the cats’ rabies licenses, because they charge a $3 fee (on a $10 license) for electronic payment of any kind. So it costs me $10 plus a stamp instead of $13.

            …but I’m still using a checkbook I got in 2008, because I don’t have THAT many cats.

            1. Jennifer Thneed*

              I was just thinking “but do you have to pay for the checks?” and I got to your last line.

              Cracked me up!

              1. On a pale mouse*

                I work at a place that sells money orders, and they’re free for employees. So now even though I have a checking account, I just use money orders for the few times I need paper checks. Because dang, checks have gotten expensive.

                1. Michaela Westen*

                  I order checks from Checks.com or Checks Unlimited and they’re around $13/box… Doesn’t seem that expensive to me? I think they have “premium” lines that cost more, or banks charge more if you get checks from them?
                  I use paper checks to pay bills because if I pay online they won’t send me paper statements, and I’m not maintaining a printer at home or printing them on my employer’s printer. It pisses me off that these companies are too cheap to print their own statements!
                  I deal with two that don’t even include return envelopes. One is a very rich company that gouges customers any way it can.

        5. The Man, Becky Lynch*


          35 and my 41 yr old friend had me set up Venmo when I babysat for her.

          My partner is 32 and has to pay his rent with Venmo.

          I’ve had Paypal since it started. I pay lots of subscriptions with it.

    6. Engineer Girl*

      My credit union has a bill pay function that is secure. I sign up the person/institute and then they bill my account. The credit union then pays the bill.

      That said, with cash back credit cards I now put almost everything on my card.

      1. Recent Anon Lurker*

        My credit union has an online bill pay function, which is also what we use for most of our bills. We also only have one card that we use for online shopping (instead of cash back we get quarterly deposits into our children’s college fund), and this card has a virtual card function for use online.
        We had PayPal at one time, but the hassle when they took money from us for a fake purchase (it was linkedto a CC, we ended up having to go thru them because PayPal just shut us out and refused to even talk to us about the fraud) made us close that service account. I have no more patience or trust in these online transfer apps or their security.

    7. CatCat*

      I won’t allow external companies access to my checking account, that’s why. If they screw up, I’m the one without money in my account. It’s happened before. Never again. I only needed to learn that lesson once.

      1. Recent Anon Lurker*

        Yup – I had enough troubles with that with prior “big bank” that caused me to leave them (and I was only a customer because they bought the smaller really good customer service bank I had been with and was “grandfathered” into their system).

      2. RaccoonMama*

        I currently have Venmo set up so I can pay people from my credit card, but if they pay me it goes into the app as Venmo credit. If I wanted to connect it to my bank account and send that credit I could, but I don’t want it to have all that information. So I just use my “credit” to pay back other people. Basically it’s like any website that has credit card information….so if I notice fishy behavior it’s on the card not my whole account and it’ll be easier to fix. No problems as of yet (knock on wood).

      3. kitryan*

        Yeah, I’ll send out checks from my account but I don’t authorize any auto withdrawals. I’ll only do that on a card so I can cancel the card if there’s a problem.

    8. So long and thanks for all the fish*

      Yeah, this is one of my favorite things about the modern world. I’m 27 and have never had a checkbook, and never carry cash. Lately I’ve even been using my phone to pay when I get lunch, so I don’t even have to carry my wallet. This might not be the best long-term strategy, but for now when I don’t have much to protect anyway, I’m going to take advantage of the convenience.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        I always keep some cash on hand in case of a disaster. Smaller bills better, as people have a hard time making change.

        If the electricity goes out you’re toast.

        1. Professional Merchandiser*

          Amen to that. I was working out of town one day and went to Popeye’s for lunch. Just as I handed the cashier my debit card, their whole system shut down. Didn’t have any cash, and they didn’t want to accept an out-of-town check (for $6.00!!) I was friends with the manager, but he happened to be off that day. I was trying to convince them to call him to vouch for me when a kind gentleman in line behind me offered to pay for me. (He was probably tired of waiting!!) :) I offered to write him a check for it, but he told me to just pay it forward. (I did!! several times!!)

      2. Michaela Westen*

        Every time you pay for something, the credit card or app gets a cut from the merchant. They are already filthy rich. Don’t make them even richer!

    9. LadyCop*

      Because there are 800 different companies that all want to do some sort of 2 or 3 step auth and ain’t nobody got time for that! It’s Zelle, or I don’t use it.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Everyone talking about security risk and then the slide in from the “NO TIME TO GET A TEXT CODE FIRST!”

        I love the internet.

      2. WellRed*

        I have 2 roommates. One pays me via PayPal, the other. Zelle. Zelle is soooo much more user friendly and fast. This is all very new for me. Age 48.

  9. Recent Anon Lurker*

    The co-worker in update one makes me slightly sick. I hope that she gets help for her issues – but the pessimist in me isn’t overly hopeful since she thought that hiding the issue and not being honest with the court we’re good ideas.
    For context I’ve been rear-ended twice. The second time was possibly a distracted by phone issue. However the first time the driver tried to pass a revoked out of state liscense as valid, and the responding officer called for backup (and a tox screen). Both times I and all the surrounding traffic were stopped at red lights, that the other driver didn’t stop for……. I really have no patience for distracted/impaired drivers.

