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'I got fired for accidentally being rude to the CEO's disabled daughter. AITA?' UPDATED

'I got fired for accidentally being rude to the CEO's disabled daughter. AITA?' UPDATED


"I got fired for accidentally being an a-hole to the company owner's disabled daughter."

Here's the original post:

This happened on Friday. I've been drowning my sorrows all weekend, dreading the fact I have to start looking for a new job. Explaining why I got fired from my old job is going to be *fun*. I'm typing it up here to try and organize my thoughts in my head, because right now, it's all a mess.

I had been with the company for three months and was still on orientation. My job was sales/advertising. As the new guy, I was given existing accounts to manage, which consisted of providing customer service and convincing my clients to spend more money on advertising.

All of these accounts already had their ad campaigns done, and if they wanted something new, the account was transferred to a senior account manager who would work with our advertising guys to put something together for the customer. Eventually, I hoped to have that job, but I had to pay my dues by proving I could maintain existing accounts and convince them to spend more money first.

Everything was going great, until last week, when we were scheduled to have our quarterly retreat. Since we were the main regional office in the area, all of the employees from the satellite locations came to our office for the retreat. The owner of the company rarely visits our office.

He's been overseeing the set-up of a new satellite office for the last year, according to my co-workers. But, he was there for the retreat, as was his disabled daughter, Amy. (Not her real name, for the sake of privacy). One of my co-workers told me Amy works at one of the satellite offices and I probably wouldn't have much interaction with her, but I should be nice.

That seemed like a no-brainer. I'm nice to everyone, regardless. I won't claim to be an expert on Amy's disability, but it seemed like she had childlike mannerisms and struggled with expressing herself. She also had some problem with motor skills. I'll describe the only interaction I had with her prior to the "incident."

I went to refill my coffee and Amy was in front of me, getting her coffee. I watched her struggle with getting condiments added and putting the lid on, so I politely asked if she needed any help. She thanked me, said she did, and let me finish making it. While I was making it, she said she hated coffee, but her dad made her drink it because she had to (in a loud voice)

Always Alert! I smiled, said that was definitely important, and handed her the cup. She thanked me again and went back to the office her dad was using, where she had been most of the day.

I felt like I had been a Good Samaritan and went on my way. Most of the retreat is teambuilding exercises. Prior to the incident, Amy only participated in the puzzle race, where groups put puzzles together without the box art to see which team can finish faster. Amy wasn't in my group, so I didn't have any interaction with her there. Neither of our teams won.

The big event, and the one that everyone seemed the most excited for, was the last activity of the day. Our boss gave us a list of potential clients, we were supposed to select three as a group, and put together something to attract the customer. We were told we would be judged on our creativity. My group explained that we could do pictures, slogans, jingles...whatever we wanted.

Each person expected to work on one individually, then work with their group to polish it up before it was presented to everyone. It was kind of a big deal because at previous retreats, there would be clients on the list the owner was already close to bringing on board, and if you impressed the owner, you might just land that account.

I went with a jingle, rhymed a few words, and recorded it. It was silly but fit the brand. My group gave me some pointers, we made some improvements, and I recorded the final product for submission. I helped my team with their projects until it was time to turn everything in.

After everything was turned in, we gathered in the big conference room to critique each other. The owner went through them one by one. If it was a picture or storyboard, he'd put it up, read it, and we'd make comments. Good or bad. There were some that were great which drew a lot of compliments, and some that were really bad, which we laughed about as a group.

You could tell the senior account managers didn't care much about the exercise or put much effort into their pitches.Nobody seem to get upset or offended, regardless of the feedback. When my jingle was played, it got a lot of comments, not all of them good, and I took the feedback with a smile.

After getting my feedback, I felt a little more comfortable about sharing my thoughts on other presentations. I gave what I thought was valuable feedback to a few products, laughed at a couple others, and then a rather crude drawing was put up for the exact same company I had chosen. I immediately joked that "Well at least my jingle was better than that!

Did a three year old draw it?" and absolute silence. I was really confused because plenty of people had made jokes and everyone laughed. Instead, a few people looked at my like I was disgusting and the owner said "Well if you don't have anything nice to say, keep it yourself, maybe?"

Then my boss scooted down to where I was sitting and told me I needed to go to my desk. Now! I noticed as I was gathering my things that the owner's daughter was red faced and starting to tear up.

The team building exercise was over for me. I went back to my desk and it began to sink in that the drawing must have been drawn by the owner's daughter. There was no warning or anything. The owner didn't reveal who put together what we were looking at until after a few critiques. Maybe I should have known? Everyone was joking and having fun up to that point.

