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Redditor Livid After Sister Secretly Sells Nephew’s Birthday Present To Pay Niece’s Medical Bills

Boy sitting crouched down on a bed.
dikushin/Getty Images

Some say ignorance is bliss.

Believing there are some things that people are simply better off not knowing and their lives won’t be remotely affected by this lack of information.

Others, however, don’t feel that any secrets should be kept, and if they learn a secret is being kept from a friend or family member, they waste no time in sharing it with them.

The niece of Redditor SensitiveRespond4513 was facing significant health issues.

As a result, the original poster (OP)’s sister and brother-in-law were putting almost all their focus on her, leaving the OP’s nephew feeling a bit left out.

When the OP noticed this, they decided to treat him to something they knew he would like, only to learn their sister intervened and prevented their nephew from partaking in this treat.

Unbeknownst to the OP, however, was that their sister never told their son about this treat, resulting in the OP being confronted by their sister, angry about their spilling the beans!

Having doubts about their decisions, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my nephew that his birthday present was sold behind his back?”

The OP explained how their sister ended up precluding the OP’s efforts to give her nephew a little much-deserved attention.

“I’m angry but would like perspective.”

“I am unmarried and do not have children, so I don’t understand this situation from a parent’s standpoint.”

“I have a niece, Kay 21, and a nephew, Joe 16.”

“My sister and her husband have spent the last few years (since the pandemic started) trying to get Kay sorted.”

“By that, I mean she has a lot of unexplained ailments.”

“They’ve been seeing specialists, chiropractors, acupuncture, etc.”

“To this day, I’m still not entirely sure what is wrong.”

“Kay posts on social media a lot about feeling fatigued, having migraines, weakness, and other symptoms along with her various appointments.”

“Personally, I worry this is being driven by attention because it has become her entire personality.”

“I try to help Kay when I can (I’ve taken her to a few appointments because she doesn’t drive) but I’ve tried to be present mostly for Joe who is overshadowed by all of this.”

“Joe is a very simple young man and doesn’t ask for much, but I can tell he wants some attention.”

“He makes this known by pushing himself in sports, getting the best grades, getting a job, and trying to be as independent as possible.”

“He’s 16 but acts 20.”

“It kind of sucks to watch.”

“For his birthday, I bought two tickets to a football game and transferred them to my sister so that she or her husband could take him.”

“I told them that if they absolutely couldn’t, then I would, but they accepted the tickets.”

“Fast forward a couple of weeks later, and I see a post from my sister selling two football game tickets, and they were very quickly bought.”

“I confronted her and said those tickets were for Joe.”

“Her response was they needed help covering new allergy testing for Kay, and that’s what the money would be used for.”

“I took Joe to lunch yesterday and asked him how he is really doing.”

“He was honest and said he doesn’t feel like an equal member of his family, and I told him I see it too.”

“I asked him why he agreed to sell his birthday tickets and learned he never did and never even knew anything about them.”

“I told him the sequence of events.”

“He was quiet for a bit and then sighed and accepted it.”

“To my surprise, he must have said something to his parents because they called me for a conversation, accusing me of being an AH and saying I hurt Joe’s feelings and that he was better off not knowing.”

“I disagree wholeheartedly but am open to other perspectives.”

“And yes, I am trying to buy new tickets for Joe.”


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 was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for telling their nephew that their mother sold their birthday present.

Everyone agreed that the OP was doing a nice thing for Joe, and their sister had no right to sell the tickets as they weren’t hers to sell, even if they did sympathize with Kay’s illness.


“Please take Joe to a game.”

“And if you are able to do so, please put money in his lunch account, buy him some clothes (nothing so expensive or flashy that his Mom or Stepdad would take them), sponsor Joe for a bank account of his own, and prepare to help him once he’s 18.”- teresajs

“NTA, also take this as a lesson not to give any gifts to their parent, but rather directly to Joe.”-aeroeagleAC


“You gave your nephew a gift.”

“It was reasonable to expect he was made aware of that.”

“His parents not only withheld the gift from him but sold it without telling him.”

“He should be hurt.”

“You should be angry.”

“And his parents should f**k right on off.”

“They may be trying to do what’s right for their daughter, but it isn’t right that it should come at their son’s expense.”

“They are the a**holes in this dispute.”- cheekmo_52


“Joe needs to know because it may happen again in a much more crucial situation.”

“Does he have a college fund?”

“You mentioned he’s working – do his parents have access to his account since he is a minor?”-Garamon7


“THEY STOLE from their kid.”

“IT was GOOD to out them to him.”

“Have you considered helping your nephew move out and escape his abusive parents?”

“Any chance of that?”

“He is 16.”

“If they refuse, tell them there will be a police report about the tickets.”- Aggressive-Mind-2085


“Another story of parents who forget the child who is NOT sick is addicted to drugs or simply not a ‘problem child.'”

“It’s sad!”

“Your sister and her husband can try to justify their pathetic reasons for selling the tickets you gave them for your nephew all they want, but they are wrong.”

“Your nephew may have accepted and over compensated for the lack of attention from his parents, but he is still just a 16-year-old kid who should not have to act 20.”

“Your sister & her husband will one day realize they no longer have a son when he turns 18 and moves out.”

“Please continue to be part of Joe’s life and support him as best you can. He needs someone like you on his side.”

“He sounds like a great kid!”

“You also learned all future gifts to Joe are now given directly to him, not your untrustworthy and crazy sister.”

“Good luck to Joe-he deserves better than your sister as a mother.”- sunset-tx-armadillo


“And now you know that if you want to do something nice for Joe, you have to do it in a way that the parents won’t be able to block (ie, taking him yourself).”

“But…. you know… it may not be that Kay is attention whoring.”

“Her misery maybe her whole personality because the condition of unknown etiology is making her miserable all the time.”- He_Who_Is_Person


“Your sister and her husband are angry not because you hurt Joe’s feelings but because you exposed what they did to Joe.”

“The whole ‘you hurt Joe’s feelings’ is a cover for them being pissed that they got caught stealing their son’s present.”

“They know they did wrong and are angry, but want to put it in a way that shows them in a good light.”

“If they wanted help covering the testing for your niece, they should have asked you directly instead of stealing from their son.”

“You are in no way in the wrong here.”- bamf1701

The OP later returned, sharing that they learned just how Joe learned that his mother sold the football tickets and their plans to make sure Joe felt looked after.

“I’ll try to respond to people as I can.”

“I spoke with Joe individually today.”

“I’m not surprised, but he said he confronted them because he wanted them to give me the money back.”

“As usual, the kid is thinking of others.”

“While I don’t want to be accused of trying to turn him against his parents, I do want to follow his lead in regards to him potentially staying with me.”

“That said, I am going to make more of an effort to spend more time with him.”

“As far as Kay is concerned.”

“I know her health issues are very real, and I want more than nothing for her to feel well.”

“However, she has been behaving manipulatively towards her parents, grandparents, myself, and Joe for a while now.”

“Again, I worry that how she is dealing with her ailments is unhealthy for her and the family.”

“We all support her and do what we can to support her and help her to be well.”

No parent wants to see their child facing a serious illness.

Even so, while it’s understandable that the OP’s sister wants to make Kay’s health a priority, Joe still needs to feel loved and noticed.

Or, at the very least, deserves to open and keep his birthday presents.

Lucky for him, the OP will make sure he will get at least some much-needed attention.

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'.