All of us have experiences that we’ve looked forward to, like going to an event, visiting a national monument, or seeing an exotic animal.
When we finally get the chance to do one of these things, we’ll likely be sensitive to someone else messing up that experience, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
While getting to witness their sister see koalas for the first time, Redditor Own-Day-6475 became frustrated with a pair of parents who were not stopping their baby from crying.
When this encouraged the koalas to hide but could have also impacted their health, the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to speak up.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling a guy to move his crying baby out of a quiet enclosure at the zoo?”
The OP was excited to see the koalas at the zoo.
“I (19 Male) visited the zoo today with my family, and we were checking out the koalas, which I was especially excited to see.”
“You may not know this, but koalas apparently need over eighteen hours of sleep a day to function, or else they can get quite unhealthy quite quickly, and so any exhibit of them at a zoo will often come with an expectation that you maintain a certain level of silence while observing them.”
“This zoo today was no exception. You are made to go through two gates, both of which have signage saying, ‘Please be quiet, keep the noise down, silence please, etc’ and then the door to the koala house itself has another sign: ‘Please keep noise levels to a minimum.'”
A fellow family didn’t acknowledge the signs as thoroughly as the OP.
“With all those reminders, I figured people would get the memo, but as soon as we entered the enclosure (which was a small room indoors with a glass window looking into the koala pen), I spotted a couple in their early thirties with two young kids and a baby.”
“I somewhat apprehensively tried to observe the koalas (they were so cute, and my little sister was happy to see them), but then, like clockwork, the baby started crying. Hardly the baby’s fault, it’s a baby, they cry, so I gave the dad of the family the benefit of the doubt, thinking he’d either take the baby out or calm her down.”
“A few moments pass; the baby got more annoyed and cries louder. The koalas scurried away, hiding in their cubby holes, and others woke up from their sleeping.”
“I gave the dad the look. I feel like everyone knows the look; we’ve either had someone give it to us or give it to someone else. I’m not sure I’d ever been on this end of it, but I’d definitely received some looks at times.”
“But the baby continued to cry. I (being a socially awkward autistic teenager) grappled with the idea that the dad might have missed my giving him the look, so I did the classic: I shook my head and give a little sigh.”
The father of the baby was indignant.
“No change. I threw another look his way, this time a little more firm.”
“But I felt like I overdid it; my eyes are a little too intense, perhaps, because suddenly the dad was saying, in the voice of someone who’s just gotten a lecture, ‘Well alright mate, it’s just a baby.'”
“To this, I replied with a gesture towards the sign, ‘Silence, please.'”
“‘But it’s a baby!’ he said.”
“‘Well, don’t bring a baby in here,’ I replied in a whisper.”
“My parents jumped on me, thinking I’m out of line, and the couple and their kids gave me the filthiest of looks and left the enclosure, leaving me feeling very tense.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“What do we think? I feel like this is a very common struggle in a public place where there aren’t always members of staff to enforce the rules. We want to pick our battles, of course, but this family bringing their baby in spoiled my little sister’s magical moment of seeing a koala for the first time.”
“Surely they should’ve seen the signs and thought ‘Probably best to not bring little Charlie in’ or, if they really wanted to see the koalas, the dad could’ve stayed outside with the baby, and the mum and the kids could’ve gone in.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP handled the situation well, given the circumstances.
“NTA. They obviously were able to read the signs, they just think it didn’t apply. I think you did a GREAT job, it was mostly non-verbal, and the dude FINALLY got the hint but still tried to make excuses.”
“‘It’s a baby.’ Well, yes, but the baby doesn’t KNOW when and where it is proper to be noisy… because it’s a baby, therefore BE a parent and also be mindful of other creatures, humans or not.”
“So you did have to let him know that the signs are there for a reason, and you even whisper yelled, which showed that even you were trying to keep quiet out of respect. Librarians don’t put up with that in their domain, koalas shouldn’t have to either, but they can’t speak, so they need an advocate, you are a great koala advocate!”
