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One man was taken aback when his boss fired him after his car broke down and he came to work late. But then he realized why.

There are all kinds of bosses in the world, and not all of them are good ones. But after hearing this story of a boss who fired a guy for being late, we’d definitely classify him as a boss anyone would be lucky to have.

A high school gig

Last year, a user on reddit named u/sc0ut3rofroy was reading stories about malicious compliance and he decided to share his tale. Back in the early 2000s during his high school and early college years, he worked at a telemarketing company securing donations for places like the police and fire departments.

“I enjoyed the job as the scripts were simple, I was allowed to read a book and such between calls, and a number of my friends were also employed there so we could hang out during lunch breaks,” he wrote. “The pay was a decent chunk above minimum wage at that time, so it was a good gig. I also had a knack for it, and at one point was 5th in ‘sales’ across all their sites they had in operation, 2nd in our building.”

A stroke of bad luck

Sounds like the guy was a pretty ideal employee, so he probably believed he had no real cause to be concerned when one day during the summer, his car broke down and he was more than an hour late to work as a result.

“One summer, while driving to work, my car promptly dies with no warning and I’m left stranded on the road,” u/sc0ut3rofroy wrote. “As you do in [those] situations back before cell phones for poor college students were a thing, I walk to the nearest house and ask to use the phone. I call my dad who starts driving to get me, and call my work to let them know I’ll be late.”

My boss says fine and that he will chat with me when I get in.

Reddit user

The man’s parents showed up, helped him with his car and got him to work. When he finally punched in, the receptionist immediately informed him that his boss wanted to have a word with him in the back office.

“My boss and I have always had a good rapport,” he recalled. “I’m a good worker, get good reviews, and he and I have some similar interests outside of work we can chat about occasionally. When I arrive in his office, he’s shuffling some papers around and has laid out a few documents facing me.”

Rightful termination

According to the reddit user, his boss explained that being more than 30 minutes late was a company violation, and even though it was his first infraction, it was up to management’s discretion what kind of punishment should follow.

“I’m sweating at this point,” the man wrote. “I’ve never even been talked to about being out of order on anything while working here, and getting my first violation scared the heck out of me.”

But then his boss sprung some incredibly unexpected news on him. According to the boss, he had previously asked corporate to give the guy a raise, but because he wasn’t a full-time employee they continually denied the requests.

“So the papers I have here are your termination papers and an offer letter I’d like to extend to you to hire you back on again.” the boss said.

Before I file these, I’d like to ask. Is it ok if I fire you?

Reddit user’s boss

A new hire

The user then detailed how he and his boss started going through the paperwork to fire and then rehire him, with a 25% pay raise since he could “justify to corporate the bump as he was hiring someone with experience.” And, because everything was going down on the same day, it wouldn’t even show up as a break in service on the company’s official records.

It was his own way of being maliciously compliant with a policy that didn’t allow him to reward some people that he thought deserved it. He had been apparently waiting for me to do something that he could technically fire me for.

Reddit user

As it turns out, this wasn’t the first time the boss had done something like this to help a kid out, either.

“In talking with him, he let me know it was something he occasionally did to the high school and college workers to get around corporate’s policy of not allowing raises to people that didn’t work 1,000+ hours in a year,” the user added.

A boss boss

In a world full of bosses, it’s nice to know that people like this still exist. It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work, commitment, or a job well-done, and having a boss who wants to do that for you is a lucky thing indeed. However this story also reminds us that sometimes rules can seem impossible and unfair, but it can also be up to us to figure out how to navigate them or bend with them. If you have a good boss, he or she would probably love to hear it once in a while. And if you are a boss, this story is also a nice reminder that your actions can have a big effect on your employees’ lives.

Even if you can’t give someone deserving a raise, take a moment to acknowledge good employees, whether through a kind word, a small gift certificate, a public commendation or any other form of recognition. After all, there’s a reason for the saying that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

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“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” – Theodore Roosevelt