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Boxing instructor suspects that a client is using him for free childcare, 'I have other obligations.' AITA? UPDATED

Boxing instructor suspects that a client is using him for free childcare, 'I have other obligations.' AITA? UPDATED


"I think this woman is using me for free-childcare?"

I (24M) teach boxing in my spare time, and one day a week, I teach it to kids. There's a mom who i'm starting to feel like is taking advantage of these classes. She's increasingly late with picking up her kid after the session.

To give some context, this is a rich woman. It's not that she's out working a job. She is a stay at home parent. No other kids. She told me all this because another thing she loves to do is have really long conversations with me on top of already being late. She's been late most of March (3 classes). I talked to her about it at the end of the month and she apologized and said it won't happen again. It did. x2 now. So I started timing her.

The second week of April (no class the first week), she arrived 45 minutes late. Then spent maybe 20 minutes talking to me. The other day, I timed her again. She got there around the 1 hour mark. I made a point to show her my timer and I gave her a warning that I will remove her kid from my class. She tried to derail the conversation so I raised the timer and turned it on again. She said I was being 'unjustifiably rude' (exact words).

I explained (politely) that I have other obligations and her consistent lateness throws my schedule off. She didn't want to have this conversation, stomped to the driver's side of her car. Her kid lowered his window to say thank you and "bye" to me. I told him bye and added "tell your mom to stop being late."

She reported our conversation to my boss, but twisted it. She said that I threatened her kid with getting kicked out of the program. I didn't say it like that. And I didn't say it to her kid. There are other instructors, I was just implying (to her) that I won't have him in my group. My boss still gave me a lecture about how I don't have that power and can't make the statements I did. He went over professionalism and how i'm being too hard on this mom who could have other circumstances going on.

But I'm not getting paid for the hour after this class that I spend hanging out with her kid. The kid's great...but I have things to do. For people who work with kids, what's the etiquette here? do I give parents grace? I told my boss I'm going to start adding up all the hours and one of them is going to have to pay me. AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

RJack151 said:

NTA. When class time is over and she has not picked up her kid, drop him off at your bosses' office and tell him you have to leave.

Reasonable-Bad-769 said:

NTA. Ask your boss what is proper protocol in this situation. If he expects you to stay, then you will expect to be paid. If he won't pay you, then HE needs to come up with a protocol or waiver that clearly indicates that staff are not responsible for children after the class ends OR parents will be charged an hourly sum fee for lates.

NaryaGenesis said:

I would march the kid over to boss’s office and tell him to watch him until his mother shows up because you are off the clock and have other commitments. If he asks you to stay tell him he either pays for your time or you’re out the door. If you do this enough times, he’ll threaten her himself. NTA.

AGoodFaceForRadio said:

Father of three here. Also a Boy Scout leader. From the Boy Scout leader perspective, I have shit to do after meetings, and I’m not getting paid to be there. So pick-up time is pick-up time and I can get very salty if people are late. I try to be understanding with parents when I know they have a situation going on, but if it’s chronic then we’re gonna have a talk.

And yes, if you’re late for pick-up and I can’t reach you I will absolutely start calling your emergency contacts and making it fucking awkward and embarrassing. The funny thing is, the parents who have the most reason to be late - the single parents of multiple kids, the ones reliant in public transit, the ones in the middle of some kind of personal crisis - are usually the ones trying hardest to be on time, and the most apologetic when they’re not. From the parent perspective, I break my ass to be on time to collect my kids. Probably because I know what it feels like to be on the other end of it.

Anyway, all that to say NTA. You gave her a lot more chances than I would have. I’d also tell your boss to take his little professionalism talk and shove it all the way up his a$s. His job is to have his employees’ back. I’d also start billing him by the minute for these late pickups. Maybe he’ll smarten up when it starts costing him money.

big_bob_c said:

NTA. However, if she's spending 20 minutes talking to you when there's no other adults around, she may have been nerving herself up to ask for some in-home private co-ed grappling lessons.

candletrap said:

NTA. The only thing I would have done differently is kept the boss informed as soon as this started happening. It's really his problem. You're a busy guy, right? You just picked up a side gig or smth you need to get to, on time. If the kid isn't picked up, he can come be a sitter, or you can call the police for abandonment, but either way you're leaving.


