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Redditor Called ‘Ableist’ For Refusing To Drive Niece With Tourette’s To School Every Morning

Zahra Amiri/Unsplash

One always wants to be available to family when they’re in need of help.

Particularly if family members are going through a hard time when extra help is all the more important.

But what if giving that extra help just isn’t possible?

Redditor Realistic-Effort-687 wanted to be there for their sister and niece after they suffered a devastating loss.

But they soon realized they couldn’t offer the help needed, as their doing so could potentially put multiple people in physical danger.

But after being scolded by their sister, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not wanting to drive my niece because she has Tourette’s?”

The OP first disclosed that their niece suffers from a diagnosed condition, while they face an undiagnosed problem of their own.

“I’ll keep this quick, my niece has Tourette’s syndrome, which makes her prone to making a lot of loud noises unexpectedly.”

“I’m a decent driver, a good one, maybe.”

“But I need focus.”

“I don’t play music in my car and I don’t drive anyone else most of the time because I don’t like having conversation when I’m driving, it’s just distracting and could be fatal.”

“Just to reiterate, I almost never drive anyone because of that last bit.”

“NTA This is a safety issue.”

“She should be thinking about her daughter’s safety in this situation!”

“What if you get startled and swerve into a vehicle and her daughter is severely injured, paralyzed or gawd forbid killed?”

“Would she be spouting off about ableism then?”

“Ableism is a huge issue but this situation is not the time to deal with it.”

“Tell her sorry but you’re not changing your mind and you won’t be driving her daughter again.”-MiserableQuit828.

But after their sister, with whom the OP had a rather tenuous relationship, suffered a tragic loss, the OP found themselves obligated to overcome their fear of driving other people.

“However my sister’s husband recently passed away and she needs someone who can drive her daughter to school.”

“To be honest, my sister’s always been a sour spot for me.”

“She’s done a lot of sh*t to me throughout the years, but I’ve always had to find it in my heart to forgive her.”

So the OP decided to brave their fear of driving with another passenger, but did so unaware of a vital piece of information surrounding their niece.

“She’s also just rude and entitled 99% of the time.”

“She didn’t tell me that my niece has Tourette’s and because I work an intense job where I work A LOT, I didn’t know either.”

“Cue me driving her for the first time and she won’t stop talking.”

“I’m doing my best to stay focused but I have to tell her to stop.”

“She does, but 10 minutes later she makes a massive screeching sound which makes me dent my car on a mailbox.”

“I get shocked easily, and even if I know what something is, in the half second between me hearing it and my body reacting, I can’t stop myself from reacting to it.”

Realizing that driving their niece to school put the safety of both of them at risk, the OP felt they had no other choice but to stop.

“I told my sister I can’t drive her daughter to school if that’s what she does on a regular basis.”

“I realize she can’t stop that, but I need to make sure I’m a safe driver.”

“She’s going off on me now because I’m being ableist and cruel.”


In the comments section of the post, the OP shared a heartbreaking revelation of where their overt caution when it comes to driving likely stemmed from.

“Normally I’m a decent driver, I’ve managed to avoid some serious crashes, but the therapy might be spot on, both my parents died in a car accident right before I started driving.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

Even though the Reddit community was sympathetic to the OP’s niece and sister, they were otherwise in agreement that the OP was not that a**hole for refusing to drive their niece to school.

Most agreed that the OP’s reasons were more than justified, as they were thinking of the safety of their niece and themself.


“A 5000lb projectile going 45 miles an hour is a weapon.”

“Your first priority is safety – yours, your passengers, everyone on the road (or sidewalk).”

“You are never obligated to compromise that.”- bunnyball88.


“For both your safety and the child’s safety, it’s best if you don’t drive her to school.”- nathashanails.

“NTA – your sister won’t like you any better if you kill her kid in a collision.”- Patient_Company_2375.


“You tried.”

“Trying multiple times could lead to a serious accident.”- niennabobenna.


