It was a simple and stark lesson for this lifelong teacher.
Leakatina Smith worked at Heavenly Miracle Academy, a daycare center based in Brooklyn, for nearly a month. Now, the place owes her thousands in back wages.
"It put me under a lot of stress because I have 5 kids. I even went to the food stamps to help food. We were really getting behind," Smith said.
Last fall, Lea's old college professor helped get her the job as the head teacher of the academy's pre-k program for special needs children.
"I was crying, I was just so grateful," she said, because that was a promotion.
Lea worked full time last September, but by month's end, she never got a paycheck.
"He was like, 'Don't worry. You're going to get paid.' Next thing I know, I'm like, I can't take this no more," she said.
So she left and started texting the book-keeper, pleading for pay.
Two months later, she received a ray of hope. The money was promised, but then she still did not get paid. So, Lea called 7 On Your Side.
"That's right. I really couldn't take it no more," she said.
Now without pay for nearly 4 months, she and her husband are behind on their mortgage.
"I was feeling helpless," Lea said.
So we called and were told the payment would take another month because they never got her timesheets, but minutes later, a miracle from the academy: Timesheets were found!
Just hours after our calls, Lea had her check and payment in full.
"I'm happy and I want to give a special thanks to 7 On Your Side. I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks so much guys," she said.
The owner of the Heavenly Miracle Academy confirmed Lea should've been paid long ago, and that it was a mix-up on their part. They also said she was the only employee with a payment problem. As for Lea, she's on to a new job teaching special needs kids and is loving it.
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