I took various notes from the people who gave me tips here. I wrote a detailed email to my boss and cc'd other people who run this program, including co-instructors. I did this for transparency, accountability, and to put pressure on my boss to provide a policy around the issue instead of him dealing with us all individually / case by case.

My boss didn't respond to the email, instead he called me in to see him. I kind of had a feeling he’d do that. He asked me why I sent the email cc'ing everyone and was clearly not happy about my approach. He kept trying to minimize the situation, and make me feel that I am in the wrong. He told me that I'm being greedy.

That my attitude about one parent being late is exaggerated and I'm looking for problems. I should essentially just wait around after-hours if I need to sometimes (unpaid) because it's a program for kids. I should do with some heart and "Do it for the kids". I had to turn my face to hide the fact that I wanted to laugh in that moment. But mostly I was frustrated.

Having proper policies in place not only protects the staff, it protects the kids, not to mention his business. After I made my perspective clear (in a mostly professional manner).. he came around a little.

Unfortunately, he flat out told me he will not back-pay me for the time that I've logged waiting for this mom, but he will implement a late policy moving forward. He's followed through on that. He tried to throw in other useless incentives for me. I didn't accept them.

That mom wasn't late this week. She did try to catch my eye when she picked her son up and I ignored her. She ended up getting out of her car and asked me if I saw her waving. I kept ignoring her. She wore me down because she kept following me around while I locked up.

I informed her why she's getting the silent treatment. She apologized and also tried to write me a check on the spot. I didn't take the money. I told her... honestly, I might quit instead. I am sharing this because the woman clearly lives in her own world. Here, just take my money and stop being mad at me. I was so furious. It took everything in me to keep the words that I said to her to a minimum.

I am on the fence about just letting this go. Maybe the program will get smoother with time. It's not a lot of money worth fighting over... I am just disappointed in my boss. I’ve known him for a long time as a mentor/friend. Being his employee has been something else. The program itself is very new and disorganized. Due to differences of opinion about how its run, I doubt I will stay with it.

This is my first time working a job that involves kids. My actual profession is unrelated to boxing. This was mostly something I picked up spontaneously, because I saw the merit in it and I wanted to do my part to help. I admit I could use the extra money too. I don’t mean to be greedy or stingy, but I live in an insanely expensive city and I take care of someone with expensive medical bills.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

WaitUntilIDie said:

You'd make the right call to cut your loses, see this as a learning opportunity for what is not only intolerable but most likely illegal. I can't think of any state where you can be expected to continue working without pay. Id go as far as to suggest reporting the hours you were unpaid to the labor board in your state if you are from the states.

You are being taken advantage of here, but you know that. Do what's best for you. I'm not only suggesting making the report so you get paid, but also to put this business on notice because you probably aren't the only person they will try to exploit this way especially after you've left and having that record is important to show a pattern of behavior on the business owners part.

justaheatattack said:

NTA. And never quit. You might not get unemployment. You can always find a way to get them to fire you.

Hellokitty55 said:

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. You're NTA. You tried to level with your boss and get him to understand. I'm guessing he doesn't want any backlash bc of business. I wish there weren't people out there that takes advantage of kindness.

Tias-st said:

Tell your boss that if he's not going to pay you for the extra time of watching over the kid, that HE can watch him then...You know....for the kid, have some heart and all that sh%t. Like seriously, how can you be expected to sit around and spend up to an hour watching the kid at times and not get paid?

You're clearly being taken advantage of, both by the mother AND your boss. You could also tell him that from now on, you're max waiting up to 5 to 10 minutes and then you're leaving, because you're not getting paid and you don't appriciate your kindness being taken advantage of.

Unless you stand up for yourself, you W-I-L-L be taken advantage of. YOU need to be able to walk away when people cross the line. Drawing a line in the sand and not doing something when they cross is, will just show them you're a ready to be taken advantage of.

Logical-Cost4571 said:

I worked in child care and to stop people from being unreasonably late we would charge really REALLY high fee for every 5 minutes they were late. It meant people were early to collect and would let us know the moment they thought they’d be late.

OldestCrone said:

NTA. You write that your boss has been your friend and mentor. Perhaps he has reached his personal peak and has taken you as far as he can. Recognize this, acknowledge it, and move on before the relationship is destroyed.

Everyone was on OP's side throughout. What's your advice for this situation?

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