Food is one of those things that brings everyone together.
Many corporations have embraced this nearly universal precept with pizza days or other food-related festivities.
What happens, though, when the food meant to bring us together drives us apart instead?
This was the issue plaguing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) sndnmk when she came to the “Am I the A**hole”(AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for bringing something to the bbq my coworker’s daughter is allergic to?”
First, the setting.
“My company has a yearly bbq and after skipping last year I got like 7 requests for my mango tart.”
“Every time I bring it, it gets eaten immediately and everyone always mentions how much they like it so I didn’t want to disappoint.”
Then, the problem.
“My coworker sent group email saying her daughter was allergic to mangos and some other things (not allergic to being around mangos just eating it).”
“She never told anyone not to bring any but to warn everyone of cross-contamination.”
Communication is important.
“I emailed back to ask if she was allergic to strawberries and she said no so I made mango tart and strawberry tart for her.”
Proper precautions were in place.
“I put the mango tart in a separate cooler and put it in the back so her child couldn’t grab it.”
“The coworker and her daughter came and saw the strawberry tart and she gave one to her daughter but her daughter saw the huge number of people at the mango tart cooler and wanted one of those.”
“She said no you are allergic so it’s bad for you and her daughter started crying and throwing a tantrum.”
“She took her back to their car and rejoined us later once her daughter had calmed down”
“I got an email this morning of her proclaiming how insensitive I was for bringing mango tart when I knew her daughter couldn’t have some and making her feel like she wasn’t included.”
“I’m shocked because I made strawberry tart just for her daughter and made precautions to make sure she wouldn’t be exposed but AITA for bringing mango tart?”
Confused by their coworker’s change in attitude, OP came to Reddit for guidance.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were short and to the point.
“…. You literally made them an entire tart just for them. The child not being able to handle seeing other people eat some food is not your fault and 100% a parenting issue.”
Others used personal examples.
“I’ve had a dairy allergy my whole life, and when I was a kid in the 80s there was no such thing as coconut milk ice cream & pizza with vegan cheese.”
“I missed out on countless ice cream & pizza-related treats as a kid & I know sometimes I was upset about it (the Pizza Hut Book-It program was a real bummer, let me tell you) but somehow I never threw an actual temper tantrum.”
“My parents wouldn’t have let that sh*t slide. They certainly wouldn’t have used my tantrum as an excuse to ream out other adults.”~Engelbettie
“My best friend works for a guy whose daughter is literally allergic to food.”
“There was a local marathon here for her, she gets everything via feeding tube and it comes in a pack she always wears.”
“IIRC, when she was born they thought she was allergic to breast milk, but then she started reacting to everything.”
“As she’s gotten older I do think she’s been able to eat like….gluten free bread and carrots.”
“Point is, we went out to eat (I was a plus one for appreciation dinner) and that little girl (about 7 now) was so happy munching on her own cup of crushed ice.”
“No one else had a cup of ice and she was special.”
“She handled it fine and it obviously comes down to how you treat your kids.”
“I’m sure she has moments but there’s a way to handle those moments and a way not to. And you can’t ask everyone in the world to accommodate all of the time.”~propernice
There were stories of empowerment.
“My son is allergic to cinnamon and dyslexic.”
“As soon as we discovered it, he made it his mission to learn to read the word cinnamon and look through the ingredient list.”
“He’s ecstatic that nutmeg tastes nearly identical.”
“12 now and he loves cooking. I let him experiment and cook to learn all the time.”~CeelaChathArrna
There was also a concern for the child.
“Honestly, the tantrum is very concerning because what if she’s at school and no adult is around to tell her to not eat something with mango in it…?”
“Is she just gonna go ahead and eat it because everyone else is eating it and she doesn’t want to miss out?”~ertrinken
There was also the matter of professionalism to consider.
“I hope this issue doesn’t spill into Op’s day-to-day operations with coworker. If she raises the issue again then probably best to consider reporting the situation to HR.”~hello_friendss
Disappointment is a difficult, but important, lesson.
“Part of learning about your own allergies is learning that there are some things you can’t have. This was potentially a teachable moment for the child. Instead, she was taught that throwing a tantrum will get her parents to bend over backwards for her.”
“So very much NTA.”~Emotional-Ebb8321
“NTA. The coworker is actually a really awful parent for making demands, and not preparing her daughter for the real world where no one is catered to, even with life threatening food allergies.”
“You went above and beyond to make sure that her daughter had her own special dessert.” ~ Safe-Invite3509
“Clearly NTA. You made sure to include her by making a kind she could eat and kept everything separate to make sure there’d be no cross contamination.”
“Kids are going to get disappointed by things because life isn’t all roses and that’s ok.”
“The mother should have used it as a teaching opportunity for her kid about this concept of life and to be thankful that she was thought of because often people wont do that.”
