When it comes to babysitting, knowing what is or is not appropriate to feed a child with food allergies is a must.
But is it wrong to feed them someone you’re sure is safe without getting the parent’s explicit permission to do so?
Redditor thekawaiipisces recently encountered this issue with one of their neighbors, so they turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if they were in the wrong, asking:
“AITA for feeding a kid ethnic food without his parent’s permission?”
The original poster (OP) explained how the babysitting gig came about.
“My neighbor, let’s called her Linda is a single mother of a sweet little 7-year-old boy called Ben. Linda and I are always cordial to each other in the hallways but I don’t know much about her.”
“Day before yesterday, Linda asked me whether I could watch Ben the next day for a few hours as she had an important meeting and couldn’t find a babysitter and I agreed. Now, she wasn’t paying me, it’s just a favor and I didn’t expect her to pay me.”
“The next day, when she dropped off her kid, she gave me his lunch: vegetable sandwich and orange juice and told me not to give him any candies and that he is allergic to almonds.”
When it came time for lunch, Ben showed an interest in the OP’s food.
“Ben and I played video games and watched TV and had fun that day. For lunch, I made myself roti and brinjal sabzi.”
“Ben asked me whether he could take a bite from my lunch and then he ended up loving it and ate 2 rotis. I was happy to see him gulp all that up but unfortunately, he was full from the rotis so he barely ate his sandwich.”
After discovering what her son ate, the OP’s neighbor was furious.
“That evening, Linda picked up her son and thanked and left. After a while, she came back and seemed pretty mad at me.”
“She told me that I had no right to force feed her son ethnic food and God knows what’s in it. She said that she was trying to transition her son into the vegan lifestyle and I just sabotaged it from giving him food she has never even heard off.”
“I tried explaining her that what he ate is completely vegan-friendly and is very healthy and needless to say yummy, or else Ben wouldn’t have ate it all by himself but she was in no mood to listen.”
“She was saying something about how my food would have been so spicy that it could cause her son to fall sick. I am worried now.”
“I felt that Ben enjoyed his lunch and he never complained about it being spicy and all but could he really fall sick? Linda called me an AH for feeding others’ kids without the parents’ permission and I kinda feel like one idk (I don’t know) am I though?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many questioned the neighbor’s true motives for being angry with the OP.
“NTA Linda sounds racist.”
“If this had been about trying to convert her son to veganism (which is already an AH move on her part if her son doesn’t want to be vegan) then she would have dropped it when she found out that the dish was vegan friendly.”
“Instead, she kept complaining because it was scary FOREIGN food.”—ghozztz
“Not just FOREIGN food but *gasp* it wasn’t white people food!”
“OP is NTA, and feel sorry for the poor kid growing up with a racist mother.”—Cmae61
“Yup. I’d be delighted if my vegan child was introduced to different plant based cuisines. Definitely racist. NTA.”—beetleschmeetle
“It sounds rather about xenophobia, but indeed”
“And obviously NTA”—ariadnefrommaze
“NTA. She told you his restrictions and his allergies, which you held up. She just sounds like a racist.”—DrummerSyke666
Some also thought a bit of jealousy might be at play.
“NTA. If he was transitioning to a vegan/vegetarian diet, she should have told you no meats when describing his restrictions (a moot point since your meal was vegan).”
“I really think that she might be more jealous that he liked food you cooked rather than eating the sandwich she made. That might be why she talked about how it was too spicy and would make her sick etc; she couldn’t/wouldn’t make this for her child and is upset someone else could.”—plump-pie
“She might also be feeling inadequate or offended because her kid chose someone else’s food over what she made. I knew tons of moms growing up who took it suuuuper personally when their kid didn’t eat the lunch they packed.”
“I’m guessing that’s where some of her anger might be coming from, deep down. But that doesn’t excuse her actions or make what she said any less rude or racist.”—ColeArmstrong
“Exactly this. My darling mother actually felt threatened when, at age 7, I started eating truly Japanese and Mexican food at my friends’ houses.”
“We had a real talk about it, and bless her soul, she even admitted that she wasn’t the best cook in town. But man oh man, my ma could bake up a storm.”
“Waking up to the smell of baked goods, and getting ‘cake scraps’ with your breakfast was the best! For the love of all that is lovely, let all of the world’s dishes combine!”—effyoucreeps
After finding something vegan that her son actually likes, the neighbor could’ve asked the OP for the recipe instead of going on the attack.
“NTA. She told you her child’s restrictions, and you adhered to that.”
“If anything, she should be asking you what it was so that she can expand his tastes even further, since most children tend to be picky.”
“You successfully watched a child for free and fed him healthy food he enjoyed in the meantime. Don’t feel bad.”—sponch_cake
“The mom might want to be able to just keep making sandwiches (minimal time and effort) instead of cooking interesting and tasty food.”—naughtyzoot
“NTA. Parents must be clear about food restrictions with sitters. If they don’t specify, then you should be able to offer any healthy option on hand to the kid.”
“It makes no sense to consult parent about every little thing. If she can’t trust your judgment on this, then why is she leaving the kid with you?”
“You did a favor and this lady insulted you by implying your food will make her kid sick!!! Ignorant and rude. Stop doing favors for this lady.”—starchy2ber
“NTA. My son loves brinjal sabzi. If a 7-year-old voluntarily ate it, it surely wasn’t too spicy.”
“It’s highly unlikely Ben will get sick, and it’s bizarre that his mother is punishing him (and you) for him wanting to try new food. If she’s trying to teach him to be vegan, shouldn’t she be grateful that you’ve introduced him to a vegan food that he likes?”
“I suggest you do not watch Ben any more, and particularly not for free.”
“As another parent, thank you for being so good to Ben and for being so willing to help your neighbor out. I hope this won’t deter you from doing a nice thing for another neighbor some time.”—Fleegle2212
After all, Indian food is delicious.
“NTA. I’m not surprised the child choose roti over a sandwich.”—msszenzy
“Who wouldn’t choose homemade Indian food over a vegetable sandwich?”—Mahliki
“I totally agree. She’s the first vegan I’ve ever heard of who doesn’t appreciate Indian cuisine.”
“If I had to be vegan most of my food would be Indian. The spices they use on vegetables is just fantastic- I’d argue it tastes better than a lot of other vegan options.”
“Definitely better than most of the ‘I can’t believe it’s not hot dogs!’ fake meats and cheeses.” —phalseprofits
Hopefully the neighbor will realize that the word of vegan food includes more than just vegetable sandwiches.
In the meantime, the OP can enjoy their “ethnic food” in peace knowing that they didn’t do anything wrong.