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Redditor Clashes With ‘Child Advocate’ Acquaintance Over Boy Working At His Family’s Ice Cream Shop

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Knowing when to speak up and when to mind your own business is hard distinction for some people to make.

Not everyone will agree, no matter what a person decides.

A person struggling with their own decision turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor LucidPod asked:

“AITA for telling a child advocate to mind her own business?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m in a hiking club and we often stop for a snack afterwards.”

“We have a few spots we frequent but a favorite is the local ice cream parlor.”

“It’s family run and the owners’ son (somewhere between 9-11 years old) is often working behind the counter on weekends.”

“Very sweet chatty kid who’s always making good use of the sample spoons for himself and gives me extra big scoops. I’m a very satisfied patron.”

“On the last few trips a member of our group has remarked to us privately that she thought it was odd to have such a young child working in a store on a weekend.”

“Most of us kind of shrugged and we moved on. But then she became more insistent, saying it really felt amiss, because kids should be playing on the weekends not working in a store.”

“She said she was a child advocate for some group or another and was considering calling some connections to have the store looked into.”

“I don’t know this woman outside of the group so someone who knew her better said that felt inappropriate and if she had concerns she should take it up with the store directly.”

“She agreed and started to go up to the counter to make a fuss.”

“I like eating here, with the group and on my own, so didn’t want to be associated with someone making weird complaints about the nice kid.”

“I interjected before she could get started and said she really needed to mind her business because the kid seemed plenty happy and she was creating a problem where there wasn’t one by imposing her personal values on a private situation.”

“We left pretty quickly after that as we were starting to attract attention. But some of my friends in the group said my reaction was out of bounds because this is her area of expertise, so I was wrong to be so brash, and in a public place.”

“And none of it concerned me.”

“They have a point that I don’t know what she might have noticed that I wouldn’t have in my lack of training.”

“Now I worry I made an ass of myself for being so harsh with her.”

“AITA?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA – I was ‘working’ in my mom’s bookstore when I was 7 from the day we opened. I just loved being there with my unlimited access to books!”

“Patrons thought it comical when my mom would have me help adult customers. But it was a children’s bookstore and I knew where everything was.”

“The patrons were always impressed with how knowledgeable I was about our inventory and with how polite I was.”

“This situation is exactly why so many people have issues with CPS. Creating a problem where there wasn’t one to begin with.”

“Is the child healthy?✅ Fed?✅ Clothed?✅ In school?✅ Showing no signs of abuse?✅ Happy?✅”

“When all the answers are obviously yes, mind your own business! A kid that is allowed to openly sneak sample bites of ice cream whenever they want is obviously there because they want to be.”

“Child advocates are an important necessity in society, but whenever one tries to overstep their bounds, the harder they make the job for all other advocates.” ~ CelticSkye

“Also, think of the alternative—they’re left home alone all day, or with some babysitter instead of hanging out with their parents. Or they’re sitting alone in a back room with a book or phone to occupy them instead of being helpful.”

“Are kids also not allowed to do chores? How about if the parents where decorating their home, is it also wrong to get kids to help there?”

“She’s looking at this situation as a kid working instead of playing, but if the family has to work on the weekends they can’t take him to a playground or whatever, so hanging out and getting quality time with his family while he gets to have attention from strangers and free ice-cream is the ideal solution. NTA.” ~ VisiblePiano0

“I grew up working in my parents’ restaurant, my mom grew up working in her mom’s, her mom in her mom’s.”

“It’s like babysitting, but in the store. And you get a task to keep you entertained and out of trouble.”

“Sounds like this family works hard and still wants to be able to see their kid.”

“I was at the local candy shop last week and their kid was working the praline sample display. He was having a blast and we all thought it was so adorable!!” ~ Melodic-Formal

“I mean, if the kid seemed exhausted, anxious, and frustrated with having to be there I could see some concern. But most kids that age aren’t gonna be able to fake cheerful happiness to that extent.”

“He sounds like an extroverted kid who also liked ice cream and was completely in his element at the shop. If she wanted to keep an eye on him, maybe strike up idle chit-chat with him to see how he was doing, then that’s fair.”

“But you don’t go in guns blazing unless you see the kid getting beaten or something.”

“IDK, some people get so caught up in wanting to be a hero that they’ll look for any excuse to try and step in and act like one- even if one isn’t needed.” ~ Willowed-Wisp

“We run a burger bar/ice cream joint in the summer. You can’t keep my kid out of there.”

“She loves working the window, handing out her drawings to customers. She’s not abused.”

“She’s free to go and come as she pleases (it’s in a campground that she has the run of). She’s 6. She’s fine.”

“This lady is a busybody.” ~ PinkUnicornTARDIS

There are child labor laws in the United States, but is the child actually working or hanging out? Is he there voluntarily or forced to work?

How much work is the child doing?

There were a lot of factors to consider. Redditors agreed the advocates approach was too biased and aggressive.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. She considers herself another proud Maineiac.
Member of NAJA.