What Would Jake Do…

Had a bit of an odd situation in Asuncion, Paraguay yesterday…

So the maid comes over — and no, this isn’t going where you think it is ;(

She cleans my one-bedroom apartment in a few hours. I hit the gym in my building while she’s cleaning. No issue. She works in my building and my landlord said she’s trustworthy. All good.

When she’s finishing up, I ask if she can do my laundry too — because I don’t have a machine in my apartment.

“Si, Senor.”

I gather up all my clothes, sheets, and towels. Throw them in a trash bag for her. Make sure to say I want my dress shirts ironed and my jeans air-dried.

“Si, Senor.”

She takes the clothes. I don’t think anything of it. Got back to work for the rest of the afternoon.

The following morning she shows up with all my clothes, sheets, and towels folded. Jeans dripping wet still. Two shirts ironed.

Exactly what I asked for, but there’s one shirt missing.

I tell her so.


She gives me a confused look. I explain what the shirt looks like to her. The color, cut, style, etc. She heads back to the laundry area to see if she can find it.

Five minutes later and she comes back with an Adidas dark blue golf polo. Nah. This ain’t it, fam.

The shirt that’s missing?

A brand new short sleeve button down I bought at Mango a few days prior. Legit brand new. Worn twice.

I pull up a picture on my phone.


Show her the picture of what the shirt should look like and a confused look comes across her face. Like she’s never seen the shirt before.

She starts crawling around on her hands and knees looking under my furniture for the shirt. Asks to look in my closet and drawers.

“No hay problema.”

After every square inch of my apartment has been searched, she starts saying she’ll buy me another one. No problem. Lots of rapid fire Spanish that’s over my head.

I’m like…nah.

In the back of my head, I know she couldn’t afford it. The shirt isn’t too expensive, but it probably costs close to her weekly salary.

I know this. She doesn’t, but she keeps on insisting on paying for it.

So I whip out the receipt. Look her in the eyes and say:

“Pues, no necesitas pagar por la camiseta. Solo estoy molesto porque la camiseta esta nueva.”

I show her the date on the receipt. Point only to the date.

She looks over the whole receipt and her whole demeanor changes. Her face goes from stressed to straight up worried.


Her lip begins to quiver and tears start to roll down her face.

I’m confused. The tears messed up my train of thought.

She’s crying. Balling. Tears everywhere. Sniffles and shit.

I’m still standing there kind of in awe.

It took me off guard why she was so upset. Why she went from stressed to alligator tears in a split second.

She saw the price of the shirt. Probably a week of her salary. Maybe more.

What Would Jake Do…

I tell her we’re all good.

Usher her out of my apartment.

She’s still crying.

Reassure her that she doesn’t need to pay me anything for the shirt, but she keeps insisting.

Hell, she’s been writing my non-stop yesterday and today asking when she can stop by to pay me — and not to tell anyone else about the situation:

But the situation has been on my mind the last day or so. Mostly out of curiosity. About what actually happened to the got damn shirt. Why she was crying so much.


Oh, and she keeps politely asking me not to tell the building manager about what happened or ask for the shirt in the lost and found.

Over and over again.

Because if they find out she’s been cleaning my apartment…she’ll lose her job here, as she should be cleaning the building and not my place during her working hours.

I’d love to go check the security footage from the laundry room, but really don’t want that type of karma on me. Getting a young maid fired from her job making $300-400 bucks a month.

So here’s what I think could have happened:

  • She stole it for her boyfriend or whatever. It was brand new. Great looking shirt. “Schmedium” sized so my arms looked massive in it. Probably would fit a local pretty well. 
  • She lost it somehow. It fell out of the bag when she was transporting the clothing or something like that.
  • She f*cked up when washing/drying/ironing the shirt and was too embarrassed to admit what happened. Figured I might not notice what happened and if I did she could just give me some money. Probably had no clue on the price.
  • Someone else stole it while it was in the laundry room. Maybe one of her coworkers or someone else living in the building.

I don’t think she lost it while transporting the shirt from my apartment. I honestly doubt she’d steal a shirt from someone who lives in the building she’s employed in. I mean she is a maid in South America by profession and not a rocket scientist…

But that’d be pretty stupid no matter how you slice it.

I’d say the most likely scenarios are:

  • She fucked it up and was embarrassed.
  • One of her coworkers stole the shirt when it was in the laundry room.

And while I’m a bit upset about losing a brand new shirt, I’m not going to do shit about it.

Just going to let it go.

It’s not a big deal to me, although the tears were a bit odd and probably the main reason why I’m writing this article.

The reality is she needs to keep her job more than I need that shirt. She might have kids. Maybe a family to support. I have no clue. But she needs the money more than I need that shirt.

So I’m not going to ask her to pay for it — not going to ask the building management to see the security footage.

Not going to do shit.

Well, except for look for a new maid to clean my place, as I don’t trust her any longer.


Did I miss something? Could something else have happened? I’m still a bit curious if I missed something here.

How would you have handled the situation?

Sound off in the comments.

5/5 (2 Reviews)
Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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Kyle Trouble - May 24, 2019

I’d probably be more likely to think she did take it, at the same time, you’re doing the right thing to just let it go.

Plus, better a shirt than your passport, wallet, phone, laptop, etc.

    Jake D - May 26, 2019


    A shirt ain’t shit. Other stuff…yeah, that becomes a bigger deal.

    Overall, not the end of the world and life moves on.

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