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College Student Misses Out On Family Thanksgiving Trip Since He Didn’t Check His Email

Man reading email on smartphone

In this day and age, the best ways to communicate when not face-to-face can be tricky.

It feels like nobody answers the phone anymore, especially anyone born after 2000.

So, if somebody is trying to reach out, how many platforms does one hit to cover all the bases?

And is it really necessary?

How many attempts is respectful enough before one has to move on?

Case in point…

Redditor Alarming_Ebb3027 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for telling my son that he’s not coming on vacation because he didn’t check his emails?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m planning a family Thanksgiving vacation, and a really good deal came up to go to the Cook Islands.”

“I emailed my son, 20-year-old Ollie, on Friday and called Sunday to see if he wanted to go.”

“He’s in college, and I’m not wasting money on a ticket if he didn’t want to go.”

“I needed to know by today because I have to get visas for my 16, 11, and 8-year-old sons.

“Well, he didn’t so I bought the package.”

“Just now, he texted me saying he wanted to go.”

“I said too late.”

“Already bought the tickets.”

“Next time, check your email or answer your f**king phone.”

“He said most people communicate by text.”

“I said well, most people don’t get to go to the Cook Islands.”

“Now his mom/my ex is trying to tell me that he’s Gen Z and text is their primary communication format.”

“Had I texted him, then he would have responded.”

“I said I don’t care.”

“I’m well in my 40s and check ALL of my communication formats because I don’t want to miss anything.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

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

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“YTA – on many fronts.”

“1- You emailed him Friday – hardly surprising he didn’t check his email over the weekend.”

“2- You called but didn’t leave a message.”

“So, he sees a missed message when he’s out with friends or on a date or watching a movie – surely you don’t expect him to call right back.”

“3- Then you arrogantly complain that a missed call from you is more important than a message.”

“What a load of horses**t – unless you never call him just to catch up.”

“My kids would NEVER call me back without a message.”

“4- Then he calls you on MONDAY – likely after catching up with his weekend emails, but you just shut him down.”

“You could’ve said, let me see if there are still affordable plane tickets rather than punishing him for not following your rigid rules to the letter.”

“5- It’s over a weekend, and he responded in a reasonable timeframe – give him a break.”

“YOU gave him far, far too little warning to justify kicking him out of a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation.”

“It’s quite clear that you don’t care if your son goes on the trip with you or not.”

“Your whole post sounds like some stupid controlling powertrip.”

“Get over yourself and find some way to make this right because your attitude is quite unreasonable.” ~ AppropriateScience71

“YTA. Honestly, it sounds more like he set him to make some angry old man point about ‘kids these days.'”

“He intentionally left info on the platform he knew his son would check the least often.”

“They called during a holiday weekend and made sure not to leave a message.”

“OP knew what they were doing.” ~ TogarSucks

“’Angry old man points’ and the guy is only in his mid-40s.”

“As a person who is turning 46 in a couple of months, I read these posts by people in my age group and it scares the hell out of me.”

“OP, YTA. Absolutely ridiculous standard.” ~ Extra-Visit-8385

“My parents are in their 60s, and I’d find it really weird if I got an email from one of them like they’re a work colleague.”

“Mobile phones have been a thing for nearly half their lives. We’ve always texted (and now also Whatsapp, etc).”

“People forget that 40-year-olds now probably used text messaging of some kind in their 20s just like 20-year-olds today.”

“Hardly a Gen X vs Gen Z issue.”

“OP is just being difficult for no reason, or he had some other reason for not wanting one kid to go on a trip.” ~ notreallifeliving

“Seriously though. I don’t understand why OP didn’t send a text on Friday night saying, ‘I sent you an email about a time-sensitive trip. Please get back to me ASAP.'”

“I bet anything that when OP needs information from his son (that benefits OP), he knows exactly how to get him to respond.”

“But OP is being passive-aggressive about this.”

“My guess is that OP’s kid is suddenly not available to him 24/7 (like high school), and he’s upset that his kid is setting boundaries.”

