I am a seasoned English teacher with over 10 years of experience including university and online instruction. I answered an ad on craigslist.org and interviewed with Shaady Aldy Ayaad Mekaeil in August 2019. The ad mentioned “work visa granted.” Although the ad was poorly written and full of spelling and grammatical errors, I felt it was worth a shot as I really wanted to obtain a work visa. Upon interviewing, he told me that he would indeed sponsor me to get my work visa in Mexico, and that as soon as he established contracts with companies (his imminent plan), I would be making more money than I had ever made. He would, however, charge me $300 USD for the visa. As I was working 5 days a week already, I told him I would give him my two free days (Thursdays and Fridays) for a trial period of 3 months to see if he did, indeed, roll out the business, and if not by that time, we could re-assess at that time. We shook hands on it. In the first month, it was awkward because his 2 year-old son, a product of his 20-year old wife (25 years younger than Shaady) ran rampant in the school, and Shaady would constantly scream abusively at both of them. Before I began my 2nd month, Shaady had kicked his wife and son out on the street ordering them never to come back. He told me he did this because running the school was more important to him. During this time, I taught classes (with no training he promised to provide–though truly, I didn’t need any considering my experience) as well as fulfilling an administrative role. Since there was such low response to his poorly written ads seeking teachers, I offered to re-write them for him, which I did. I changed the ad’s message to appeal to people’s altruism and/or retirees who would potentially be willing to work for little income. As a result, the responses started pouring in. In this time, I saw 4 teachers come and go within a couple weeks of starting (some of whom I had interviewed initially for him). I assumed they had come and gone so quickly because upon interviewing them, he revealed that the pay was only 50 pesos per hour. Likely true, but later, I found out from one of them that he left because he was so distraught over the emotionally abusive language Shaady used with his wife and child. Shaady also routinely stated that he didn’t want to hire Mexicans because he didn’t trust them and they were lazy. After two months, Shaady finally initiated the paperwork at the immigration office to apply for my visa, and took the time to give me his unsolicited word that I would have my visa soon. I had already been dedicating 6-8 hours on my only days free from work at the time hoping the sacrifice would be worth it. He only compensated an an insulting 30 pesos per hour for admin work and 50 for teaching. But then, the real abuse started–the textbook pattern employed by abusive, tyrannical people (think abusive husbands): They make you dependent on them for something (in this case, my visa) and then they make unreasonable demands that you feel you can’t deny them for fear that you’ll lose what they’re offering. He told me then that he would need me from 9am to 6:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays from then on. That was something I was not willing to do. I reminded him that I was already working 5 days a week with my other U.S.-based companies, and that our initial 3-month agreement would be coming to a close within about 3 weeks. Perhaps needless to say, he had still not obtained any contracts with companies, so if I were to make more money than I had ever made (as he had assured me initially), that wouldn’t be anytime soon. The following Wednesday, I received a voice message (Whatsapp) telling me that he wouldn’t need me the next day, and then again on Thursday evening, I received another message telling me that he wouldn’t need me on Friday either. I received an additional voice message minutes later telling me that he was no longer in agreement with our initial 3-month agreement–that now, if I wanted to obtain my visa, I would need to dedicate 10-15 hours weekly to the school on a permanent basis, and those days couldn’t be Thursdays or Fridays (in other words, not on the only work-free days I had to offer). He also said that he would not charge me $300 USD for the visa, but rather $625; or if I didn’t want to work for the school at all, he would charge me $1250 USD. Clearly, I was not willing to exercise either of these options, but I wanted to be distinct and professional from the other teachers who had come and gone without notice/without returning their materials. He referred to them as “cowards” and that he hated cowards. I was insistent on telling him personally, face-to-face why I would not return. I went to the school that same Friday with the cheap, xerox-copy of the textbook he had provided me to teach from. I knocked for about 10 minutes, and he didn’t answer. I returned a few hours later, knocked again, and he didn’t answer. On my way home, my phone rang, and I saw that it was Shaady calling. I answered it, but there was no sound. I asked in case he could hear me, “Are you at the school?” Still, no sound. I returned to the school a 3rd time and knocked. Still no answer. Upon arriving home, I received the following text messages (corrected for grammar and spelling): “Hey, security just informed me you were here at my door. If you need to see me, it’s only by appointment. This is the last time you show up here with no previous appointment. This is not a f***king store where you can show whenever you like it.” He then sent two voice messages, which he deleted from the Whatsapp record full of epithets and threats to my life. Then he sent a picture of a copy of my passport and wrote, “Now security and the police have a photo of your passport…Your visa is cancelled and you are no longer allowed on my properties crazy, old man. And I have your address. You are not allowed to be working in Mexico…You f***ed with the wrong guy, motherf***er and showed your real face. I have a camera at the door and we got you on camera, coward b***h….your passport will be flagged in Mexico..If I hear you are here again, I will come to your house and knock on your f***ing door….now you f***d yourself badly…” This went on for 50 messages in which he continued to insult me and threaten me. His final voice message stated that I could come back to the school, but if I did, I wouldn’t leave (suggesting that he would kill me). I have since filed a police report against Shaady. This is an absolutely true account. I couldn’t make this up. For your own well being, I hope you take the time to read this and know what to expect. When I left, there was only one English teacher working for him–a kind-hearted Mexican man in his early twenties whom had spent part of his youth in the USA. I was witness to Shaady’s verbal and emotional abuse of this innocent, young man, too, whom I asked, “Why do you put up with this abusive treatment?” He told me, “I have a mission. I need to convince Shaady that he can trust Mexicans.”
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