Redditor SilverActuary7577 is a concerned parent who reacted impulsively to a situation in public she thought was wildly inappropriate.
She took her eight-year-old son shopping in a mall and was appalled by an interaction between a middle-aged man and an adolescent girl and confronted them for their behavior.
When the protective parent realized she had misinterpreted what was happening, she visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for kink shaming in the mall?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“I took my son (8y.o) to the toy store today at the mall to reward him for doing well with his home schooling. While we were there I told him he could walk around the store and pick what he wanted. I pretty much just followed him around.”
“This store has no music and due to size you can pretty much hear all conversations.”
“As my son is wandering I can hear what sounds to be a girl (sounds like late teens trying to talk cutesy to sound younger ) in the next isle. What she says really confused my son and I was mortified.”
The OP recalled the banter she overheard that left her dumbfounded.
“Daddy, daddy! Is so cute! I want it, Pwetty Pwease!”
“To which I hear a full grown man respond back with, ‘Well, do you think you earned a new stuffed animal sweetie?'”
“The girl starts spouting off chores and I usher my son to cash out so we can leave ASAP. However they get to the register before us and I can see that it appears to be a gentleman probably mid forties , clean cut and my suspicions of it being a teen was correct as this girl is clearly either eighteen or just hitting eighteen and dressed in overalls and Hello Kitty shirts and shoes, babbling about how happy she is ‘daddy’ got to take her out for the afternoon.”
“My son is hyper focused on them and i felt that it was enough. I cleared my throat and said that I don’t mind what people do in their bedrooms or private lives, but are they really acting out a daddy fetish in a toy store where real children go? I told them that my son doesn’t need to see it and that she should talk and act her age. Not like a damn toddler.”
“The girl in front of me starts to cry and the cashier is staring at us and the man looks stunned for a moment before looking me dead in the eyes and said, ‘She is my adopted daughter and she has a plethora of health issues, so how about you mind your business and f’k off.'”
“I told my husband about this and he agrees that I was just trying to protect our son. But now I’m not sure if I was being an a**hole or not.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
NTA – Not The A**hole
YTA – You’re The A**hole
ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
NAH – No A**holes Here
Many Redditors declared YTA and slammed the OP for jumping to conclusions.
“YTA. What does your 8 year old son know about that? Protect him from what? The ‘fetish’ was in your brain.”
“As an adult you pieced together what might be going on in your head. Your son probably had no such thoughts, because he’s 8. There was nothing inherently sexual about what they were doing, you connected the dots.”
“Your son doesn’t even know what a ‘daddy fetish’ is, so how would it hurt him?” – RisottoVonBismarck
“YTA, hugely. Mind your own business. That girl could have been much younger than she looked or have mental health issues that cause her to act younger than she physically is. None of what they said was offensive, ‘kinky’ or weird in the least.” – Meretneith
“YTA. You built a mental picture of a situation, called someone out on it, and ended up very very wrong. That makes you an a**hole.”
“You could have either not called it out and explained it away to your son, or just waited elsewhere if it made you so uncomfortable.” – Celimas“
“YTA. You sexualized and fetishized the word “daddy.” You embarrassed not only yourself, but that girl and her dad at the store for no reason. It doesn’t matter what they were doing, who they were, whatever. If your son had questions, you could explain them to him later, outside of the store. No need to judge just because you think “daddy” is a sexual word. Bottom line: you don’t know the situation at all.” – dotkitten
“YTA, and the fact that your mind automatically went to something kinky is on YOU. Seriously? How dirty minded were you automatically assume that a young girl begging who was clearly her dad for stuffed toy anywhere kinky??”
“That’s a YOU problem. You should of kept your head tf down. It wasn’t anything vulgar, or downright pornographic and certainly nothing kinkh in the slightest, and wasn’t going to affect your son in anyway since he was probably looking at her since she’s dressed in all pink.”
“Get your head out of the gutter.” – Seebs_69
“To add one more thing here, you are the only one who tainted that for your son, making him aware that what they were doing was wrong, your son could have been hyperfocused for a million different reasons, not what they were saying. YOU just made it ‘bad’.” – traformin-evrdel1897
“You are the one who was making a scene..frankly I doubt your kid would have noticed until you pointed it out. How embarrassing for him.”
“When I read the title I was thinking like spanking or something outright obviously kinky.”
“Then the egg is on your face by being outright told off rightfully by a stranger for sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong.”
“YTA. Mind your business and don’t make assumptions about perfect strangers.” – Silverinkbottle
“YTA. Even if you were right, and this was some fetish thing, they weren’t doing anything harmful in the slightest. Just because their behaviour was unusual, it doesn’t mean you get to go around being judgemental and abusive to other people.”
“The fact you were wrong should hopefully give you a lesson in keeping your nose out of other peoples lives. The only concerning thing here is how you behave around your child, teaching them to be judgemental and hostile.” – RusevDayToday
“YTA- i understand your parental defensive-ness but you gotta let people be whoever they want to be and hopefully you’ll explain to your son how wonderful this world is that people can be themselves.”
“Even if they were acting out fantasies, who cares! Doesnt sound like they were hurting anyone, and your son is going to be curious about (out of the norm) occurrences anyway, hes a kid, even I’d look a little longer if I saw this, it’s about your reaction to what whatever your son is curious about that will change how he views things.” – lilolivegirl
“YTA. I find it bizarre how you jumped to a immediate conclusion of sex and people carrying out sexual fetishes in public. If I saw that, I think I would most likely jump to a conclusion of that girl is suffering from a terrible disability of where she is physically approx 18 but mentally 10. It’s really not that uncommon.
“Instead you projected your own issues and made it sexual. Now how are you going to explain this to your 8 year old son? This could have been a great circumstance to discuss disabilities with your son but you turned it into something weird and sexual.” – VisionsOfLife
The general consensus was that the OP should have minded her own business and that she caused more trouble by bringing attention to a non-issue.