“It reminds me of my dad who used to leave voice mail like, ‘I guess you’re just too busy to answer your damn phone. I’m tired of talking to your voicemail.'” ~ numbersthen0987431

“It’s pretty clear you’re furious at him for not answering his phone on a Sunday or checking his email on the weekend.”

“And from comments… You didn’t even leave a phone message? Wow. Just wow.”

“Frankly, even adults out of college have the right to rest on Sunday and choose not to talk with their parents during the weekend when they could be out having fun with plans or resting.”

“Also, it’s completely unreasonable to assume people check their email on the weekend.”

“He got your message and called back the very next day.”

“That’s responsible and respectful, and definitely more than most in college.”

“I think your ex is right that there’s something not being understood about cell phones.”

“I grew up before cell phones, too, and when we just had landlines.”

“There was healthy breathing room between the life you had outside the house and someone’s ability to contact you.”

“Since now people have phones constantly on them.”

“There’s a different standard understood behavior that voice calls will not always be picked up or answered immediately, and urgent messages should be by text.”

“In the age of cell phones, it’s necessary for your son’s mental sanity to have some breathing room here, especially on a Sunday.”

“Calling back the very next day is actually really responsible for anyone.”

“Being angry about an unreasonable expectation that anyone is 100% required to pick up a phone on a Sunday.”

“And not listening to your ex that texting is normal for urgent messages, and then using that anger to deny your son’s ability to join his family for Thanksgiving is… well it’s really not great.”

“Your son had no idea he needed to confirm a vacation this weekend.”

“And you were the one who set up the unreasonable expectation that your son has to answer the phone on one specific day, namely a Sunday when it’s normal to rest or have plans.”

“Then, on top of that, you booked a trip for the entire family without him. Yeah. YTA.”

“And I hope it comes across that I’m really trying to give you perspective as someone who did grow up in landline culture, and did make the transitions to cell phones.”  ~ curiousjosh

“Oldie here as well, I’m in my 60s, and text is my number one way of communicating.”

“The fact that you didn’t give your son any grace when it was Sunday when he was probably having great fun, time at college, and he did call you back the next day.”

“The fact that you wouldn’t even try to reach out to my text says a lot more about you than him.YTA.” ~ Roadgoddess

“You’re willing to check all of your methods of communication but not willing to try all methods of communicating with your son?”

“At the very least, you should have sent a text saying, ‘Call me back before ____, it’s time sensitive.'”

“If you had done that, I’d say you were in the clear, but as it is… YTA.” ~ OverexuberantPuppy

“YTA. Dear God, is this organizing a family holiday with your children or closing a business deal?”

“One email and one phone are the only chances your college-age son gets to go on a family vacation?”

“This is incredibly sad.” ~ hausofmc

“I’m old enough to be YOUR father, and yes, YTA, plain and simple.”

“You plan a family trip, which I presume you’ve been thinking about for a while for a while because that’s what people do.”

“You could have given him a heads up then.”

“You give your son three days to come up with an answer, but because he has a life of his own and he’s doing whatever, you’ve chosen to exclude him because you’re in a hurry.”

“You could have used some of your hard-nosed energy to negotiate a better deal with the travel agent OR just gone ahead and gotten the ticket for him and then if he wasn’t interested, you could have gotten a refund for his ticket.”

“You apparently wanted to include him, but because you wanted to be in control and he didn’t respond in the way YOU wanted, you cut him off.”

“Something some people fail to understand is that if you’re s**ty to your children, they won’t forget it.”

“If you don’t take your eldest son to the Cook Islands, I have no doubt he won’t forgive you for it.”

“My own father did some very sh**ty things to his family, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for it.”

“Your son may feel the same way about you.” ~ imacmadman22

“YTA, you seem weirdly proud of excluding your son with a ‘gotcha,’ and you seem very resentful of him in general.”

“I can’t help but wonder if there is more to the reason that he doesn’t get back to you or check your emails consistently.” ~ Gladiator-tstar

Well, OP, Reddit is not thrilled with your actions.

Sounds like maybe you could’ve tried harder to reach your son.

A calm family talk could be a good way to make things right.

Hopefully, there is a way to add him to the trip.

Maybe he can make up the difference financially to add his ticket.