“I have Tourette’s and my tics are mostly screeches, it is distracting for people.”

“If you’re easily distracted or jumpy, it’s not safe for either of you.”

“It’s not ableist you acknowledge that you can’t drive safely with sudden sounds, especially considering there’s already been damage to your vehicle with one incident.”-InsectLord.

“NTA- if you’re genuinely worried about your comfort and safety, when you’re driving, with your own vehicle, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to drive anyone, no matter the circumstances.”-lacklusterlambkin.

“NTA, safety comes first.”

“If you can’t drive safely in a specific condition, then don’t drive in that condition.”

“If possible, make sure your niece understands it’s not her fault though as she can’t help it.”-BusydaydreamerA137.


“If you need to focus while driving, you’re not being an ableist but realistic.”

“She needs to find someone who is able to drive despite her tics – not your responsibility.”-PikaJadey.


“It’s too dangerous for you to drive with others.”

“Just say no.”- PuzzleheadedTap4484.

“NTA, I have a brutal startle reflex, I absolutely understand that safety has to come first.”-whatsmypassword73.


“This is a safety issue.”

“Your niece’s condition aside, you don’t owe your sister anything.”-hello-mr-cat.


“Safety doesn’t care about feelings.”

“I don’t consider that ableist, I consider that looking out for the well-being of others.”

“I am curious though, why can’t your sister take her daughter to school?”

“If she can’t does the school not have some form of accommodations for transport?”- MedicalStude.

A few suggested that it might be in the OP’s best interest to seek help to overcome their fear of driving other people, particularly after learning what triggered this.


“But also if you’re scared of even talking to someone because it ‘could be fatal’, you might want counseling and driving lessons.”-QuackLikeMe.NTa.

“If you can’t drive safely with her in the car, you shouldn’t be driving with her in the car.”

“End of story. “

“That said, it does sound like you need some serious practice behind the wheel.”

“Distractions happen and you need to be comfortable enough to deal with them as they arise.”- NUT-me-SHELL.


“I saw your other comment about your parents deaths in car wrecks.”

“I am so sorry to hear this and I’m sure that has traumatized driving and even riding in cars for you.”

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

“I hope you can get some help.”

“It’s no fun to be that stressed and it sounds like you may have PTSD.”- leslielantern.


“But you might want to consider therapy for this anxiety you have while driving.”

 “Saw where you said both parents died in accidents.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss and that definitely explains your anxiety about driving.”

“Still think you could benefit from therapy though to help with this and maybe you can enjoy driving.”-Devine900

There were even a few who felt the OP simply wasn’t under any obligation to drive his niece to school, and shouldn’t have been given a hard time about it regardless of the circumstances.


“You don’t owe your sister favors.”- s1m0n_s3z.


“Your sister’s past abuse and your ideal driving conditions aside, you’re not obligated to give rides to her daughter.”

“You were kind enough to do it the once, and found out it was unsustainable.”- notpotat000.


“You tried.”

“But it didn’t work.”

“So your sister needs to make other arrangements for her daughter’s transport.”- ForgottenTroll.



“It is a complete non explanatory sentence.”

“Let them deal with it.”- Friendsarenonhoomans.


“Stand your ground.”- RideTheWindForever.

Other’s were shocked that the OP’s sister neglected to tell them that her daughter has Tourette’s.


“Your sister is AH for not warning you about Niece’s condition.”

“Your sister literally risked your life (and her child’s) by not being honest with you.”

“And she’s Extra AH for trying to guilt you into making her life easier at the cost of yours.”

“And you are NTA for wanting to be a safe driver.”- RevKyriel.


“Your sister is for not telling you her daughter has Tourettes.”-dichingdi.

It is a shame the OP’s sister felt the need to act out the way she did, though it’s more than likely owing to her grief.

Hopefully, the OP’s sister will come to realize that their decision out of concern for her daughter’s safety.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.