    1. Bend & Snap*

      I got rear ended by a texting whippersnapper last year. I told the officer I saw her texting, which is illegal in my state, and he just went “meh.” I don’t even think she got a ticket. I got whiplash though, so that was fun.

      OP #1, you did the right thing. Anyone who is so casual about a DWI and drives as part of their job is too big a risk.

      1. Knitting Cat Lady*

        Over here you see people of all ages texting while cycling.

        And once I saw a woman at the wheel who had the phone in one hand, a sandwich in the other, and a cigarette in her mouth. Yeah.

        If I’m in the passenger seat and my dad starts fiddling with the electronics I demand that he gives whatever gadget to me so I can do whatever.

        1. Christmas Carol*

          Was inching along the highway in a traffic jam one time, glanced over at the lane to my right and saw a woman playing a violin while behind the wheel. Wish I had thought to snap a pic. In all fairness, we were creeping along at about .5 mph.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            The radio station asked about this stuff before. “Weirdest thing you’ve seen in traffic”. Ask a long haul driver that some day. They see it all!!!

            Someone noted seeing someone playing a guitar. So violin isn’t shocking to me lol

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I knew someone who worked on his laptop while driving down a 4-lane highway. And not in California stop-and-go-2-miles-an-hour traffic; this was at 70 miles an hour.

        2. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

          I’m guilty of texting while cycling – never ever ever in city traffic though!

        3. NewMom*

          A texting cyclist ran a red light AND HIT MY F-ING BABY IN A STROLLER. Baby was fine, thankfully, and the cyclist actually yelled at me to watch where I was going. I don’t know what the cops did, because by the time they were talking to him, I was in an ambulance with my kid.
          A-holes gonna a-hole.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            In my old neighborhood cyclists were a huge hazard. Stupid hipsters think they’re too cool to stop at stop signs or red lights. Never mind the 10 people trying to cross the street, or that they could get hit by a car and killed. Stupid jerks are too cool to worry about all that. :/

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Sadly legally an officer must witness the texting personally to issue a citation.

        If you call in a DUI after seeing someone pound 96 Jaeger bombs and climb into the car. If they’re not found with keys in the ignition, the charges won’t stick. If they beat the officer home and pass out in their grass. No charge. They pass out in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, possible charge but still depends on the judge.

        1. Chinookwind*

          Ooohhh…that isn’t the same everywhere. In Canada, if you are in the car with no one else, you are deemed in control of it regardless of where the keys are (though, if you lock them in the trunk and are sleeping in the back seat, you may get a pass). And eye witness testimony (if they are willing to go to court) also works.

          Basically, our laws are being developed to close every loop hole that chronic offenders seem to crawl through.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            It depends on the area, cop and judge honestly.

            A friend had a drunken brawl with a sibling. Sibling took off in his car, knock down drunk. The responding officer didn’t care, didn’t go to look if he was swerving on the interstate or anything. He was angry he had to respond to a domestic dispute.

            In the metro area I live in, you’re lucky if a cop responds at all. Let alone tracks someone home or otherwise to try to catch them.

            I can see this being used to lock up a small town notorious drunk though :( the police will need to have an axe to grind though. Then they’ll have to really want a guy off the streets.

            1. Nobby Nobbs*

              I’m sorry, that was overly sarcastic for such a complicated and emotionally charged issue.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          NYS has a law that if you have ANY electronic device in your hand it is assumed you are using it. Here all the officer has to do is see you holding something electronic. He does not have to figure out if you are using it. So people try “It fell off the console and was sliding on the floor. I had to pick it up.” Too bad, how sad. Pull over, then pick it up. People also try, “but it’s not a cell phone” again this does not work out because the law says ANY electronic device. So people will say “but I was using my Device That is Not A Cell” excuse and in that sentence they just confessed to breaking the law.

          Since most drivers I see have a cell in their hands we have a long way to go here. Dead people are just as dead if they are hit by a drunk driver or a cell phone user. There’s no varying degrees of dead. The only thing I can see to do is we, as individuals, need to tell those around us to put their phones away while driving. We can refuse to talk to someone on the phone if they are driving, etc. We have to build a culture where people get the same message coming in from every angle.

          It’s tough. I have spoken up when friends drive recklessly, I have spoken up when friends use their phones, I am not real popular with these people. They think of me as the nervous passenger at best. It’s not a popular thing to say. But the more people saying it the better the point will be heard.

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            > So people try “It fell off the console and was sliding on the floor. I had to pick it up.”

            Duh! That’s exactly how my sister hit a tree. It wasn’t a phone, it was a cassette tape, but they slide across the floor just the same. So using that argument is just stupid, regardless of the law.

