update: a client sent me a thank-you check as a way to avoid paying my boss

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose client sent her a thank-you check as a way to avoid paying her boss (first update here, second update here)? Here’s the latest.

Gilbert and his wife did indeed continue to lie about our company, which resulted in another client pulling out of a job with us. They cited Gilbert as the reason, and said they didn’t want me to run the job as I was scheduled to do because they heard of my “abrasive and bullying nature”. At that point, Adam decided to go through with a lawsuit to recover money they owed us and to get him to stop lying about that situation. That is currently ramping up but I don’t have a lot of information on that, those things usually get handled on their own and I imagine I wont find out how that gets settled (I usually don’t at least).

However, I did have to provide a written statement to a lawyer representing the painter that was abused by Gilbert’s wife. He will be suing the family for emotional distress and slander/libel. I haven’t seen the painter since July, and a little bird told me he took off time for his mental health shortly after that incident, though I hear he is back to work now. He had a lot of other things going on (including a sick wife we didn’t know about) and he went into a downward spiral after that resulting in a hospitalization of his own. He is however doing much better from what I hear, and his wife is also succeeding in her treatments.

As for me, my October was rough. A few things completely bananas happened (you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, and it’s so strange that it would easily give away my identity if I did), culminating in my mom being diagnosed with cancer in early November. Her prognosis is good however, maybe even great, so we are in good spirits. Because of this diagnosis however, I decided to take on another client outside of my main job (lets call them Kim and Cam), similar to the terms and conditions I had set with Gilbert, minus Adam’s involvement, since those houses previously built are no longer under his warranty. I have been working with these new clients since mid-September and we have a lovely relationship. We built them a few houses in 2016 and they were clients that heard through the rumor mill that I was available after the nastiness with Gilbert started going around. I decided to accept their offer because they were the most lovely people I had ever worked for. (lol I hear myself, trust me. These people are certified Good Rich People).

My new clients are, quite literally, angels. I fully believe that all the drama with Gilbert and his wife lead me to this exact spot in my life, and that it was for a reason. I approached them to let them know that I would need some days off to pick up and drop off my mom for cancer treatments and Kim immediately insisted that they would pay for my moms treatments (she is a 3 time cancer survivor, the same type my mom has) and Cam sent over several small gifts to my family home. All of the gifts were things he said that his wife relied on during treatments and he wanted my mom to have them so she can “kick cancer ass” (think scarfs, beanies, a really cute pink tracksuit with matching pink “Chemo Tote” etc). Their kindness has been truly unbelievable. My family and I have not decided if we will accept their offer to pay for treatments, which is mostly because I still have my guard up. I naturally have a bad taste in my mouth due to how things ended up with Gilbert, arsenic comes to mind. However they have continued to insist and as a way to ease my mind, suggested just cutting my mom and dad a rather large check at the beginning that way if anything goes wrong, they cant just stop paying for treatments. I will be meeting with a lawyer about this just to make sure this cant come back on my mom and dad during a vulnerable time. They have consistently gone above and beyond for me, so we are considering taking them up on this. Time will tell, but I do have an appointment at a local wig maker for tomorrow, Kim is purchasing my mom a custom made wig as a birthday present. I am an amature baker, and will be dropping off a surprise unicorn cake for their granddaughters bday (which is the same day as my moms) later today when I check the house.

So while I will NOT miss 2020 and the lessons it brought, I am thankful for being freed of that dreadful other situation and am VERY thankful it lead me to where I am, I am where I am supposed to be, surrounded by the people I should be around.

Weird year, I certainly didn’t have “a billionaire would ruin your faith in the rich and then another will make you cry happy tears” on my 2020 bingo card.

{ 47 comments… read them below }

  1. Four lights*

    What an update! Thank you. I hope everything works out we these people. And I hope your mom gets better.

  2. NQ*

    Is it me, or does OP sound like the loveliest person throughout all these updates? Wishing you & family well, OP!

