DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently I saw a woman I am acquainted with who had been working as a chambermaid at a local motel. She has a different job.

I am very concerned about what she told me about her former employer. As soon as guests checked out, he would go to their room and pocket the tip.

When I have left tips for chambermaids I have assumed it would go to them. I know that they try to get by on a minimum wage. I feel that what this owner is doing is unethical. I wonder, is it also illegal? — No Name, Oxford County

ANSWER: Once again Sun Spots turned to Sgt. David Chick, inspector of police for the Lewiston Police Department, who sent links to a couple of state statutes. 

The first,, includes this statement: 

“The tips received by a service employee become the property of the employee and may not be shared with the employer. Tips that are automatically included in the customer’s bill or that are charged to a credit card must be treated like tips given to the service employee. A tip that is charged to a credit card must be paid by the employer to the employee by the next regular payday and may not be held while the employer is awaiting reimbursement from a credit card company.”

For a definition of a tip, Sgt. Chick sent this link: 

“‘Tip’ means a sum presented by a customer in recognition of services performed by one or more service employees, including a charge automatically included in the customer’s bill. ‘Tip’ does not include a service charge added to a customer’s bill in a banquet or private club setting by agreement between the customer and employer.”

So based on these statutes, it does indeed look like the motel owner is breaking the law, along with being a rather rotten boss. It’s a wonder he keeps any housekeeping staff.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In a recent column you had listed Global Home Care Services with a phone number of 207-376-3060. However, when I called that number the person that answered didn’t seem to speak English. Is that the correct number? I enjoy the column, and it’s also interesting!

Please answer by email as our cellphone was sent away for repair, and we haven’t received it back yet. Thank you. — Jane via email

ANSWER: First, readers need not worry about Sun Spots calling them, as all communication is done through the column. Sun Spots does not act as a private go-between, as the purpose of the column is to provide interesting material for readers. 

As for Gaarad Dees of Global Home Care Services (145 Lisbon St., Suite 503, Lewiston), he does indeed speak English, and well, albeit with an accent. He said he is the only one who answers that number.

His nonprofit is stepping in where the old St. Mary’s METGO program, which was discontinued, left off. There are no fees to borrow the equipment, but you must pick them up. Gaarad welcomes donations.

However, he does not do hospital beds, not only because of lack of space but because the mattresses cannot be sterilized. 

Readers who want to donate hospital beds or other items not available from Gaarad are welcome to do so through the column. Please include a phone number. Many readers do not have email.

Finally, on this same topic, on Nov. 13 R.A.C. wrote looking for Gaarad’s number, as she was seeking equipment for a friend who is a recent amputee. Several readers called the newsroom looking for R.A.C.’s phone number, as they had items to offer.

Sun Spots emailed R.A.C. and asked if it would be OK to publish her phone number. R.A.C. said yes and thanked all those who called. You can reach her at 207-783-0662.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Could you let the Livermore Falls writer from the Nov. 12 column know he should contact Jim Bryant of Wayne, who is the “keeper” of many historical clocks throughout the state and has been looking for a bell to complete his own bell tower for years? Not sure if he ever found one. His home phone is 207-685-4720. — Leslie via email

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