          2. Jessica*

            This is a great point. I admit I talk on the phone (not text) while driving. I have one friend who is firmly against it; she doesn’t do it and will end a call ASAP if she realizes the other party is driving. Consequently, I try not to call her from the car, not to talk on the phone when she’s in the car with me, and generally I’m a notch more conscious about it because she exists in my life. She doesn’t give me hell about it, and obviously I haven’t seen the light and completely reformed, but her influence is a force pushing me a little further in that direction than where I’d otherwise be. If all my friends were like her, I’d probably never use the phone in the car.
            So never think your influence has no effect, or that you have to be aggressively crusading to have any effect, or that anyone who doesn’t immediately adopt your ways completely disagrees and is unaffected by you. The ways we influence each other are subtler than that.

  10. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    The kids and I are now doing well and looking forward to our first fear-free Christmas.

    This line made me so emotional. Wishing you and your children all the best and many good things to come. Thank you for updating us.

    1. Ginny Weasley*

      Yes, this was the line that really hit me too. What a hard (years long) situation, but what a beautiful way to look at this Christmas.

    2. sometimeswhy*

      Yep. This. Gulp.

      OP4 – thank you and I hope you have many, many lovely holidays going forward.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, really.
      OP, I hope your holiday is such that you and the kids find yourselves smiling the entire time.
      I wish you and yours the absolute best going forward.

  11. Preggers*

    #1 Thank you for saving live!. I know this was hard and I’m sure difficult to see what your former coworker has since gone through. But I’m so glad you alerted you manager. Because obviously almost killing someone did not teach her a lesson if she drove again intoxicated in Canada! So thankful she is off the roads now.

  12. TaraMonster*

    I read the headline as “the coworker hiding a IUD.” Now that my eyes are working, this makes much more sense haha.

    1. Carpe Librarium*

      Abbreviations I have to think carefully about when talking: UTI, DUI, IUD & IED.
      Mortified hilarity has ensued on more than one occasion.

  13. AMT*

    Re: #3 (the unresponsive HR department), I remember a coworker telling me that at his workplace, unproductive or problematic employees were routinely transferred to HR roles as a way of getting them out of other departments. That went…about as well as you’d expect.

    1. Ama*

      I worked at a university for a while where they reorganized HR four times in the eight years I was there — every time you’d finally feel like things were starting to run smoothly they’d change the reporting structure around again. The last three years there I worked at a new grad school and for some reason they decided we were going to report to an HR rep that had previously only done work for the main administrative branch, so she had absolutely no experience handling faculty or postdoc appointments (which you have kind of a lot of when you are a brand new grad school). It’s like the people in charge were purposefully setting their employees up to fail.

      I remember reading #3’s original letter and suspecting it was an administrative issue with HR because it sounded all too familiar.

  14. Anonanon*

    #1 – Thank you for speaking up. I lost my brother in law to a drunk & high driver two years ago. I don’t wish the pain and misery of losing someone dear in such a horrific and careless way on anyone. It’s truly appalling how many people drink and drive so casually, or underestimate their level of impairment. My hope is that the consequences lead your coworker to evaluate how her decisions impact herself and others around her, and how much worse it could’ve been.

    1. Observer*

      Well, considering all the garbage she pulled while on bail, and ,b>after nearly killing someone I don’t have much hope of that.

    2. Sylvan*

      I’m sorry to hear about your brother. I hope OP’s former coworker learns, too, although it sounds like she’s in a serious tailspin.

  15. Observer*

    #1 makes me sad and glad at the same time.

    Sad, because, OMG!!! She’s making horrible, terrible, AWFUL choices. Glad, because the OP did the the right thing, was not harmed by it, and it helped get a really dangerous person off the road. So, it worked out as well as it could have.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I am so pleased to see that the lawyer, the court and everyone involved jumped in and did their jobs as they should. It’s good to see our systems working correctly and I bet it gives you, OP, a ton of validation in knowing that you made the right judgement call on that.

      Sometimes we cannot save people from themselves and the best we can get is to just keep them from hurting more people. I hope at some point your former coworker can pull her life together, but it doesn’t seem really hopeful right now.

  16. MissingArizona*

    #4, I just had almost the same situation! We didn’t have children, but it was still a rough time. I had to quit my job, they didn’t give me any space to process any of this, thankfully my finances will be just fine, so I don’t need to work right now. I’m sorry for your loss, I know that you’ve got to have some complicated feelings, and just know that there’s people in the world wishing you all the best.

    1. Elspeth*

      So sorry for your loss. I hope you’re able to work through your grief and I send wishes for a peaceful holiday season your way.

  17. Sylvan*

    OP 4, I’m sorry for what you and your children went through. I’m glad your workplace has been so supportive. You sound like you’re working hard to take care of yourself and your kids.

  18. Goya de la Mancha*

    Around here DUI are usually all classed as OWI. I will never forget listening to the radio one morning and younger guy was subbing in the news part. He was talking about a local who was arrested over the weekend for their 3rd “owie”. I still chuckle whenever I see the term OWI (because of the pronunciation, not the seriousness of the act!)

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