    1. Artemesia*

      Me too. I would have melted into a blob of anxiety dealing with this. It is bad to screw up but it is worse to be castigated and blamed when your behavior was good and you didn’t screw up.

      1. OP*

        How sweet! Thank you!

        I am currently a ball of anxiety, but I have a really good support system, so its easy to stay (somewhat) sane.

  3. EPLawyer*

    OP what a wonderful new client. I hope they stay as good as they seem.

    Best wishes to your Mother on her treatments and best wishes that good things continue for you.

  4. AGD*

    This sounds like an entire memoir that I want to read someday (if the OP is willing and able, down the road).

    1. OP*

      Haha! Well thank you!

      I think my memoir would be mostly boring, except for my strange workplace over the last few years. I kinda hope I never get enough ammo to write a full one at this point! Im tired lol

  5. Forrest*

    I feel like I’m getting a really good idea of what it must be like to live in the background of a Real Housewives… franchise. People just offering to pay for your cancer treatment!

    1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is a Lovely Shade of Blue*

      Right? I really need to meet up with a sympathetic rich person.

    2. KateM*

      Actually that’s the part that makes me wary and wondering whether there’s going to be another rollercoaster update.

      1. Forrest*

        I live somewhere where cancer treatment is free and not dependent on having a rich benefactor, so yeah, I wasn’t referencing that as a *good* thing!

      2. OP*

        I certainly hope not, they purchased 2 wigs for my mom this past weekend (totaling 2400 dollars!) and so far seem serious about their support. Wishful thinking so far!

        1. KateM*

          That, too. Now I totally feel like on a parade in China.
          I mean they of course are serious about their support – the question is, what will they want for it?

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed. We need to start having a get your popcorn ready warning with these updates.

      I’m sorry you have gone through some of these craziness with Gilbert, but here’s hoping that 2021 is better and that your moms recovery is successful.

  6. Kristine Lynne*

    This is how I imagine these rich people:

    “Should we buy a new house?”
    “Let’s build one”
    “No! Let’s build like half a dozen houses in three years”

    1. Bryce*

      My mother lives on the outskirts of town, where people have big yards. One house near her was owned by a lady who had multiple properties in town and decided she’d like to have horses so she kicked out the tenants and moved into the place out there. Then she got bored, learned that keeping horses requires work, and moved back to Downtown a few months later.

      Like my mom said once (though she forgets she said this and always says I’m so clever when I use it) “there are folks who want a big garden or livestock, and then there are folks who want to be people who have a big garden or livestock. Only one of those is going to be willing to put in the effort day after day.”

    2. OP*

      Building homes where we are is a major money maker. Its almost always cheaper than purchasing your own too, then you call sell it for a major profit, assuming you have the money to front. (For example the last house we did for them was a lot price + price of new home which equaled a cool 10 mill, they sold it for over 25mil)

  7. Aphrodite*

    Amazing. I hope we will get at some point another update as it sounds like there will be one (or more). And best wishes to your mom and Kim that both stay well.

  8. 'Tis Me*

    The nice people’s response to your mum’s cancer news almost made me cry – the humanity-at-its-best demonstrated..! <3

    It sounds like they are genuine and serious in offering to pay for her treatment; I hope that whether via their generosity or other means your mother is able to focus on getting better without worrying about the financials, and she makes a swift, complete, permanent recovery.

  9. Lucien Nova*

    Okay, who’s let the sentient onion in here again?

    OP, you are a treasure, your clients are a treasure, and I’m wishing you, your family, and them all the best. <3

  10. Oui oui*

    OP, if you are not yet writing a book about this entire experience, I hope you will make it a new year’s resolution for 2021! You have a lot of people who are cheering for you and loving your story.

    1. OP*

      Thank you! Thats all so kind, and even a tad overwhelming.

      Maybe when I have a few more nightmare stories to tell, but thankfully that memoir would be very short so far!

