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Teen Demands Brother Pay For New Phone After He Jumped In Pool To Save Drowning Nephew

Sornranison Prakittrakoon/Getty Images

A backyard pool or hot tub can be fun for the whole family.

But according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2018 and 2020, there was an average of 371 pool—or spa tub—related fatal drownings reported per year.

During 2018–2019, unintentional drowning deaths in all water sources totaled 73 for those under age 1 year, 821 for ages 1–4, 390 for ages 5–13, and 270 for ages 14–17.

Children require diligent supervision around water, whether it’s a bucket or the ocean.

But unfortunately it only takes a moment of distraction for tragedy to strike.

A young man dealing with the aftermath of the near drowning of his nephew turned to “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Throwaway199008112 asked:

“AITA for expecting my brother to pay for a new phone after I damaged mine saving his son?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My (19, male) brother (24, male) was watching his son (3, male) when they were over at our parents place this weekend, but he got distracted for a minute and my nephew fell into the backyard swimming pool.”

“Thank God I heard it in time and jumped into the pool and saved him—we are all aware a tragedy could have happened, everyone is still in shock and my father already started working on gating the pool.”

“I did have another kind of financial loss, though, because I had my cell phone in my pocket when I jumped in the pool, and it is dead now.”

“I told my brother I will look to buy a new one and send him the bill. He thinks he is not responsible for paying and says he can not believe that’s what I’m thinking about after his son almost died.”

“So I said it was HIS fault that his son almost died. He should be down on his knees thanking God and kissing my feet for saving his son’s life, and the least he can do is pay for a phone of my choice.

“My mother says to give him time.”

“AITA for insisting here?”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I asked my brother to pay for a new phone for me since mine got damaged, saving his son.”

“Why it can make me an AH—it was an accident, it’s unfair to blame him, and the cellphone seems minor in the great scheme of things (we avoided a real tragedy).”

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 were split in their judgment with some voting the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. If it hadn’t been for you, they might be paying for a funeral.” ~ Some-Store4776

“If you saved my kid’s life, I would buy you a house. NTA.” ~ milkandsalsa

“NTA: Tell mummsie that you’ll be filing against her homeowner’s policy for this loss, unless brother pays to replace your phone STAT. Insurance companies don’t love claims involving pools and might cancel their insurance.” ~ cweaties

“iPhone 15 at least. Your brother sounds like an ungrateful sh*t. NTA.” ~ Consistent-Slice-893

Some felt everyone sucked (ESH).

“ESH and potentially YTA. Cause if my brother used saving his nephew as a way to weasel his way into a phone upgrade rather than a repair or phone of equal value, I’d be pissed too.” ~ ffsmutluv

“ESH—he should cover the costs to replace up to the value of the phone you lost, not a phone of your choice.”

“If your phone was only worth $300, then he’s not responsible for getting you a $1,500 replacement that you want.”

“It’s pretty shameless to try to exploit an emergency for profit, and your attitude about it is gross.” ~ similar_name4489

“ESH. Your brother should have offered to replace your phone that was ruined while saving his kid. It would be the decent thing to do. It’s what I would do. He’s an A-hole for not doing that.”

“You’re an a**hole for saying you’d send him the bill. You’re an a**hole for saying he should be down on his knees and kissing your feet. You’re an a**hole for thinking he should buy you a phone of your choice rather than just replacing the one that you broke saving his kid.”

“You’re also an a**hole for thinking he has to replace your phone. Yeah, you were saving his kid, but it was your choice to jump in the pool with your phone in your pocket.”

“It was admirable of you to jump in without thinking of your personal property and to save a kid. But ultimately, you broke your own phone while taking that action.”

“Technically, he doesn’t owe you a thing. But as I said before, him replacing your phone would be the socially acceptable and expected thing to do. He just technically doesn’t owe you anything.”

“And I think legally he doesn’t owe you a phone either since you decided to take the action that ultimately broke your phone. Even if it was for him and his kid. He didn’t ask you to.”

“Also you just kind of sound like an a**hole in general. The way you speak of this issue is gross. It seems like you rudely said you’d send him the bill while he was still in shock about almost losing his kid.”

“If you had waited for a more appropriate time and brought it up in an appropriate manner, I’m sure his response would’ve been different.”

“Like if you had let him calm down and collect himself and not be in such an emotional state and then said something like ‘hey, when I jumped in the pool I had my phone in my pocket and it’s destroyed now. Would you be able to help me with getting a new one?’ he probably would’ve been open to it.”

“You probably owe him an apology for how you acted while he was distraught. And definitely for saying he should be kissing your feet. And for implying he should buy you a phone of your choice instead of simply a replacement.” ~ Cdum90001

“Was on board until the ‘phone of your choice’. This sounds weird like you had a Samsung S8 and now want a S24 Plus. Now it is ESH.” ~ Gnoom75

“ESH except for mom! Mom is right! He needs time, and you need a new phone.”

