The couple figured it was only fair, considering she had looked after five children and six dogs while they were out.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 8, 2022. It has since been updated.
It's no secret that most hourly wage workers don't get fair pay and the ones starting out often get a raw deal. One teenage babysitter got the shock of her life when a set of parents paid her $350 for babysitting their kids and dogs when they went for a night out. She was expecting $20 but was in for a pleasant surprise. The person who paid the babysitter thought it was a fair deal and shared the story on Reddit and sparking a debate. Many praised the person for paying a fair wage, while some argued that they were setting a very high standard that other parents couldn't follow through and yet others blamed a system that made basic services unaffordable.
The couple in question was set to leave for a night out with four other couples. They had arranged for a babysitter and she had to take care of five children in total, with three of them aged 10-12 and the other two aged 5-7. She also had to watch over six dogs. "That's a hell of a job for anyone, let alone a teen," wrote the person. "Our friend said this teen has been over numerous times with her mom and has always done well with the kids. This was her first time watching them alone, as a job." After their friends assured them it would be OK, they relented.
They all went out to dinner and hit the casino for an hour, before returning home. "Since we were first, I said I'd pay the babysitter and collect later. When I asked what the rate was, I got 'oh I don't know. We didn't discuss that,'" they wrote. The teenager herself didn't know the rates as she was doing it for the first time. "What's fair? I don't even know," she said. "We have friends who take turns watching kids. But as I am a huge proponent of fair pay, I asked what she thought. Our friend said, 'I dunno.. what's good? 20 bucks? I mean it's her first time watching kids,'" they wrote.
"I was shocked. I said, 'No way! I've never used a babysitter but $20 bucks for 5 kids over 3-4 hours is pretty terrible. We'll come up with something,'" they said. "On our Uber ride home my wife came up with $15/hr per kid, per hour. We were thinking 10 for the first time but that would be for an easier gig. Not 5 f*cking kids. Granted most were self-sufficient but we're not monsters and our kids are not saints. We figured, 5 kids, 4 hours, 15/kid = $300. So we gave her $350 to include a 'thanks for not killing our kids' bonus. It's in gest, but common... we all thought it," they wrote.
They figured that it wasn't much when compared to a night out. "My wife and I did ok at the casino but we've spent more on any random night out at a restaurant and bar. We felt good about that," they wrote. What they didn't anticipate was the reaction of the teenager after being paid $350. "The look on this kids face was the most genuine happiness we both had ever seen on any human. Her jaw literally dropped. She turned bright red and said, 'Holy sh*t... I'm sorry for swearing.. but holy sh*t...'" they wrote.
"I asked her what she was expecting. She said 'My mom and I didn't know what to think. We figured maybe $20 bucks.' I looked at her dead in the eye and said, 'Listen. Watching kids matters to adults—so never think it doesn't. These kids were fed, ready for bed, and happy when we got home. That's more than can be expected. We figured 10-15/hr per kid. So we probably got a deal. Don't ever sell yourself short. You don't need to be stressed out all night for the price of one movie ticket. We appreciate you. So thank you for being worth it,'" they said.
"She said 'thank you' and started to tear up. Before she called her mom to come to pick her up, and got the kids all off to bed. I told our friends and they all said, 'Wow... more than I'd thought... but ya.. sounds right.' That kid was awesome. I hope she goes on through life knowing her worth and never takes chump change or anything less than her worth," they wrote. After some people accused them of setting a precedent of paying a lot for a babysitter, they responded, "No regrets. but I get it. Sh*t's expensive out here. Plumbers and electricians charge 150-200/hr. Daycares around me charge up to 500/kid/week. People across ALL industries should be paid more. If you tell me 'that's more than I make' then you deserve more too!"