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Dad Balks After Wife Melts Down Over Quality Of Denny’s Food During Daughter’s Birthday Dinner

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When it’s your birthday, it seems more than reasonable that you should decide where to have dinner.

Even if that means going to your favorite chain or greasy spoon, rather than a five star fine dining establishment.

But where the daughter of Redditor Patient_Bad_9901chose to go for her birthday simply didn’t fly with her mother, the original poster (OP)’s wife.

But fearing he might not have handled the situation as well as he could have, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) asking fellow Redditors:

“AITA I told my wife to stop acting like she’s too good for a local diner?”

The OP first told readers where his young daughter chose to have her birthday dinner, and his wife’s experience eating there.

“Today was my younger daughter’s birthday.”

“So we asked her where she wanted to go for dinner at.”

“She said that she wanted to go to Denny’s so that’s where we went.”

“Our daughters ordered burgers and waffles.”

“I ordered a steak and my wife took a salad.”

“She kept complaining about the food saying it wasn’t good.”

“I tasted some of her salad and it tasted fine.”

“I asked her what the problem was and she said the diner wasn’t good enough and that it isn’t as good as the restaurants we usually go to.”

“She likes to go to high-end restaurants.”

“I took her aside and told her to stop acting like she’s too good for a local diner and to suck it up for our younger daughter’s happiness at least.”

“She got mad and said that I’m being rude to her and that this restaurant was really cheap and not good enough.”

“So I gave her the car keys and told her to drive herself home and get dinner for herself from a high-end restaurant of her choice and that I’d get a cab for myself and the kids.”

“She stormed out of the restaurant.”

“When the kids asked me where mommy went, I told them that nana called her so she had to go but she’d make it up to them with ice cream.”

“We had dinner, went to a movie and took a cab home.”

The OP hoped when he and his daughters returned home, his wife would be waiting for him, but found himself in for a surprise.

“When we reached home, I put them to bed because my wife hadn’t returned yet.”

“I called her and she said that she’ll be at her mom’s place for the night.”

“I think maybe I was too harsh on her.”


“Edit: My daughters like the fast-food joints a lot because they rarely get a chance to there.”

“My wife hates eating there so she never takes them.”

“I take them for a quick meal after school sometimes but that’s the only time they go there.”

“They probably feel bad looking at their friends who get to go to such places all the time.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they felt the OP fell in this particular situation.

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Redditors unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole in this particular situation.

Just about everyone was surprised by the behavior of the OP’s wife, particularly on her own daughter’s birthday, and that the OP handled the situation perfectly.

“NTA, I would never go to Chuck E Cheese for myself, but I go for my son and make it a fun time for him. “

“Your wife was hurting her child’s feelings, it was ok to tell her that.” – makethatnoise

“Your wife sounds incredibly selfish and childish if your daughter chose to have her birthday dinner at Denny’s and she threw a tantrum because it wasn’t a higher end restaurant.”

“It’s not about her, it’s about your kids.”

“NTA.” – Saraqael_Rising


“My mom did something similar to me when I got to choose a restaurant for my birthday dinner as a little kid, and I still remember how awful it was as a full-grown adult.”

“If you’re going to do a birthday event, the event is about giving the birthday child a treat.”

“If a parent is going to complain and sulk and otherwise ruin the meal, then there’s no point in having the meal at all.”

“You weren’t harsh—you were direct.”

“And you were 100% correct.”

“If your wife can’t put her kid’s wants first for one meal a year, then she just shouldn’t come to the birthday dinner.” – KittySnowpants


“Seems like you have another child to deal with.” – Anxious_Big_9564


“Your wife took your daughter’s birthday and made it all about herself.”

“She needs to learn to be less selfish.” – bamf1701


“Your wife was acting like a whiny child.”

“I don’t like Denny’s either, but I would suck it up for my kid’s birthday.”

“Assuming I had a kid.” – jacquilynne


“Your wife was putting her snobbery above her child’s happiness while you had your priorities in the right place.”

“You did a great job of putting your kids needs first and made sure your wife didn’t get to ruin your daughter’s birthday.”

“No, Denny’s isn’t fancy.”

“It isn’t fancy at all.”

“They have never been accused of having great food.”

“But their food isn’t terrible either.”

“It is a perfectly fine place to get a meal and it’s what her daughter wanted for her day.”

“Your wife not being willing to sit through one basic unexciting meal for her daughter’s birthday is far worse than the quality of the food she was snubbing.”

“Keep putting your kids first and showing them what it looks like to have your priorities in the right places.” -7thatsanope


“Who misses their own kid’s birthday out of spite, to prove a point?”

“What a complete jerk.”- Tenacious-Tee

Some even went so far as to say her behavior should make the OP take a second look at their marriage.


“Does she often make other peoples happiness about her misery?”

“If she does then listen very clearly to those red flags.” – Coulomb_man

Indeed, it seems the only thing that could have potentially ruined the OP’s daughter’s birthday was not anything on the Denny’s menu, but sadly the behavior of the poor child’s mother.

Here’s hoping the young girl still had a most happy birthday.

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'.