“The least he can do is pay a fair amount for your old phone or maybe even just a new phone. But he isn’t the reason his son almost died, he is the one that is responsible for what occurred.”

“He is having a big crisis right now with himself on top of the emotions of possibly losing his son. The last thing he can probably think about right now is a phone.”

“You being so blunt about that bill seemingly right off the bat seems tactless, to say the least. Be more tactful!”

“If you can’t afford the phone, talk to your mom. I bet she’ll be happy to take the bill for the time being.” ~ Quirky_Dog5869

“ESH—while your brother should probably offer to replace your phone, your callous attitude about the life of your nephew as if you solely did your brother a favor, is beyond off-putting.

“He also doesn’t owe you ‘a phone of your choice’.”

“The fact that there were 4 adults in this situation and one person had to dive into water to save the three-year-old makes you all suck.” ~ Background_Town_9700

“ESH. Your reward for rescuing your nephew is that your nephew is alive, not a ‘phone of your choice’.”

“Also, this happened either yesterday or two days ago, so your brother is still probably shaken up.”

“He should give you the financial equivalent of the value of your phone, but dropping that on him right after he nearly lost his kid was wrong.” ~ Inevitable-Place9950

But the majority decided the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“I would say NTA if you had just saved your nephew and asked if your brother could fix or replace your phone with the one you have.”

“Unfortunately, you are showing your immaturity and stepping into YTA by demanding a ‘phone of your choice,’ which I assume means you want to be much more rewarded.”

“Also, by saying he should be kissing your feet, it sounds like you’re rubbing it way into his face at a time when your brother will already be very shocked. Just so you know no one in life is perfect, we all make mistakes.”

“You may live a happier life if you do good deeds without expecting something in return.. especially for your family.” ~ sour_plumbs

“A phone of your choice? YTA. Did you jump into the water to save your nephew or get a new phone?”

“Because your motivation seems suspect. You are not a hero, You jumped in the water, and got your nephew. That is what a good uncle does.”

“Go buy yourself a phone, and congratulations on being a good uncle, but at this point, you just seem stupid for thinking you deserve more than a replacement.” ~ GetBakedBaker

“‘A phone of my choice’ makes you an a**hole (YTA).”

“Brother should replace what you lost. Even if it’s an iPhone 6.” ~ reformedPoS


“‘…and the least he can do is pay for a phone of my choice’.”

“It takes a special kind of a-hole to try to profit off their nephew’s life.” ~ Inconceivable76

“YTA for coming so hot at your brother saying his child’s death would’ve been on him.” ~ Bossyboots69

“YTA. You don’t get to demand a ‘phone of your choice’. I would take that as you capitalizing on a situation.”

“I’m happy you did the right thing, but I understand why your brother would be upset initially. Your brother should buy you an equivalent model, not a model of ‘your choice’.” ~ Newtonman419

“You seem like the type who will bring this up forever. And you clearly want to upgrade, not replace your phone or repair it.”

“You just sound like an unpleasant person. YTA.” ~ LittleFairyOfDeath

“If one of my family members almost drowned and I was the one to rescue them, I’d be too shaken up myself to even think about being rewarded for doing something so natural/instinctual.”

“I can’t imagine going up to my sibling after such a scary moment saying ‘so… I know your kid almost died, but like… I was really hoping you could get me a new phone of my choice sometime soon’.”

“I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it, but the phrasing ‘it’s the least he could do’ really comes off so weird.”

“Not saying that OP wouldn’t consider jumping in after his nephew, but the way he phrases some things comes across like ‘you’re lucky I did that because I really didn’t have to’ which really rubs me the wrong way.”

“The brother should be and probably is absolutely grateful (I mean, who wouldn’t be?), but that doesn’t give OP the right to hold something like this over his head. YTA.” ~ ArticAstrology2396

“YTA. You keep saying saving HIS son is his fault HIS son fell into the pool. I would take an infinite amount of ‘financial’ loses to save my nephew if I had the choice.”

“If he died, your family would be ruined. I have seen it, exactly that situation. Everyone in that house would never forgive themselves, and you all would be husks of your former selves.”

“And you just think about money and who owes you?”

“Any reasonable or logical person who just almost lost their son is not REASONABLE OR LOGICAL at that moment or for the next several months. All they care about is the survival and life of their child, and the fragility of life was just put on display for them.”

“MATERIAL possessions are literally the last thing people care about when facing death.”

“Yes, it’s a phone, an important object in your life. This isn’t you taking an L, this is a huge f*cking win because a FAMILY MEMBER of yours is still alive, because of you.”

“Buy yourself a new phone.” ~ aliarr

Most people took offense to the OP’s timing, approach, and demand for a phone of his choice.

Maybe if he’d handled things differently, he’d not be criticized so harshly.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.