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Redditor Fires Cleaning Lady After She Accidentally Kills Several Expensive Fish In Their Aquarium

Pets are an important part of home life, even if they’re not furry little friends that we take around the house with us.

Some people keep reptiles, or snakes, or fish.  And those things are just as important as dogs and cats, because a human being has become attached to them.

They can also be extremely expensive.

When a Redditor came home to find her cleaning lady had broken a rule about cleaning the living room and caused the loss of several of her beloved fish, she fired her.  Unfortunately, the lady did not take it well.

Seeking objective feedback from strangers, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA”.

She asked:

“AITA For Firing My Cleaning Lady For Cleaning?”

Our original poster, or OP, set up the situation with her cleaning people.

“I’ve had my cleaning service for roughly three years as my husband and I routinely work 12+ hours a day and are often sent away, as well.”

“Since the beginning, I’ve had a strict rule of ‘Do NOT clean the living room. EVER.’ This is due to me keeping a VERY elaborate aquarium (1300 gallon reef) and cleaning products used near it can kill my fish. Because of this, I’m the only one who cleans the living room.”

“A few days ago, I noticed a few of my fish seemed to be breathing heavily and a lot of my coral was closed up.”

“This is a very well established tank and it’s been running for the last seven years, so I immediately knew something was wrong.”

This tank was not doing well and so OP was stressed.

“Most of my fish are just as old as the tank and I’ve had very little sickness happen, at all. Fortunately, my setup allows me to do massive water changes and I was up until 8:00am changing probably 80% of the water.”

“Despite my best efforts, I lost a LOT of fish. Seahorses (had their own section of the tank). Rays. Various tangs.”

“But, the losses that hit me the hardest were my Moorish Idols and a 6ft Tessalata Moray. My entire tank was set up for the Idols, specifically.”

“I spent over a year preparing it, before I even got them. My moray, Bill, I’d had since he was under a foot long. I hand fed him all of his meals.”

And then she saw what was wrong immediately.

“While I was trying to figure out what could have possibly caused my tank to crash, I noticed that the living room was clean, spotless, even, and I knew what happened.”

“Chemicals got in the water and killed almost everything. I immediately called my cleaning lady and lost it, telling her that she had ONE thing to remember. ONE.”

“And it shouldn’t have been possible to forget, seeing as the reason took up almost an entire wall of my house.”

“She told me she’d hired a new girl and must have forgotten to explain to her that she wasn’t supposed to clean the living room and continued to ask if she’d done a good job.”

“I replied that she’d done such a good job cleaning, she cleaned out my tanks inhabitants and told her she wouldn’t be returning to my home and she wouldn’t be paid for the week.”

OP’s cleaning service began to threaten her.

“She didn’t take that very well and started threatening to bring me to small claims, because the job was still done and done well (apparently).”

“I basically told her to kick dirt and she’s lucky I’m only firing her and not suing her, due to the THOUSANDS of dollars I’d lost due to her ‘mistake’.”

“Everyone keeps telling me ‘they’re only fish, just buy more!’ or ‘She was just doing her job! I’m sure the poor girl feels horrible enough!'”

“Maybe I’m just letting my anger and upset cloud my judgement and I’m being unreasonably harsh, but I loved those fish. They weren’t ‘just fish’ to me and I loved them all very much.”

“So, please.”

“AITA for firing my cleaning lady for cleaning?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors told OP she should lawyer up.

“NTA. They’re not ‘just fish,’ they’re members of your family. You’ve hand fed a Moray for how f*cking long?”

“I don’t even hand feed my kids for that many years. Your loss was substantial and tragic for you and preventable if they would have just listened.”-TheRestForTheWicked

“I once rented from an elderly lady that had her main house and 3 small flatlets that she rented out on her property. One day my landlady’s cat and one of my cats were missing.”

“Turns out the cleaning lady had somehow, ‘accidentally’ locked them in a drawer without knowing. Which I thought was BS, but could do nothing to prove she locked them in there intentionally.”

“They were only found after an entire day missing when my landlady heard mewling and hunted down where the sound came from. The two kitties were hungry and slightly dehydrated.”

“People often sympathise with cleaning staff even when property gets damaged.”

“If I had damaged or lost property at any of my jobs I would have been financially responsible, even when earning min wage, and very few would feel sorry for me. The double standard is frustrating. NTA, OP”-Animefaerie

“This is such a sweet description. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss.”

