Mom was always honest in her dealings with her employers. She worked hard and always did more than what was required.
She worked at W. T. Grant in the Northland Plaza in Lima, Ohio during the early 60′s. She had such a good reputation that Well’s Discount Department Store offered her a job for more money. After a year, she was offered a job at a Haag’s Drug Store in the same shopping plaza for more money yet. She took the job.
She really liked working there. She liked working with the public. She worked with two other women and they all got along so well.
Mom worked behind the front counter. That’s where the cameras, film, photo developing, records, cigarettes, candy, and gum were. She really immersed herself into the job. She learned all she could about cameras and taking pictures. She kept up on latest music trends so she could display the 45′s and albums better.
In time she was given more responsibility. She ran the store for the manager, because she knew it better. It was not unusual for her to get a call at home from the the store manager asking her about something.
There was even talk of here managing a store in another city, but she declined. It was out of the question; we owned a farm, Dad worked and I was in school. Her roots were planted too deep.
One day Mom came home about three hours early. She was quiet. When I asked her what was wrong she insisted nothing. She sniffled and I heard her cry ever so slightly.
“Mom,” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“I got fired,” she said.
“What!” I said. “What happened?”
“Right after lunch they called me back to the office,” she said. “There was Pete (the manager) a man from the home office and some other man. They said I had been stealing from the cash drawer.”
Mom held her head and wiped her tears. “Just before I went to lunch a woman comes up to the counter and asked to see a camera. I was showing it to her. Another guy comes up and asked for a pack of cigarettes and then another guy comes up and ask change for a twenty. I really got confused. I stepped back and said, ‘Okay, one at a time here.’ I took care of everybody. The woman decided she didn’t want the camera. She left and I went to lunch.”
“That’s it!” I said.
“When they set me down in the office they told me they had been missing money from the cash drawers for some time. The three people that came in were hired to investigate. They came in to confuse me and make sure I was tempted into not giving the right change. In the exchange they gave me ten dollars too much. The ten dollars was not in the cash drawer. I told them I didn’t have the ten dollars and showed them my purse. The didn’t want to look at it. They said I could have done anything with it.”
Mom was heart broken. I remember her sobbing, “I was fired as a thief. I didn’t cheat my employer.”
Mom got a lawyer.
The lawyer talked to one of Mom’s workmates. She told the lawyer she heard Mom got fired, but didn’t know why. During the course of the conversation the woman revealed she recently had a lucky day; she found a ten dollar bill that was lodged between the cash register and the counter. The manger said: “Keep it, but don’t tell the other gals. It’s between me and you.”
A week later the store manager called and offered Mom her old job with a raise. He was apologetic and said a terrible mistake had been made. Mom told them to take the job and shove it!
Mom eventually got some “hush money” from her old employer. After she paid the lawyer it amounted to about a month’s pay, but most important to her she got her reputation and dignity restored.
Recently, I asked Mom about that event. She said, “Sonny boy, some things aren’t worth remembering; Those b*****ds.”