Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Princess and Paid Sick Days

Carolyn worked as a swimming coach for middle school children at a community center in San Jose. She was proud of her team. Last year, Carolyn's team had won a third place medal in the state championship.

Carolyn loved her job. However, she wished it paid more money. Every month, Carolyn had a hard time paying her rent and childcare for her three-year-old daughter Jasmine. Carolyn had no one to help her.

When Carolyn was a teenager, her parents had died in a car accident. Her daughter's father was always in trouble for doing stupid things. She was glad that he was no longer in her life.

Over the weekend, Carolyn had been sick. Her stomach ached and her head throbbed. She only had gotten out of the bed to take care of her daughter. The rest of the time Carolyn had slept. For some reason, Carolyn wasn't getting any better.

Carolyn looked at her bedroom clock. It was 6:00 in the morning. She had an hour to get ready to take Jasmine to childcare. After she dropped Jasmine off, she would go into work.

Carolyn wanted to call into work sick, but she couldn't. She already had missed work for two days when Jasmine was sick. If she missed work another day, she wouldn't be able to pay the rent.

Carolyn got out bed and went into her bathroom. She took a quick shower and got dressed. She looked in the mirror. She looked horrible. However, she had no choice but to go to work.

She then went into Jasmine's room to get her ready for childcare. To her surprise, Jasmine was already dressed and had her favorite book opened to a picture of a princess.

"Mommy, the princess talked to me," said Jasmine.

"You have a nice imagination," said Carolyn.

"Mommy, the princess really talked to me," said Jasmine.

"It's okay to imagine things," said Carolyn.

"I did talk to your daughter," said a voice from the book.

Carolyn stared at the book and said nothing.

"See Mommy, the princess did talk to me," said Jasmine.

"I am a princess of the Queendom of Paid Sick Days," said the princess. "Your daughter told me that you are sick and you have to go to work."

Carolyn stared at the princess and said nothing.

"You're right. My mommy is very sick but she can't stay home," said Jasmine.

"I can help your mommy," said the princess.

"How?" asked Jasmine.

"I will issue a proclamation declaring paid sick days for all workers at your mommy's job," said the princess.

"Please do it now. Mommy needs to get better," said Jasmine.

"Effective today, your mommy will have paid sick days at her job," said the princess.

The phone rang. Jasmine picked it up. "Mommy, it's for you. It's your boss."

Carolyn took the phone and talked to her boss. After a minute, she hung up the phone and turned to Jasmine and the princess.

"Oh my goodness, my boss told me to take the day off. She said the community center decided to give the workers paid sick days. The parents complained that the children were getting sick from the workers. They don't want the workers coming to work sick anymore," said Carolyn.

"Mommy, you can go to bed now and get some rest," said Jasmine. "The princess will take care of me."

"Carolyn, I will take care of Jasmine," said the princess.

"Princess, thank you for your help," said Carolyn. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

"When you get better, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," said the princess.

"I will," said Carolyn.

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