Most kind, level-headed people want to do all they can to accommodate people’s disability and health needs. But is there a point where such requests go too far?
That’s the dilemma a person on Reddit faced when their friend asked for their perspective on her request that others help manage her severely dangerous fish allergy.
They weren’t sure how they handled it, so they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
In their since-deleted post, the Original Poster (OP), who goes by marshmallowofdoom on the site, asked:
“AITA for telling my friend she can’t expect everyone to accomidate to her disability?”
“My friend, who I’ll call Kate, has a severe fish allergy. She has to carry around epipens because of it. I accomidate to her the best that I can. One thing that she has to avoid is being in a place where fish is being cooked.”
“The way she explained it to me was that the fish proteins get into the air and have nowhere else to go, and it creates fumes that are dangerous for her to breath in. As a result, I would never cook fish around her. I make sure not to eat it when I’m going to be around her.”
“If somehow she does come into contact with it, I do everything I can to help (ex. once she stepped on a sardine that was randomly thrown on a walking path, so I cleaned off and disinfected her shoes in my dorm room shower and put them in a plastic bag, and gave her a new pair of shoes to borrow – random things like this happen fairly often).”
“So Kate is going to be visiting her friend Bill in Hawaii. Her plan is to stay with him in his apartment for a week. She’s kind of bummed out because she can’t go to any of the restaurants in the area because they all cook fish, and instead will have to cook all of her meals at Bill’s apartment.”
However, I guess the family who lives in the apartment directly beneath Bill cooks fish every day, and the smell gets into his apartment. Kate just found out about this, and was telling me that means the fumes will be in his apartment too. She was telling me how she was planning on telling Bill to talk to them about not cooking fish for the week she was going to be staying there. She asked me if I thought they would really follow through with it.”
“When I heard this, I thought it was a ridiculous request. I also have a disability, and throughout college I’ve learned a lot about the difference between a reasonable accommodation and an unreasonable one. To me, asking a family who you don’t even know to change their diet for an entire week just so you can stay with one of their neighbors is unreasonable. I told her that this seems like an unreasonable request to me, and at that point she would probably be better off staying in a hotel.”
“She seemed annoyed at me after this, and kinda just rolled her eyes and changed the subject. At that point I was wondering if I overstepped. I talked to a couple friends about it. One of my friends said that I was completely justified, that Kate has always been pretty entitled and this is just another example of that.”
“My other friend said while they thought the request was odd, that I don’t know what it’s like living with an allergy like Kate’s. I should have just let her do what she felt necessary without saying anything, and that I owe her an apology.”
“Now I’m kind of conflicted, because I can see both sides. So I wanted to get the opinion of Reddit. AITA?”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they felt pretty definitively that OP’s friend was being unreasonable.
“NTA asking complete strangers to alter their diet in their own home is a completely unreasonable request, disability or not.” —redditor191389
“Honestly if you’re allergies are that severe then you probably shouldn’t go to Hawaii. As the entire island’s diet is fish nta” —shadyside77
“Not to mention, fish in Hawaii is going to be an economical choice and replacing with another protein probably costs more there. Is she planning to pay for their food for the week?” —LimitlessMegan
“there’s a difference between a reasonable request and an unreasonable request.”
“-I’m allergic to stuff they serve at that restaurant, could we go somewhere else? Reasonable -I’m allergic to peanuts, can people eat something else for the duration of this flight? Reasonable -I’m allergic to perfume, can you only use a little bit when you come into work?”
“Reasonable -I’m staying with you for a week when you invited me, can we please not cook anything I’m allergic to while I’m here? Reasonable -Can you completely change your diet for a week when I don’t even know you? Not reasonable in the least.” —StarWars_Girl_
“I can maybe see asking if the neighbor would be open to sending a text when they are about to start cooking fish, or letting friend know the times the usually cook or something. Then allergic lady and her friend could leave and stay out for a few hours during those times. Even that feels like a pretty big ask, and is the max that is reasonable here IMO.” —sunshinewifemom
“NTA – It’s Hawaii. Everybody in Hawaii eats fish. Honestly I find it dubious that cooking-fumes from a floor below could trigger a serious allergic reaction. I mean I suppose it’s possible, but part of me smells a little bit of hypochondria” —allsevenpizzas
“NTA. Also, if you have such a strong fish allergy, as to go into anaphylactic shock, Hawaii is the VERY LAST state you should be visiting.” —aspermyprevious
Hopefully OP can avoid discussing this sticky subject in the future.