That’s Just Not Cool

, , , , , , | Working | March 25, 2019

(I am working as a tire technician at an auto parts store that also does car repairs. I am always early to work, but at this job I often show up before the store opens when the store manager is not there yet. He is the only one with the key to the store, and we cannot get in until he shows up. After he lets us in, we have to stand in line to clock in on the only terminal set up for that. As a result, I often clock in late but I don’t think anything about it as my direct supervisor is often just as late. One day my future wife — at this time just a close friend — brings her car in to have the A/C worked on since I don’t have the equipment or the time to do it at home. The A/C specialist does the work and the night service writer writes it up with my discount. She picks the car up the next day. That night I get a call from her that the car has overheated for the first time ever and asks if I could look at it. The coolant is low, but when I add more it doesn’t seem to be leaking until the car is running, but it isn’t coming out onto the ground. While I am trying to figure it out, I discover that the carpet in the back seat of the car is wet, and after a little more investigation I find out that coolant is coming out of a hole in the heater core and running through the back seat vents. I pull it out and find a small hole poked into the side of the heater core. Immediately, I take it back to the night service writer. He gets a part off the shelf for me and writes it off. I fix the car and then go back the next morning to talk to the service manager.)

Me: “Yeah, I pulled the heater core and found this tiny little hole poked into the side, right on a seam; it had to have been done on purpose.”

Service Manager: “You’re right; that couldn’t have been an accident. He shouldn’t have needed to do any work inside the car.”

(Just then, the day service writer — my direct supervisor and the son of my friend’s coworker — comes into the service office.)

Service Writer: “You should have told me that was your car!”

(I looked at him for several seconds like he was crazy and then calmly said, “I quit.” I told my future wife, and she understood how ethics can be a burden. I don’t think she ever told her coworker, though. I had never applied for unemployment benefits before, but I then found out that I was eligible if I quit for cause. I wrote it up and turned it in. Later, I got the denial in the mail, not because they didn’t believe my explanation, but because the company claimed that I had been late over fifty times! By that time I had another job and fighting it was not worth it.)

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