      1. CM*

        Not nightmares, have it be a happy-ever-after ending where your mom is well and your dream clients refer you to their equally kind friends, so you are happily and lucratively employed while meanwhile, the drama goes on without you. Best of luck to you, OP — I continue to be impressed by how well you weather all these difficult situations and transitions!

    1. LB*

      Me too! I feel so bad he was exposed to that awful woman’s behaviour while he was in a vulnerable place. I hope he is doing well now.

    2. OP*

      I hear he is doing well, but he is being heavily protected by his company right now (as he should be). I hope that’ll be the update I have for you in the future.

  11. Media Monkey*

    i think i’ve got something in my eye…

    all the best of luck to your mum with her treatment OP, however you decide to finance it. you have had a proper rollercoaster with work so glad it has calmed down and you can focus on family while they need you!

  12. Keymaster of Gozer*

    OP: going through giving legal evidence is frelling stressful as all hell, especially if an employer/former employer is involved. That alone requires nerves of frikkin steel (ask me how I know….).

    But everything else?

    Mate, you’re the kind of person I’d drive miles to hand a cup of tea and a fluffy blanket to.

    1. OP*

      In desperate need of both!

      And man the legal advice has been draining. I have never felt to STUPID in my life than I have during those conversations. I catch like 20% of information given, even writing notes! It has been a lot, but I think we got it all figured out!

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Getting questioned for 4 hours by forensic accountants, and having to give evidence in the high court (UK, had to dodge the press too) ranks up on my ‘top 3 things to never do again’. Felt it was my moral duty to do it, but ye gods the stress.

        For anyone who’s not been through the sharp end of the legal system: imagine trying to recall, on demand, the exact wording of an off the cuff statement a coworker said while walking past your desk 4 months ago. Oh and you have to remember exactly the time of day, date, weather, what you were wearing…etc.

        I’ll swipe my favourite blanket for you and my most expensive tea because mate, you deserve a beautiful calm lake with the sunshine and peace and quiet and happy kittens/puppies/insert cute thing of choice frankly.

  13. OP*

    Hi everyone!

    Sorry I couldn’t be active during the chat but I was spending some much needed time with my mom before her treatments start this week.

    A quick little update (not much). Kim and Cam purchased 2 beautiful wigs for my mom (totaling 2400 dollars!) and have set up an appointment at a local salon for Tuesday to get them cut and styled to her facial features. A friend of mine that works in celebrity cosmetology also donated a beautiful wig which will also be styled for her.

    We finished the paperwork with the lawyers this past week, Kim and Cam cut my family a large check based on estimates the insurance companies provided or the first 12 weeks of treatments. We also have an agreement on paper protecting my parents in the event we have a personal falling out. They were insanely generous with the first check and have virtually no protections in place for themselves should this go bad (I doubt it will, literal Angels on Earth). We are feeling extremely confident and grateful.

    No update on the painter, aside from the fact his wife and him are both doing better.

  14. DiscoCat*

    Oh wow…! Great update and redemption for you LW. You sound like a genuinely kind and decent person, glad your mom is doing better. My mental images generated by this update have upgraded to Ultra HD dolby surround thanks to watching Selling Sunshine :-D

    1. OP*

      I have to say, I hate that show! lol Those girls are awful and lets just say they are not the hot shit they think they are. They are they assistants to the mid level real estate agents not the HBIC’s they think they are. Sorry but that show makes me unnecessarily annoyed loll

      I will say our clientele is worse than theirs, typically. More money in the bank usually equals = more rude and entitled

  15. yala*

    “Kim immediately insisted that they would pay for my moms treatments (she is a 3 time cancer survivor, the same type my mom has) and Cam sent over several small gifts to my family home. All of the gifts were things he said that his wife relied on during treatments and he wanted my mom to have them so she can “kick cancer ass””

    Whups, who’s cutting onions here?

    Tho yeah, I don’t blame you for being a little ware about a gift THAT large. If it’s a sincere offer, it’s very sweet, but that doesn’t obligate you to take them up on it.

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