Children are not always well-behaved.
Sometimes, the kids do something that has consequences for people who are not the children.
So, what happens when your child runs amok and the damaged party comes to you for recompense but the cost is much higher than you expected?
That was the question facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) iambeckers when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
In a now-deleted post, OP asked,
OP began with the background.
“I’m (38 Male) a Scout Leader in both my older sons’(12M & 14M) Troop and daughter’s(8 Female) Scout Pack.”
“We were up at the troop meeting last week and my daughter G was off playing with her friend.”
He explained the origin of the problem.
“Her and her friend apparently proceeded to clog 3 toilets, put a bottle of hand sanitizer in a urinal, as well as one of them smeared poop with a finger on the toilet.”
“They didn’t tell anyone and it went unnoticed before we left the meeting to go home.”
“We were called about it the next day and I told the church we’d cover the cleaning since it had already been cleaned up.”
“There was video evidence of them entering the bathroom and further of them just doing stupid kid stuff elsewhere in the church, so I didn’t think much of covering the potential extra expense the church incurred given the probability my daughter was involved.”
“Fast forward 4 days and they sent us the bill for $500 and the pictures of the mess.”
“It would’ve taken an hour, a set of kitchen tongs and a Clorox wipe to clean this ‘colossal mess'”.
“I politely asked for a breakdown of the charges and how they came about that figure.”
“I have now been threatened twice by the church to pay it.”
“The first threat came in the way of ‘we will review past footage and see if more damage was done previously and your cost may go up if you don’t settle now.’”
“The second threat was ‘pay or we may have to exclude scouts from meeting at the church in the future.’”
He was left to wonder,
“I haven’t made a decision on paying the bill or pushing further, but AITA for questioning a charge that I view as well above reasonable in making restitution for my daughter’s potential actions?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: YTA
Many commenters questioned OP’s logic.
“If you think you can fix 3 clogged toilets and clean a wrecked bathroom with just ‘a set of kitchen tongs and a Clorox wipe’, then you’re delusional.”
“A cleaning company and plumber fixing the damage your daughter and her friend caused could easily come out to $500.”
“You’re lucky they are still letting you meet at the church at all, and didn’t escalate this further from the start” ~ QuackLikeMe
“YTA because if you think that was an easy fix then your way off base.”
“If they had to hire a cleaning company that would cost so much more money and then because of the poop smeared all around they probably would have had to have used biohazard clean up and that’s probably why it’s worth $500.”
“You’re just lucky that they didn’t press charges against her for vandalism. And I didn’t see what you did to punish her either” ~ Longjumping_West_469
“I can’t fault the church for probably wanting to hire someone to clean literal sh*t off the facilities.”
“That’s probably what drove up the price.”
“You seem very unbothered by some pretty terrible behaviour on your kids part. That also makes you more the AH than them.” ~ envy-adams
Of course, there were poop-related personal stories.
“Yeah, when I worked in the service industry you had to have kind of certification to clean up anything that comes out of the human body.”
“They made it VERY clear that you weren’t supposed to clean that stuff without the certification.”
“Liability issues, I assume.” ~ PartyPorpoise
“For real, for real though!”
“I had a friend work at Walmart that said at his store they had special folks for vomit and fecal matter!”
“When I worked retail (different chain store), vomit and fecal matter and whatever else were manager on duty’s job.”
“I hated it.”
“We had folks that would cover our restrooms in it until we ended up no longer letting anyone but staff have access to our restrooms! (And then still had someone sh*t on the floor…)”
“Walmart was the WORST with this.”
“I worked in the pharmacy and more than once, someone sh*t on the floor.”
“One time there was a trail of diarrhea from the vitamins to housewares and all the way around the toy section.”
“I refused to clean it as I’m immunocompromised, so they sent a manager to do it, but they didn’t have anyone special to clean it at our store.”
“Also, mcdonalds when I was a teenager was a constant spot for sh*t smeared on the walls for some reason. No special training was required to clean that either.” ~ Plus-Presentation156
“I work in childcare, we deal with all that on the daily, no special equipment, no ppe other than gloves (short, not even to the elbow ones) and are expected to continue working even if the vomit, urine, faeces is gets on us/our clothes.”
“I wish we had someone just to help with the everyday cleaning (mopping, vacuuming, windows ect), it’s too far-fetched to even imagine having someone specially for bodily fluids.” ~ mamaandminiforever
Others pointed out that there may be larger concerns.
“I’m confused by the 8 yr old playing with poop from a toilet.”
“Honestly? That sounds like it requires professional support. I remember being 8. No one could convince me that was OK.” ~ No_Performance8733
“Didn’t even mention if there was any punishment to his daughter involved.”
“That would be nice to know what the consequences to her actions were if there were any.”
“Pay the bill and hopefully they won’t ban you from this church. Teach your child how to act in public . YTA” ~ OkieLady1952
“Also, I haven’t seen anyone bring this up yet, but playing with your own faeces is often a symptom of sexual abuse.”
“I’d take the kid to be checked out by a doctor and a therapist, this is very developmentally abnormal for an 8 year old.”
“The rest could well be the result of shitty parenting, but the poop thing raises additional, darker worries. And dad doesn’t seem to give af.” ~ threelizards
Not everyone was on the Church’s side though,
“Oh, it’s believable, but why not just provide the bill?”
“That’s a perfectly predictable request.”
“Isn’t it standard when requesting payment for damages? NTA for asking for bills/invoices — getting them and arguing “you didn’t have to pay that much/should have done it yourself/I would have done it myself for less/here’s what I think it’s worth”? Yes, THAT would be abhorrent, but that hasn’t happened yet. ~ JuliaX1984
“I’ve cleaned churches and I’d request an itemized bill also.”
“If they are getting $500 from just OP how much are they also getting from the other kids parents? Or are they only charging OP?” ~ LilMissStormCloud
“I have a suspicion that the church’s response might be because they have paid a cleaner a pittance for cleaning this sh*t or it was done by a volunteer for nothing -“
“And the rest is savings for the vicar’s/priest’s next car/holiday/Rolex.” ~ FatBloke4
“Yeah, I don’t see why that’s such an unusual request. Especially since the evidence is ‘they went in the bathroom’. Did they admit to doing it?”
“I only ask because sometimes in the church community there’s ‘bad kids’ that get blamed for everything, even sh*t the ‘good kids’ did.
“There are also some places that like to send a bill loaded with extras to get you to pay.”
“I had my apartment sprayed for bugs and the rental company tried to stick me with the bill for the whole building by refusing to send an itemized bill”
“OP, contact the merchant for a copy. I did and only paid for my bill.” ~ Yaaaassquatch
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“After the bathroom, they were playing and dancing and doing goofy stuff(laying on the ground doing snow angels and random things I can’t even describe accurately).”
“That’s what I’m am referencing as the ‘stupid kid stuff’, not the bathroom stuff.”
“Church has not mentioned a plumber at all.”
“I wouldn’t have questioned it if they had as that would’ve been explanation enough.”
“Daughter and her friend were in the room next to us, maybe 30 feet away from everyone.”
“Bathroom was right outside that room, but no adults were sitting in the room with them.”
Children do not always obey the rules.
Sometimes they make messes that are too big for them to clean up on their own.
However, asking for proof before paying for something you can’t verify is never the wrong thing to do.