Woman Airlifted to Hospital Says She Lost Bonus Because She Missed Work in Viral Post

Commenters are sounding off after a Redditor revealed the troubling workplace situation that forced her to quit her job. Shared in Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" forum, the post has gained attention online, receiving over 26,000 votes, nearly 2,500 comments, and sparking a conversation about the true cost of getting sick for many service-industry workers in the U.S.

The anonymous woman, known only as u/LopsidedCobbler9140, described herself as a 29-year-old waitress at an unnamed restaurant. At this establishment, the management uses a "point system" for disciplinary action. "It's [one] point if you are late, [three] points to call off with notice, and [five] points for calling off within [four] hours of your shift," she explained.

The Redditor added that the policy isn't usually an issue for her, as she hadn't yet received any points this year and has only called out from work "once since 2018." She is "the type who covers shifts, stays late and generally just [does her] job."

However, when the woman fell ill last week, she was required to take a week off from work with little or no notice. She explained: "I ended up calling off and was out for a week due to being hospitalized in the ICU with a horrible infection. I let my boss know at 2am that I was being sent out by helicopter and kept her informed of everything going on."

Once the woman was well enough to return—though "not 100 percent" better—she went back to work. Things, however, took a turn: on her first day back, her "boss called [her] into her office."

"She informed me I was getting [eight] points, losing my discounts and bonuses for 90 days, and was on probation," explained the Redditor. "I was dumbfounded and told her I wasn't signing the papers as it was out of my control. She said if I didn't, I would be terminated. I told her not to bother and walked out."

However, since quitting, the woman said she's been receiving "calls and texts" from the boss and her coworkers "saying they need [her]" and calling her "an a** for [quitting] over something so small."

"My husband thinks I was in the right because it was ridiculous that I was getting punished for almost dying," she concluded.

While it's unclear exactly where this incident took place, the situation appeared to remind many of the difficult conditions endured by working Americans, as they are so often forced to choose between either sacrificing their health or their employment.

As the Economic Policy Institute explained, "access to paid sick days is vastly unequal, disproportionately denying workers at the bottom this important security." As of September 2021, nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers in the U.S. did not have access to paid sick leave.

"For workers who fall ill or whose families depend on them to provide care in the event of an illness, this means sick days can be incredibly costly," explained the think tank in a 2017 report. "Taking needed sick time means workers go without pay or must show up at work while sick and delay seeking treatment for themselves or their dependents."

Not only was the Redditor denied paid sick leave—she was punished for falling ill. That fact was not lost on shocked commenters, many of whom said they lived abroad in countries with universal paid sick leave.

Redditor u/skam90, who is "not from the U.S.," wrote that they are "appalled when [they] see posts like this." "Seems inhumane and backwards to me."

Meanwhile, current and former service workers confirmed that the Redditor's experience was the norm. "I've never seen a service job in the [U.S.]...that doesn't handle sick days and call offs almost exactly like this," wrote u/​​penguin-harem.

"You left a toxic environment, and you do not owe those people a thing," said u/fthottfitzgerald, summing up the feelings of many. "Going to the hospital isn't something 'small' and shouldn't be punished. I'm glad you're away from [your] boss and coworkers now."

Newsweek has reached out to u/LopsidedCobbler9140 for additional comment.

Waitress Holding Plates
A Redditor revealed she quit her job as a waitress after she was going to be punished by her employer after she spent time in the ICU for an infection. A waitress carrying orders at a San Francisco, California restaurant. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images