Veronica looked in the mirror. She looked awful. She had been sick over the weekend and she was not getting better. She looked at her watch. She would have to be at work in an hour. She wanted to stay home but couldn't.
Veronica got dressed and combed her long, thick hair and put it in a ponytail. She looked in the mirror again. She still looked terrible.
Her cell phone rang. Veronica picked it up.
“Hello, may I speak to Veronica?" a woman’s voice asked.
“This is Veronica,” replied Veronica.
“You sound horrible,” said the voice.
“I’m not feeling too well,” said Veronica.
“Are you going into work today?” asked the voice.
“Who are you?” Veronica asked.
“I am the Queen of Paid Sick Days. I know what happened over the weekend,” said the voice.
“I don’t believe you,” said Veronica.
“On Friday night, you went to your boyfriend’s cousin’s house for dinner. She made a pizza withmushrooms, bell peppers and onions. She forgot to wash her hands. So everybody got sick. You’ve had bad stomach cramps and you keep going to the bathroom every hour. The site of food makes you nauseous,” said the Queen.
“I believe you now,” said Veronica.
“I don’t understand why you’re going to work today,” said the Queen. “You’re still not well.”
“I don’t have a choice. Right now, I’m working at a job that barely pays my bills. If I miss one day of work, I won’t be able to pay my rent,” said Veronica.
“Can’t your boyfriend help you out?” asked the Queen.
“He’s been out of work for months and his unemployment will run out at the end of the month. When it does, he’s going to move into his parents’ house,” replied Veronica.
“Can’t your parents help you out?” asked the Queen.
“My mother had me late in life. She’s on social security and lives in senior housing. She doesn’t have any extra money. And my dad died of a heart attack a few years ago. So no one can help me,” replied Veronica.
“Seeing that things are bad for you, I can help you get paid sick days,” said the Queen.
“How?” asked Veronica.
“I am going to make a few calls. I'll call you back in a few minutes,” said the Queen.
“Okay,” said Veronica. She then hit the end button on her cell phone.
A few minutes later, Veronica’s cell phone rang. Veronica answered it.
“This is Queen of Paid Sick Days. I have your boss on the line,” said the Queen.
“Veronica, the Queen told me that you’re sick. You should stay home,” said Veronica’s boss. “And effective today, all of our workers are entitled to paid sick days.”
“Really?” asked Veronica.
“Yes,” replied Veronica’s boss. “It makes fiscal sense. Healthy workers are good workers and it will reduce turnover in the workplace. So again, you’ll get paid for staying home today. Just take care of yourself and get better.”
“Thank you very much,” said Veronica.
“I have to go now,” said Veronica’s boss.
“I’ll call back you in a minute,” said the Queen.
Veronica hit the end button on her cell phone. Within a minute, her cell phone rang. Veronica answered it.
“Now you can stay home and not worry about your rent,” said the Queen.
“Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it,” said Veronica.
“You’re welcome,” replied the Queen.
Is there anything I can do for you?” asked Veronica.
“When you get better, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Please tell your friends and family members in California about the petition,” said the Queen.
“I will," said Veronica. "And thank you again for everything.”