A Man in Spain Didn't Show Up to Work for Six Years

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A Spanish civil servant elevated the term “playing hooky” to new heights, after officials discovered he had been skipping work for at least six years.

Joaquin Garcia, a 69-year-old supervisor at a wastewater treatment plan in the southwestern city of Cádiz, was busted in 2010 after he became eligible for a commemorative award celebrating 20 years of service, the BBC reports. Inquiries to his manager revealed that although Garcia had been granted the position in 1990, nobody had heard a peep from his office in years. Garcia lost an appeal related to the case earlier this year.

According to The Independent, when Garcia's manager tried calling him, Garcia allegedly couldn't answer questions about what he had been doing. “We thought the water company was supervising him but that was not the case,” Jorge Blas Fernandez, who worked as the city’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 2015, told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper.

A legal case launched against Garcia in 2010 alleged that he had collected an annual salary of €37,000 despite having not worked since 2004. This week, Garcia lost his appeal against the lawsuit. He was ordered to pay a fine of €27,000 (or $30,000)—one year’s worth of his annual salary after taxes, and the largest sum that the wastewater company could legally regain. 

Garcia denied the allegations. The 69-year-old said that he was a victim of political bullying in a previous position and the company moved him to a different post. He showed up to work at his new job every day only to find that there was nothing to do. Since Garcia had a family to support, he didn’t report the situation, and instead spent his days reading philosophy.

Garcia reportedly wrote to the mayor, requesting not to have to pay the fine, and he also sought a review of the judgment.

While Garcia’s six-year work hiatus has made global headlines, this isn’t the first time that a paid employee simply stopped going to work without a manager's notice. In 2015, an Indian public official named AK Verma was fired for taking a 24-year “furlough.” Meanwhile, an unnamed city worker in Norfolk, Virginia was sacked in 2010 for collecting a salary with benefits for 12 years without showing up to work. Makes you feel a little better about that "sick day" you took last week, huh?

[h/t BBC]

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.