In human prehistory, people with food allergies discovered their condition by becoming very ill or even dying after eating something everyone else ate without issues. Death after eating was the same way humans discovered which foods were toxic—which must have made food allergies very confusing for our ancestors.
But as far back as around 2700 BC, Chinese emperors Shen Nong and later Huang Di documented food sensitivity in individuals. Then—over 2,000 years later, around 400 BC—Hippocrates would also write about foods causing some to fall ill or die while having no adverse effect on other people.
The scientific and medical communities would later credit the Greek Hippocrates with “discovering” food allergies, but even up to the 20th century neither the existence nor relevance of food sensitivity was fully embraced by medical science.
In the mid to late 1970s, Charles May’s studies chipped away at the medical skepticism about the importance of food allergies and how to diagnose them.
Now we know of not just life-threatening allergies, but also food sensitivities that don’t relate to allergies—for instance, to things like gluten, food dyes, or lactose. These reactions generally cause discomfort, pain, bloating, or intestinal issues but not the histamines or anaphylaxis associated with allergic reactions.
Since people have become more aware of food sensitivity, replacement products have become big business.
Lactose intolerance alone has spawned a multitude of dairy products without lactose, dairy alternatives, and medicines to eliminate the side effects of lactose consumption.
However, with anything different that captures the public’s attention, there’s backlash.
The existence of meat and milk alternatives and gluten-free products on a menu or a store shelf triggers outrage in some people.
A coffee shop patron found themselves the target of one such food traditionalist.
After an exchange of words, they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA For explaining to a man who refused to mind his busness what happens in graphic detail if I drink regular cow’s milk in my latte?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“I had some test run at my local hospital today. In the hospital is a coffee place. It isn’t Starbucks, but it’s a local place that has a few locations in my area.”
“When I was all done with my medical stuff, I decided to treat myself to a coffee.”
“I got in a long line behind a man that I noticed kept muttering about something. I noticed every time someone in front of him ordered a coffee with some sort of plant milk, he would mutter louder.”
“Finally, he was up to order. He looked around and loudly said, ‘I want a regular drip coffee with real milk, not this froufrou bs everyone drinks these days’.”
“The barista rolled her eyes and got his coffee. He was standing nearby messing with his drink or something.”
“I ordered a latte with oat milk. I was kind of waiting for him to say something, but I wasn’t officially instigating because I always get oat milk.”
The guy looks at me and says, ‘You know that’s not milk right?'”
“I said, ‘yeah, I know’.”
“He then says, ‘it won’t kill you to drink regular milk, right? It’s good for you.”
“Now, here’s where I might be the a**hole.”
“I said, ‘Yeah it won’t kill me but I don’t want to Hershey squirt all the way home. I don’t want to sh*t myself from now until there is nothing left in my stomach. So if you don’t mind, I will take my oat milk latte and not sh*t myself thanks.”
“The guy threw his coffee away and left. The barista was in shock.”
“Now I feel bad, and my husband said it was kind of uncalled for, but he also laughed so hard when I told him. I get so annoyed when people decide they have some out-of-pocket thing to say to me.”
The OP summed up their conundrum.
“I was very rude, and I graphicly described to a person what would happen if I drank cow’s milk.”
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 unanimously decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“Well, he did ask, and you let him know in no uncertain terms that there are horrible stomach and intestinal symptoms that follow. Some people need to hear it and be disgusted in order for them to leave others alone and shut their mouths.”
“What is his problem anyway? You each order your coffee the way you each like it, and that’s that.”
“What do I give a sh*t if you drink oat milk? As long as you don’t force me to drink it, I don’t care. NTA.” ~ BeeYehWoo
“It actually will kill some of us. Milk allergies are a real thing.”
“This guy was an a**hole, and he repeatedly tried to start a fight. When the barista wouldn’t give it to him, OP gave him the verbal Hershey squirts.”
“I couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to metaphorically poop on, OP. NTA.” ~ PlainRosemary
“For real. I won’t die if I drink cow’s milk, but I will certainly wish I was dead between the cramping, sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, and, if I’m really lucky, stomach ulcers!”