Someone else had a pretty bad drawing that got laughed at. Either way, I felt awful. As soon as the event was over, I approached my boss to apologize. He told me to wait for him in his office. Long story short, I was fired. My boss said since I was still on orientation, he had decided I wasn't a good fit for the company, so it was better to let me go now.

He didn't outright say I was being fired for making fun of her drawing, but that's literally the only thing that I've ever gotten in trouble for. My work, up until that point, had been praised. I didn't get much time to process it because my boss had already called security, who showed up fairly quickly, and escorted me to my desk to gather my things before escorting me out of the building.

An hour later, I got a call from one of my former teammates, who asked if I wanted to join the team for a drink one last time. They needed it after the retreat, and felt bad that they didn't warn me. I wasn't feeling up for it, but I wanted to try and make sense of the whole situation, so I went to the bar.

In the back of my mind, I was thinking that since I'm about to start looking for a new job, a few references from former co-workers wouldn't be bad since I definitely won't be getting one from my boss or the owner of the company after everything that happened. The team explained that Amy comes to all of these retreats, and she always does some crude drawing like that.

Everyone just sort of knows to say nice things about it, and move on. One of my teammates said that once you've seen one of her drawings, you know what to look for. Well I didn't, and nobody warned me. I started to get pretty upset that this was a known thing and everyone knew but me, but what could I do? I had already screwed up and it cost me my job.

The team also shared more about Amy. Apparently she works at one of the satellite offices but doesn't really do anything. The people in charge of the office try to come up with stuff for her to do because she gets upset when she's bored.

The team said the way the people who worked there described it, they were basically her babysitter so she wouldn't bother her dad all day when he spent most of his time there, and after he moved on to establish the new satellite office, he didn't take Amy with him because she liked all the friends she had at that office.

They also said that her dad had harassed a few single guys at the office to take her on dates, which seemed pretty damn HR inappropriate, but he does own the company. My team said Amy desperately wants a boyfriend and wants to get married, which she talks about all the time. The consensus seemed to be that there's no way she actually understands how relationships or marriage works,

and her dad probably put this idea in her head to begin with. One of my teammates did joke that it wasn't a bad deal, because whoever married her would inherit the company since she is the old man's only kid. I wasn't really in the mood for jokes at that point after losing my job over one, so I told them I needed to go.

The only good thing is my former team members did say they would gladly give me a reference if I needed it, since they felt so bad about not telling me about the Amy situation to begin with. Oh, and the cherry on top? Amy sent me a Facebook friend request over the weekend. I haven't accepted it. I already upset her and it cost me my job.

Part of me wants to accept it, apologize, and block her, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that either. I'm going to take a few days to get myself together and then get my resume out there.

What do you think? Did he do anything wrong? Does he deserve to have been fired for this? This is what top commenters had to say:

leathercock said:

The only a-hole in this story is the father, hands down. Feel sorry for you man, I hope you get a better job!

No_Sail9397 said:

Dude, how would you have known. Give it no thoughts and move on. There’s a massive labor/hiring shortage out there. No one cares that you got fired. Just say you took a few month break and omit from your resume. And that company sounds crazy and toxic. Did you a favor getting out of there!!

sassyhill said:

In my opinion, you were not the one in the wrong here: You get laughed at for you work (concensus). You laugh back. Every single person is informed about this very sensitive subject, but you are not! You are fired for following the concensus, without a warning, and cant even protest your case.

I would have been so angry, had it been me. You have nothing to lose, so why dont you consider contacting your former boss, explain, ask for a reference (and even a second chance if you dont hate the place already).

amyscactus said:

Don't beat yourself up over this. Listen, it sucks getting fired for ANY reason, especially one that you can't control. Nobody told you, so how were you supposed to know? I'm serious. How would you have KNOWN? It sounds like this guy forces his daughter on everyone, and even though she's disabled, how would you know what to say and what not to say?

I don't think it was terrible what you did. It's not like you got drunk and said a bunch of slur words. You poked fun at a random drawing. Listen, you will find better out there.

Verdict: NTA.

He later shared this whopper of an update:

A lot of you gave me good advice. I appreciate those who talked about legal action and what options I had. Unfortunately, I was still on orientation with my company, which is like a probationary period. During that time, they can let me go for any reason.

They could fire me for wearing the wrong color socks if they wanted. I had to sign an agreement to get employed which stated I understood this. There's literally nothing I can do, legally.

