There’s a certain kind of employee that takes great pride in never having a sick day. No matter what the circumstances, they will find a way to show their undying loyalty to the company by showing up, even if it means infecting a bunch of colleagues in the process.

Image credits: Ruth Hartnup (not the actual photo)

People’s opinions are sure to vary on this kind of attitude, it has its pros and cons, that’s for sure. Nobody likes that person who seems to bunk off every couple of days at the slightest hint of a headache, or a self-induced hangover. Then again, nobody wants to share a room with a walking petri dish either. But when a non-contagious employee makes a personal sacrifice to hobble into work, to keep things running smoothly and not let down their teammates, their gumption should be rewarded, shouldn’t it?

This demanding boss doesn’t think so and paid the price for his ungrateful and inflexible stance. Reddit user u/et-regina used to work in a multistorey cafe, running up and down stairs all day serving customers. Posting on the subreddit r/MaliciousCompliance, the employee shared a story of attempted compromise, which turned into delicious revenge.

“I had slipped on some spilt motor oil in the car park on my way home and my ankle had bent underneath me; I had initially assumed I’d just twisted it, but several hours later it was still throbbing, as well as swelling up so much that it looked like I was hiding a pair of golf balls under my sock and turning a deep shade of purple,” et-regina explained.

“As my next shift started in less than 12 hours and we were short staffed as it is, I didn’t want to call in sick, but I knew there was no way I’d be able to stand/walk on it for a whole day. I called my manager to explain and to ask if I could a) switch to the register for a few days, which involved much less walking than my regular role, and b) borrow one of the bar stools to sit on behind the counter so I wasn’t putting too much weight on it.”

“I figured this wouldn’t be a problem as we had other staff who could cover the floor and there are no issues with access around the register that the chair could get in the way of: I was wrong. The manager insisted that he wouldn’t sign off on me having a chair without a signed doctors note verifying my injury, even after I sent him photos of my wrecked ankle.”

“As my GP was already closed, I headed to the 24-hour walk in clinic. An x-ray and a lot of poking and prodding later, the doctor told me I had to ice it every few hours until the swelling went down (which took almost a week) and keep all weight off it for at least a week, and wear a brace for another 2 weeks after that. When I explained what I did for a living, the doctor presented me with a lovely note explaining that I shouldn’t be at work at all for at least 7 days.”

“I wish I could have seen my managers face when I called to explain that I didn’t need the chair after all as actually I wouldn’t be in work for the rest of the week and most of next week, doctors orders. Funnily enough, I was never asked to produce a doctors note again for the rest of the time I worked there.”

The incident has stayed with et-regina, who has since moved into management and learned an important lesson in empathy from the experience. “You’ll be pleased to hear that several years later my ankle healed with zero longterm effects and I’m now in management myself, hopefully treating staff a lot better than I was treated,” they wrote in a short update. “Also as SO MANY of you have pointed out, please go to the doctor if you injure yourself regardless of whether or not a dickhead manager demands it or not.”

People were generally sympathetic, as many of us can recognize this kind of unreasonable boss

Et-regina, who is from London, England, told Bored Panda that the manager ended up leaving the company shortly afterward for unrelated reasons. “I definitely did get more sympathy from the company on the whole after this incident, they were generally more trusting on the odd occasion I did call sick than they were with other staff,” she told us. “I’ve always had very few sick days in all of my jobs, my attitude is very much that providing I’m not gonna risk making a customer sick, I’ll be trying to come into work.”

“I do think I’m more compassionate with staff in general as a manager (certainly compared with some of the managers I’ve had in the past) but saying that, I definitely get some staff who take advantage. My worst experience was a day when I was meant to have 7 staff with me, 3 called in sick at the last minute, 1 overslept by over 3 hours, 1 didn’t show up at all, and of the 2 who did come in one handed in their notice at the end of the shift as they said they couldn’t handle the stress! But it’s usually pretty easy to spot the fakers, they’re the ones who always mysteriously have a “stomach bug” every Sunday morning after a big night out on Saturday.”