“Milk allergies and intolerances are not something to scoff at. We can and do get violently ill. People joke about how lactose intolerant people ‘don’t care’ and it ‘doesn’t stop them’, but it absolutely does stop some of us.”
“Teeny portions of dairy in other forms like chocolate and cheese are not as intense and involve gas and mild cramping instead so I might put up with it. Or at least that is how it is for me. For other people it may well be different, but someone with a full allergy cannot have even those more often than not.”
“This guy needed a dose of cold, hard reality because there are people it will kill, and many it brings a boatload of suffering to. Good on you, OP, for giving it to him.”
“If he didn’t want the details, he should not have tried to start sh*t (pun intended) in the first place. NTA.” ~ Seliphra
“I have a mild lactose intolerance that can be remedied with dairy pills prior to consumption. However, over the weekend, I bought an ice cream before realizing I had no pills on me.”
“I gambled and ate it anyway. We were an hour from our house.”
“Within 15 minutes, I was in agony. I had to have my wife pull into the nearest gas station. If we hadn’t found one, or if their bathroom had been locked, it would’ve been bad news bears.” ~ Mrminecrafthimself
“I like to call this game rrhea roulette…” ~ lemewski
“My father-in-law is one of those people [who complains about other people’s food choices].”
“I’m thin, and he always teases me, saying he should just feed me butter, and I tell him it’s not good for me. He called me a hypochondriac.”
“I then told him the story of when my fiance and I went out to eat, and I had a hot chocolate and then blew up Walmart’s bathroom afterward.”
“He was grossed out, and he hasn’t said much of those types of things since then.” ~ ShayNitz9793
“NTA. My sister used to get eczema that was heavily related to a milk allergy. She stopped with milk products for ten days as a teenager per doctor’s recommendation, and her eczema drastically improved.”
“A couple of dairy-free years later, her boyfriend stopped at Taco Bell to get her something to eat and told them no cheese or sour cream because of her allergy. When she went and bit into it, there was cheese.”
“She spit it out, but the fact that it touched her tongue caused her throat to swell. She ended up okay, and her bf went and let them have a piece of his mind, but it was scary.”
“Dairy allergies are a very real thing.”
“Even then, if someone wants a different milk in their coffee, why tf would I care? I’m not drinking it.” ~ Familiar-Effort-6466
“NTA dude totally deserved that for being a busybody. My husband was surprised that I never had a cappuccino until I was 40+.”
“Me: I’m lactose intolerant remember. Him: good point. I’m pleased with all the offerings we have now, just like you.” ~ empressbunny
A few acknowledged the OP’s response was justified but may have grossed some patrons out.
“Yes, the guy very much had it coming. Who cares what you have or don’t have in your coffee? And your response was hilarious!”
“Now, for any other customers, not so much. As for the barista, I suspect she was cheering. After she picked her jaw up off the floor…unless she was squeamish.” ~ tropicaldiver
But others felt it was worth it.
“I mean, honestly, if I was next after that guy and ordered regular milk, he probably would’ve said something to me, too, thinking I’d be on his side.”
“And the only response I can imagine myself giving would be ‘Why don’t you drink your breast milk in silence, and I’ll do the same’.”
“It’d probably piss him off more cuz I could totally see this type of guy being the same kind offended by public breastfeeding of infants, so being reminded where dairy milk comes from (mammaries) would’ve probably made him squirm.”
“Guy needed to learn to STFU if he doesn’t wanna hear things like that.”
“As far as the other customers go, OP didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, and it put a quick end to everyone having to hear more obnoxious sh*t from that jerk. One slightly gross statement trumps an endless stream of bullsh*t statements, I think.” ~ fzyflwrchld
After receiving their feedback, the OP commented:
“Thanks for all the kind responses”
“I have an issue saying rude things to people being rude to me and then feeling horrible about it later.”
The best takeaway from this?
Minding your own business is free, milk dud!