“Great job OP, and you can tell your parents I said so, I’m a mom of two, a grandmother of three, and my kids would NEVER have kept a crying baby in a quiet place because I taught them manners, and I also took my crying babies out of church, a wedding, and a theater.”
“Not an infant, but a five-year-old who insisted he was old enough to go to the movies even though he was really sensitive to sound. I told him he wouldn’t like it, and he was feeling really left out because his friends went to the movies, so… yeah, too loud, not a scary movie, but the noise was too much, and he got scared so he cried and we left.”
“Because I knew that I was responsible for my little’s noise in public.” – Sagegreen98
“‘It’s a baby!’ … ‘Yeah, and you’re a parent, act like one.'”
“Especially since, in this case, it wasn’t just annoying to the other people present, it was an issue of safety for the live, endangered animals that are just trying to get some sleep as they live their lives in dreary captivity to amuse your children.” – Wynfleue
“One of my least favorite responses, when I comment about unruly kids, is ‘It’s just kids being kids.’ That’s fine as long as an adult steps in to ‘educate’ them as to what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not.”
“I feel, in this case, it was entirely acceptable for OP to step in and remind the adult in question of his responsibilities. Good Job!” – Inner-Masterpiece-18
“We have experienced this twice.”
“1.) Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma. The tiger is sitting right by the large glass window, almost like, ‘Take your pictures. Am I not gorgeous?’ It was magical.”
“Then some a**hole family with a toddler come over, and the toddler starts pounding on the glass, screaming, so the tiger starts to walk away. The parents did nothing.”
“I did say something. I said, ‘It is a shame you ruined that for everyone.'”
“2.) Cincinnati Zoo. Gorilla. My daughter had a once-in-a-lifetime moment with the giant gorilla. He sat with her and tried to offer his leaf for some reason. She nearly cried.”
“Then some a-hole kid came up and started screaming at the gorilla and making monkey noises. The gorilla got upset and left.”
“My daughter looked at the kid right in the face and just said, ‘Why?’ Then she said let’s go, and something about people being raised in a barn. The mom got very angry.”
“People suck, and they should be called out more.” – Derpne13
Others pointed out the parents needed to do a better job of catering to their surroundings.
“This problem is pretty easily solved… if you have a baby and you’re someplace that requires low volume, and the baby starts shrieking… you take the baby outside.”
“I did this a million times with my own kids. It ain’t hard.” – Remarkable_Inchworm
“My husband and I often end up not doing things together. Someone always has to go potty. Someone’s crying. Someone is hungry. Someone is tired. For the sake of the greater good, split up and conquer.”
“Just because the toddler wants to see koalas doesn’t mean the baby cares. So keep the baby out. Because of their actions, the koalas hid. Now no one gets to see the koalas. Including their other child.” – Catmocatmo
“Simple action. Baby cries, so walk outside. This doesn’t hurt the baby, but it will help everyone else there, especially the koalas.”
“NTA.” – vomitthewords
“If your baby or child starts crying/screaming in public and won’t stop, take them elsewhere. Have some consideration for people around you instead of saying, ‘Tough s**t.'”
“Many people, including myself, have misophonia triggered by children. Some of us become enraged. Some of us panic. Many of us end up fleeing places because of it. There’s no cure, and it’s not well understood.”
“Expecting us to just deal with it because parents can’t bother to act like parents or be respectful is extremely isolating.” – BadgeringMagpie
“‘But it’s a baby!’ Some people think that if they have a baby with them, other people should accept all kinds of sh*t and that the same rules don’t apply to them because ‘it’s just a baby.'”
“NTA, OP!” – Successful_Winter_97
The subReddit was proud of the OP for handling the situation without escalating it, especially as a teenager. Though the people in the post were observing animals, this is a key reminder that animals deserve respect, too, and should have their needs met.
One can only hope the OP goes on to continue to advocate for animals, perhaps even professionally.