DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in the hope that your readers will understand the hardship caused by the selfishness of people who show up for work when they're sick.
For many years, I worked at a company where our employer understood people's need for occasional sick days. Ample coverage was provided for such events, as well as medical insurance.
One of the men in my office with whom I was required to come in close contact never took sick time. Although he was coughing, blowing or running a fever, he came to work every day, exposing me and my fellow co-workers to his germs -- which we caught, causing us to stay home and/or see our doctors.
One such episode occurred when this man came to work with the flu. I caught it from him, and it eventually turned into pneumonia. I was five months pregnant at the time, and the extremely heavy coughing inherent with pneumonia became critical to my pregnancy. I survived, as did my baby, but I lost six weeks of work and used up all of my sick time and accumulated vacation, which was not as serious as the fear of possibly losing my baby.
When the gentleman retired after 30-plus years with the company, he was given a special award in appreciation of the fact that he had never missed a day of work. Quite a number of us were less than thrilled over his "accomplishment." We had all paid for his lack of consideration and felt the special recognition of his devotion to the company was unwarranted. Recognition that there were casualties along the way as a result of his selfishness would have been far more appropriate. -- GINNY IN RENO, NEV.
DEAR GINNY: I suspect the award was given to "Typhoid Murray" because someone in management became sentimental and didn't think through what his misplaced loyalty had cost the company in terms of sick pay and lost man-hours.