At the end of the day, I decided to go have some drinks with a good friend, talk things out, and see what he would do. Dave's been my best friend since we were in elementary school. We've probably spent more time together than some actual brothers. Dave was firmly on the side of "accept the friend request, apologize, and clear your conscious, man.

I'm getting us another round of shots." He knows me better than anyone, and he knows that the guilt would eat me alive. I posted it here because it bothered me. I decided to take his advice, and everyone here who pushed me for that as well, especially the ones that DM'd me.

So, that's what I did. I accepted the friend request. I immediately messaged Amy. I said I shouldn't have made that joke about anyone's work, it was unprofessional, and I was sorry. It took her a while to respond, but when she finally did, she thanked me for my apology, but said she sent me the request because she wanted to apologize since I lost my job over it.

I said she didn't owe me an apology, and there was another long pause before she asked if she could copy/paste something to me. I wasn't sure what it was, but said she could. She pasted a generic message, but one she had clearly spent some time on. I don't want to type it word-for-word, but I'll paraphrase:

"Hi, my name is Amy. Please forgive me if I'm slow to respond to you. I suffered a brain injury when I was a little girl and it takes me a while to type things out." There was more to it, but that's the basic stuff. I responded, saying it was not a problem, and she could take all the time she needed.

Amy and I ended up messaging back and forth until almost 3am. No, we didn't fall in love. We aren't going on a date. I'm not going to marry her for revenge so I can take her dad's company. However, I do think I would like to be friends with her. Not because I feel bad for her, but because she's a genuinely nice person and honestly, everyone could use a few friends like that.

We spent a lot of time talking about her. That's just the direction it went, so I asked questions since she seemed comfortable talking about it. Amy was in a car accident when she was a kid. She was in the car with her mom and they were hit by a drunk driver, coming back from a birthday party for one of her classmates. Her mom didn't make it, and Amy suffered a brain injury that impacts her motor skills.

Because it makes it difficult for her to speak and do simple things like getting dressed, making coffee, etc., people assume she's mentally challenged. She was put in Special Ed because of it, but worked really hard and graduated from high school. She even wanted to go to college but her dad didn't think it was a good idea.

Her life has been difficult because it's hard for her to communicate with people. By the time she can get a fully formed sentence out, the conversation is over. She can type, slowly, but most people don't want to type when they're face-to-face. She even admitted that when she's not at work, she will sometimes carry a tablet and pretend she's mute, because that's just easier.

We eventually circled back to the drawing and my terrible response to it. She wasn't that offended by my response, because she assumed I didn't know. She got upset, primarily, because she knew all hell was about to break loose and she had no way to communicate with anyone. She was so upset when she found out I got fired, and tried to talk to her dad, but he wouldn't listen to her.

She's fully aware that a lot of people at the company just pretend to be nice to her because she's the owner's daughter, but she does have a few friends at the satellite office where she works who better understand her disability.

She gets frustrated because she can't truly contribute anything, but is happy when they are able to find busy-work for her to do. It might take her all day to do something another person could do in a couple of hours, but it's better than sitting around bored all day. She knows she's a burden and a bother to her dad when he's around, but he's her dad and she loves him.

She wishes every single day she was a daughter he could be proud of, rather than a burden. She tries talking to him via emails and text messages, but he usually doesn't respond. If they're in the same location, he'll just walk over and respond verbally, which is frustrating, because it becomes a one-sided discussion with her unable to do anything but give simple one-word answers like yes or no.

She also thanked me again for helping with her coffee. She said that when she was younger, she tried to do everything by herself, and would get mad when people helped her, but now she's learned to appreciate the few who do. Most just stand there and look away, pretending to patiently wait for her to do it on her own.

It was getting late for both of us at that point. Really late. It takes her a long time to respond to messages. There's misspellings. I get why someone would assume she's mentally challenged. I myself referred to her in my first post as having "childlike" mannerisms, which was a misunderstanding on my part.

When she tries to force words quickly or emphasize something, she gets really loud, which makes her sound like a excited toddler rather than an adult trying to have a conversation. We ended our talk last night agreeing to talk again sometime. She asked if I had watched the first episode of House of Dragon yet, which I have, and she asked if I'd like to talk about it after she watches it. I told her I'd love to.

So that's it, that's the update. Sorry to those who expected me to steal her dad's company. I'm definitely not doing that. Talking to Amy did make me feel a lot better though. I don't know how I'm going to handle the whole firing thing at my next interview, but a few of you suggested I just leave a gap on my resume, and I may just do that.

I doubt there will be any future updates, but at least this has a happier ending than my first post.

TL;DR since a few asked for it in my first post: I lost my job, but I may have gained a friend.

Sources: Reddit
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