“Instead she taught her kid to blame everyone else and not accept that sometimes things just dont work out.” ~ RandiCandy
“NTA and your coworker is a rubbish parent.”
“I have a friend with a 3-year-old who is allergic to eggs, who knows she’s allergic, and will ask before eating anything she doesn’t know.”
“She’s 3, and doesn’t want to have to go to the hospital, or use her Epi-pen.”
“You did all the right things, your coworker is terrible, and appears to be setting her offspring up for a very bad time.” ~ Simply_Toast
“NTA. There are things people are allergic to but that doesnt mean nobody else should be able to enjoy it.”
“I’m allergic to kiwi and I wouldn’t tell a whole gathering that nobody is able to have kiwi there, I would just make sure I knew what I was eating.”
“Also, it was a company bbq, not something like a birthday party for her.” ~ introverted_smallfry
“NTA. This is coming from someone who has an anaphylactic food allergy and have had since I was a year old.”
“It sounds like you did your due diligence and made sure that it was ok for the child to be around it before bringing (i.e. they need to consume for a reaction to occur).”
“You made an ALTERNATIVE! do you know how many people don’t make alternatives to their dish – you created something specifically so 1 single person could still enjoy what you brought, that is special.”
“The kid needs to learn—by the time I can remember I was always aware I had an allergy and just had to accept there were foods I couldn’t eat. As mine is peanuts that means unless I know who made it etc…”
“I avoid most baked goods/desserts because of potential cross contamination. It sucks sure, but even as a kid I was aware there were things I just couldn’t have and my parents always made sure they brought something I could have just in case.” ~ DeesDoubleDs
“NTA. ‘I got an email this morning of her proclaiming how insensitive I was for bringing mango tart when I knew her daughter couldn’t have some and making her feel like she wasn’t included. I’m shocked because I made strawberry tart just for her daughter and made precautions to make sure she wouldn’t be exposed but AITA for bringing mango tart?'”
“This is one of the life lessons that people with intolerances/allergies learn—sometimes you won’t be included when it comes to food.”
“Sometimes there is nothing for you to eat because people weren’t informed of your particular allergy, are not knowledgeable about the dangers of cross contamination or just don’t care or believe that you have the condition.”
“Sometimes you have to travel with your own food. And as an adult with multiple intolerances, I have learned to bring a snack or two when I go to parties for this reason.”
“In this case you took the time to make her something she could eat. Yes she probably saw everyone eating the other one and wanted a piece, but that would have been dangerous for her.”
“Her mother needed to explain to her ‘Susie, I know that the mango tart looks so good and you want to eat some. But remember that you are allergic to mangos—they make you itch and get red spots. Sometimes you have to go to the hospital. Ms. OP baked a nice strawberry tart just for you because she knew that you couldn’t have the mango one. Wasn’t that nice of her?’ or some age appropriate version.”
“Your coworker and her daughter have to learn that people aren’t going to cater to her allergies all the time and she may occasionally feel left out.” ~ OldBrooklynite
“NTA you made her own tart for her.”
“Only thing I might have done (if I remembered) would have been to give coworker a heads up that you were making mango tart as you’ve been asked to and you were making a strawberry one for her daughter.”
“Coworker needs to explain to daughter that other people will eat the things she’s allergic to.”
“We, as in my daughter and I, realised she’s allergic to apples as her throat gets really itchy. Gonna give her a year or two and try her on a few sips of apple juice.” ~ sheloveschocolate
“I can even understand a little kid having a tantrum it happens that’s ok.”
“It’s the emailing afterwards and accusing you of purposely leaving her kid out for me. wonder where the kid gets her outbursts from…” ~Nearby_Employee_2943
“Listen my son is anaphylactic allergic to milk. Your coworker is doing her daughter zero favors by allowing her to think the world should cater to her.”
“You did everything right and even went above and beyond to make an additional strawberry tart for her daughter.”
“My son is 5. He knows there are things he can’t have.
“We’ve encountered our fair share of times when we had to deal with disappointment like not knowing beforehand all kids would be given cookies he couldn’t have.”
“In those instances, as his parent, it’s my job to provide alternative safe and comparable snacks for an environment he’s around often and when the unexpected happens he has learned to deal with disappointment.”
“I usually offer to take him after somewhere to a place to get a safe treat if I can’t mitigate the circumstance in the moment. Her daughter had safe alternatives, and I’m sorry her daughter was upset.”
“But that’s life and her acting like nobody should ever have mango anything around her is like I said doing her daughter zero favors. NTA.” ~ Puzzled_Juice_3406
Food is one of those things that bring us all together.
Of course, not all food is safe for all people to eat.
While it’s important that we respect all those allergies and aversions, it’s also important to remember that accommodations aren’t always convenient.
Remember to be thankful.