Everyone has probably worked a job that they absolutely despised, dreaming about no longer showing up to work but still getting paid. One guy lived that dream for six years never showing up to his government job, but still reaping all the rewards. He was only caught when he won an award that he wasn’t there to accept.
Joaquín García, a 69-year-old building supervisor for a water treatment plant, apparently never went to work in the years from 2004 through 2010, The Huffington Post reported. Garcia could probably have gotten away with it for longer if he hadn’t been given an award for 20 years of service, which he obviously wasn’t there to accept.
Garcia worked for the Spanish government where he earned a salary of $41,000 per year. His coworkers never seemed to notice that he was not at work, even his coworkers who were in offices down the hall from his were oblivious to his absence. When someone finally went looking for him at the water treatment plant, they found Garcia’s office sitting vacant, looking as if no one had been there in years.
Deputy Mayor Jorge Blas was tasked with determining how long Garcia had been getting away with this. During his investigation, Blas told a local Spain news outlet: “I wondered whether he was still working there, had he retired, had he died? But the payroll showed he was still receiving a salary.”
He also told the outlet of the moment Garcia probably realized that the jig was up. “I called him up and asked him, ‘What did you do yesterday? The month before, the month before that?’ He didn’t know what to say.”
According to Fox News, the water company was under the impression that he was working out of a government office. The government thought he was working at the water treatment site.
BBC News reported that Garcia was handed down a $30,000 fine, the maximum amount the judge could charge him. Ironically, Garcia could easily pay the funds back as he made more in one year of not working than the fine he was given for his six-year absence.
According to Garcia’s attorney, this is all a big misunderstanding. Garcia alleged he was bullied at his previous work position and was transferred to his current position. He claimed he didn’t have any work to do at the transfer site, but he never informed his bosses. He knew based on his age that finding a new job would be difficult.
To no one’s surprise, Garcia has since retired.