“That said, even if they were just decorations, you told the people you hired ‘don’t clean x room as it will destroy thousands of dollars of property’ and they did and destroyed thousands of dollars of property.”

“Her wanting to take you to small claims court is laughable. She’s the one who owes you money. NTA. (Obviously, not the fault of the new girl who wasn’t told, but of the boss who then wasn’t even sorry and wanted to sue you.)”-TheHatOnTheCat

“We had something similar happen.. we bought hay from our neighbor and it was full of poisonous weed.”

“My horse died after being severely sick with no one knowing what caused it and our other two are still suffering from the effects.”

“We tried talking to him, he said they were already sick which isn’t true so we hired a lawyer. We are currently in the process of negotiating with the insurance company about getting money back.”

“If I were you I would give her the chance to compensate you and then sue. These aren’t just animals you can discard, they are living, breathing beings that suffer through the hand of stupidity and I’ve been so angry the last months I would never let it go.”

“You trusted them and they betrayed that trust. As soon as the suffering of animals is involved there is no forgiveness.”-an2224

People could not believe someone would be so callous about killing someone’s pets.

“I hate people who don’t view smaller or more unconventional pets as valuable lives. These are not ‘just some fish,’ hamsters or mice are not just ‘easily replaceable,’ reptiles, snails or bugs are also important pets to their owners.”

“Cats and dogs are not the only pets worth having an emotional connection with! These are all lives, living beings, big and small and as pet owners we care to give them all the same love and affection and a safe home!”

“NTA, OP. If you want, sue them for every damage they’ve done, financial and emotional!”-lilli_neeh

“NTA. Prepare to go to small claims and countersue for the damages done by the newbie. Collect evidence, hell I’d say do it anyway.”

“Just fish my a**, they were beloved pets. As to the normal cleaning lady, how hard is it to say don’t clean the living room?”-Mera1506

“They killed your pets. Obviously the value of the fish is much higher than the cost of the cleaning service.”

“So you could do a rough tally of the cost to replace then and let her know you’ll be countersuing her for that amount. NTA”-GreenEyedKittyCat

“I’m so sorry 🙁 They were clearly very loved and well-cared for. I do advise you keep black and white records just in case though.”

“We had something similar with our regular cleaning service (though no pets died, thankfully) – the cleaner they sent for the week f**ked up our balcony’s blinds and tried to claim it wasn’t her fault.”

“I don’t even know what she was trying to do with them, but by a stroke of luck we had servicing for it literally right before she arrived so we were able to use the receipt for that to counter her and her company.”-saturdaybloom

And all Redditors validated OP’s response.

“Saltwater junkie here! Moorish idols are insanely hard to keep alive even by pros! Aside from that, reefing is an EXPENSIVE hobby which takes immense dedication and time.”

“Their response is just disgusting. They accidentally killed your pets and should be horrified. They have no idea that you have to start over from scratch!”

“I’m so sorry for your loss and hope they come around and attempt to right their screw up. Oh and NTA”-Stuffing_face

“NTA. Your cleaning service hired a new cleaner and did not adequately instruct or brief them on how to clean your house.”

“As a result, you have lost priceless marine specimens who had lived with you for a long time and you were attached to. Hugs.”-QuinGood

“NTA, you hired her to do the job, because you trusted her, and instead she sent in a stranger who she apparently wasn’t even supervising.”

“You can be sure if you paid her that not a dime of it would get to whoever actually cleaned anyway.”

“I’ve had cleaning people break thousands of dollars of stuff in my house before and I paid them anyway because I knew it was an accident. This was total negligence though.”-ScrappleSandwiches

“NTA. Due to her HUGE oversight your pets died. Even if she can’t fathom that you cared about them, that’s not your problem.”

“It’s her fault they died and now you are suffering an emotional loss, and also financial. People like her can only see things in simplistic terms – she ‘damaged’ or ‘broke’ your property.”

“That’s on her. If she pushes, then definitely bring her to small claims court.”

“People tend to oversimplify when it suits them. A human is now out of a job or has lost 1 client, and her income will suffer.”

“Some how you’re supposed to put her needs above all else and feel bad for her. But it was her own actions that lead to this. Did she even have your permission to allow a stranger/new cleaner into your home???”-connynebbercracker

Our hearts ache for the loss of OP’s beloved pets.

Hopefully OP will be able to get some sort of resolution for her loss.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.