Dear Annie: My 32-year-old son is currently traveling overseas on business. He is staying at a hotel, but he visited my sister's house to see his aunt and his grandma, who live near his place of business. My niece and her husband also came by to see my son. My son spent a few hours napping in my niece's old bedroom and then left for the hotel.
Two days later, my son got a call at 2 a.m. from his aunt asking whether he had found a ring in his bag, because her daughter said she left her ring on the makeup table in her old room. Mind you, she didn't notice it was missing for two days. And while my son was in her room, he left his bag in the living room.
So I guess my sister is accusing my son of stealing the ring. My son denied taking the ring and was very upset and angry. He is still overseas, and I don't want to discuss this with him now and disturb his business appointments. My son has never had problems stealing as far as we know. He lives in L.A. and is financially secure.
What is the best approach to this situation? Should I just pay the value of the ring to my sister? Should we wait until my son comes back and ask what happened?
- Upset Mom in USA
Dear Mom: Yes, please wait until your son comes back. You don't seem 100-percent certain that he didn't take the ring. And of course, it's equally possible that your niece put the ring somewhere else, doesn't recall doing so and believes your son took it. Things are misplaced all the time, and others are often blamed. Tell your sister you will speak to your son as soon as he returns and work it out. If you believe he is responsible for the ring, ask how much it would cost to replace it. If you think your son is innocent, you could offer to split the cost for the sake of family harmony. The price of the ring is less important than the relationship with your sister.
Dear Annie: Your advice to "A Wife" regarding job applications was spot on, especially when you said, "Be sure to include a cover letter."
When I owned my own business, I would not consider an applicant's resume without a cover letter. Only once did I disregard this rule and hired a person whose qualifications were exactly what I was looking for. She quit a month later, saying she was bored. I should have known, because she was not motivated enough to write a cover letter in the first place. A few years later, she contacted me and asked for her job back. I declined.
- Paco from Albany, N.Y.