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Guy Refuses To Switch Theater Seats So A Mom And Her Daughter Can Watch ‘Barbie’ Together

Woman and young woman eating popcorn and watching a movie.
Image Source/Getty Images

One of the things that can possibly make or break your enjoyment of a movie is where you are sitting.

Not many people enjoy craning their necks to look up at the screen, while others need to sit close so they can read the credits and see everything more clearly.

Thankfully, the days of getting to the movie theater early to nab your seats are mostly long gone, as most movie theaters now assign seats when you buy your tickets.

Sadly, this doesn’t always guarantee that everyone will actually sit in their assigned seats.

Redditor throwawayPale_Ad1672 was looking forward to enjoying a movie with his girlfriend, having already nabbed prime seats ahead of time.

Unfortunately, the original poster (OP) was disappointed to discover people were sitting in the seats he’d reserved upon arrival.

When these people asked if they could switch seats, the OP flatly refused.

After being called out by his girlfriend for doing so, however, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not swapping seats so a mother and her daughter could sit together?”

The OP explained why he wasn’t willing to give up his seats on a recent outing to the movies, and why his girlfriend was angry at him for not doing so.

“Yesterday my (22 M[ale]) girlfriend and I went to the movies to go see ‘Barbie’.”

“I purchased our tickets a few days before, and got us seats next to each other in the middle row.”

“When we got into the theater a woman and her daughter were in our seats.”

“I’m not sure how old the daughter was but she looked about 5 or 6.”

“I let the woman know that they were our seats and I even showed her the tickets.”

“She said when she purchased her tickets they only had two seats available, one in the front row and another in the far back.”

“She said she wanted to sit next to her daughter and she didn’t want her sitting that far away from her so she asked if my girlfriend and I could swap seats.”

“I told her that wasn’t my problem and I paid for those seats, so I politely asked her if they would get up.”

“The woman said she understood I paid for the seats but I didn’t have to be rude and inconsiderate.”

“Before the conversation went any further someone who overheard us said they would swap seats with the woman and her daughter.”

“As we were leaving the theater my girlfriend said she felt bad for the woman and giving up our seats would’ve been the right thing to do and I was being a bit inconsiderate.”

“At first I didn’t think I did anything wrong, I paid for those seats and the woman purchased the tickets knowing she wouldn’t be able to sit with her daughter.”

“Now I’m starting to feel a little bad because of what my girlfriend and the woman said.”


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
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to give up the seats he selected.

Everyone agreed that the OP was neither rude nor inconsiderate, and the woman should not have assumed people would give up their seats, particularly prime ones, and if there were no seats together, she and her daughter should have simply gone to another showing.


“The woman should have chose a different movie time instead of assuming people would move for her.”

“She was being inconsiderate to her own daughter in the situation no one would move.”- Warm-Piccolo2326


“The woman purchased the two tickets far apart.”

“It was her decision, and it was a bad one, as her child is too small to send off to sit by herself.”

“So her solution was to usurp somebody else’s seats and play the victim when the somebody else (you) objected, and retaliate for you saying no by making you look and feel bad.”

“She could have simply purchased two seats together for a later show or a later date — but instead, she relied either on the kindness of strangers or on her own ability to manipulate the situation in her favor.”

“None of this says anything bad about you, and it’s all on her.”

“I’m sorry her manipulativeness worked on your girlfriend.”- Content-Plenty-268


“You paid for your seats.”

“The mother knew that there weren’t available seats together when she paid for her tickets.”

“Instead of expecting someone else to accommodate her, she should have waited for a different show, or accommodated her child on her lap for the duration, or waited until the theater filled to see if another spot with 2 adjacent seats became available, or requested politely that someone else move over if possible.”- pooppaysthebills


“Poor planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on your part.”

“They could have planned better or chosen a showing at a different time.”

“You were not required to switch seats.”

“Not sure I’d want to if I went to a movie with my SO as I’d want to watch with them.”- Ducky818


“I am a parent.”

“If I can’t find seats together, I don’t buy the tickets.”

“This applies to plane tickets, movie tickets, live theater tickets.”

“Her lack of planning should not be your problem.”- Itchy_Appeal_9020

“This wasn’t an airplane seat.”

“The mother and daughter could go to the movie some other, less busy day, or to a later screening, or actually pre-plan and buy tickets ahead of time.”

“It’s not like the Barbie movie is going anywhere.”

“NTA.”- YouthNAsia63

“NTA at all.”

‘That mother is selfish and entitled.”

“Probably won’t be the last time she will expect a stranger to be inconvenienced for her because of her poor planning.”- sakuradesune


“It’s all on the mother.”

“She could have waited until another time when there would be more availability for the seating arrangements she wanted.”

“She was fully aware of the seating chart when she bought the tickets – she should have done better.”

“Good on you for standing up for yourself.”- butterfly_d


“If someone bought movie tickets at the last minute and couldn’t find a pair of seats together, a normal person asks nicely to sit together.”

“But you don’t pick the middle seats in the middle of the theatre and just occupy them because those are popular seats.”

“You ask the person on either side of the seats you bought.”- loony-cat


“While it’s unfortunate for the mother and child, you did purchase the seats ahead of time, so they are yours.”

“She could’ve purchased them ahead of time or seen the movie at another time.”

‘What’s interesting is that since the mother knew specific seats are chosen by purchase, she knew ahead of time that yours were occupied/purchased and was banking on you complying.”

“That’s not okay.”

“Girlfriend needs to realize that’s what the mother was planning.”- Vanillieee


“She should have gone to a different showing time.”- MrsActionParsnip


“She is being entitled she new those seats were paid for and decided to sit their anyway.”

“While yes it’s nice to do something for people like that occasionally.”

“However with seats being assigned now she shouldn’t be doing that.”

“She should buy ahead so her and her daughter can sit together.”- RosieMiddleMist4

“The only inconsiderate person here is a woman who chooses ASSIGNED SEATS far apart and then decides to sit somewhere else during the show.”

“NTA and I honestly wish there was more to this story.”- Y2Flax


“And that woman should not have brought a 5yo to a PG13 movie.”- FuzzyMom2005


“An interesting variant on the eternal airplane seating posts! Similar answer – you paid for those seats, precisely those seats, and she can go pound sand.”- ArtShapiro

“She booked her seats knowing there were two left and they weren’t together. sounds like a her problem.”

“NTA.”- Dogmother123


“You had every right to those seats.”

“The woman bought two seats that were really far apart (one in the front, and one in the back), expecting someone to swap with her–what was she thinking/expecting…?!”

“She knew she would be separating another family/couple to accommodate her and her daughter.”

“Regardless, she brought a young child to the theater, and it was nice of someone to swap with her to just make it work, but that was going above and beyond.”

“Sometimes people have to learn lessons, too.”

“Don’t get me wrong, you can and should always do acts of kindness if and when you feel inclined to.”

“But you don’t have an obligation in this case.”- KikiKay3

It would have been very generous indeed if the OP had given up his seats for the mother and daughter.

The fact that he didn’t, though, does not make him inconsiderate.

If anything, considering that the mother and her daughter sat in two seats far away from either of the ones she purchased and assumed there wouldn’t be a problem, it seems there was another inconsiderate member of this story.

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'.