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Single Dad Shamed For Asking Niece To Babysit Autistic Son For Free During Emergency Vet Trip

Veterinarian examines a cat.

When faced with an emergency, we’d like to think our loved ones will step up and pitch in, right?

But are people obligated to do favors for others?

This can become a tricky question, especially when family is involved.

And when money is involved, all sense can go right out the window.

Redditor Top_Isopod_7011 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for forcing my niece to babysit my autistic son for free?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m a single dad to an 11-year-old son who’s autistic.”

“The way his autism presents is mainly through his personality.”

“He’s very smart, quiet, and prefers to get lost in the land of fire alarms and elevators.”

“He’s genuinely a really good kid – I have quite a few friends who don’t like being around kids but still adore him.”

“I also have a 19-year-old niece who’s staying with me for a few days to go to a concert.”

“A couple of days ago, my cat got sick with symptoms I had never seen before.”

“Given that vets here are always booked a few weeks out, I had to take him to the emergency vet.”

“I told my niece to just stick around and watch my son while I run the cat down there.”

“She said she’s childfree so she doesn’t babysit.”

“I told her it’d just be for a few hours and that she knows my son well enough that he’d at the most just ask for something to be warmed up for him.”

“She went, ‘Pay me and it’s a deal.'”

“I told her we could hash something out later because I had to get going.”

“She said, ‘Then you go, but we will talk later.'”

“I got back from the vet with a diagnosis of my cat being allergic to my niece’s perfumes, which she wears because it helps her feel closer to her bias (favorite singer).”

“My niece was pissed because she couldn’t wear her perfume anymore, so she demanded $100.”

“I told her no because 1) I wasn’t making her throw it away, and 2) she’s staying here for free and I’m already paying for her food and transit.”

“It was also only 3 hours which she would’ve spent on her phone anyway, while she admitted he just stayed in his room the whole time.”

“She accused me of guilt tripping her, and she got my brother to buy her a hotel room because apparently I gaslit and manipulated her.”

“My brother, of course, went off on me about how I ‘ruined’ her trip and demanded I compensate him for the hotel because he had to put everything on his credit card.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“So, AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA, the most I would give her is $20.”

“If her trip is ‘ruined’ because of her self-entitlement, that’s on her.” ~ HolSmGamer

“You said, niece… I’m reading Princess.” ~ Mizzou1976

“I don’t get wearing your perfume all day, every day, even when you’re just hanging out inside… don’t you just go nose-blind after a (short) while?”

“How does that make you ‘feel closer to your idol?'”

“Also, what’s up with ‘I was alone with a quiet 10-year-old for 3 hours, and if you don’t pay me (on top of paying 50% of my ticket & hosting me), I’ll be so shaken that I can’t attend.'”

“To say nothing of the absurdity of being 19 and thinking that being childfree means you don’t help out with a kid during an emergency.”

“She couldn’t know it was her perfume that caused the emergency, but once they found out, she still reacted very entitled in my opinion.” ~ Stormtomcat

“For real. My wife and I are child-free by choice, like, permanently, we know what we want, and it does not involve children.”

“And we still wouldn’t bat an eye at caring for a child for a little bit (especially just 3 hours) in an emergency to help a friend or neighbor.”

“That’s just like… basic decency.” ~ SelfServeSporstwash

“You are absolutely NTA.”

“Frankly I think you need to go low contact with your brother and niece.”

“The fact that you helped pay for any of her concerts and cover her food and transportation should have been enough.”

“You did that out of kindness, and their response was to nickel and dime you.”

“You deserve better than the way they treat you.” ~ mocha_lattes_

“You are solidly NTA.”

“I am also neurospicy (it’s similar but unrelated to, A[utism] S[pectrum] D[isorder] and I know this stress and dread all too well, it’s why I spend so much time in places like AITAH and reading advice columns.”

“I feel you, fellow neurospicy Redditor.” ~ Kamiface

“It sounded like your niece was taking advantage of the situation.”

“Your niece wears perfume that can make a cat sick? 🤢”

“That can’t be healthy for anyone.”

“I hope she’s out of your home already because a person who can’t simply pay it forward but would rather put a $ amount on every transaction might be the type to steal.”

“Put it this way: ‘My uncle owes me $100, so I’m going to get it one way or another.'”

“People can tell me I’m projecting, but I’ve been burned by situations like this before.”

“People tell themselves what they want because they’re entitled.” ~ Sea-Collection-7367

“That’s not what child-free means.”

“And when you get free room and board, you help with house chores.”

“Including staying where you are for three hours in the same home as a kid in case the house catches fire.”

“NTA, your niece is and might be getting it from your brother, it seems.” ~ too_long_forgot


“I’m childfree myself but I’d still willingly hang out with my cousin/nieces/nephews in an emergency without trying to guilt their parent into paying me.”

“Especially if I was already staying at their place, using their utilities, eating their food.”

“Of course, I’m also a grown adult, not someone still in their teen years and barely legal, so that might have something to do with it too.” ~ WolfSilverOak

“I’m child-free but still took a wailing baby at home for a few minutes to let my neighbor and friend collect herself.”

“She knocked on my door, crying, overwhelmed, with her dog on a leash and a screaming baby in her arm.”

“She was yearning for 5 minutes of quiet and peace, and the dog was desperate to go outside.”

“Her boyfriend was away for work for the first time since they had the baby.”

“She needed help, and I was okay with witnessing an epic screaming match between my bird and a baby for a short while.”

“Amazingly for her, her daughter stopped crying as soon as she came back.”

“She was calm and collected when I checked up on her later.”

“I’m child-free, but I’m always ready to step up when a friend needs me.”

“Anyway, I know if they call me to take care of their child, it’s because I’m truly their last resort.” ~ qcpunky

“OP is NTA.”

“Niece was way out of line.”

“Brother is just ridiculous.”

“Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

“There’s a reason the rest of your family ignores him now.”

“At least you tried.” ~ Desperate-Film599

“NTA. This whole culture around being ‘child-free’ and an entitled non-sacrificial member of a family is ridiculous.”

“Could have told her you are tenant-free by choice and to go sleep on the street.” ~ therivereverflows

“NTA especially not after I read in your other comments that you paid for a lot of her trip.”

“Do not invite her back.”

“Your brother and niece have entitlement issues.” ~ Virtual-Pineapple-85

“NTA. Your niece sounds entitled and doesn’t appreciate your hospitality.”

“Brother should understand and see that she’s one too.” ~ FeelingFly142

“NTA – I don’t see how you ‘forced’ anything on her, a sick pet is an emergency outside your control.”

“Plus we’re talking about a well-behaved 11-year-old, not a baby/toddler.”

“She seems like a bit of a drama queen.” ~ RafflesiaArnoldii

“NTA. You’re helping her out with a huge favor.”

“She can do you a favor when an emergency comes up.”

“However, I wouldn’t let her stay again.”

“She’s entitled and ungrateful.”

“If she asks again, remind her that she’s ‘child-free’ and you have a child in this house.”

“Sorry for the loss of your wife and your son’s mother.” ~ Dana07620

“NTA. Honestly, if they want to get haggling over how much you owe her, perhaps you should present the $1K bill for vet services that were triggered by her perfume and then graciously offer to take $100 off for the time she spent ‘watching’ your son.”

“I would get her annoyance in being depended on for free if this were happening all the time.”

“But it was an emergency situation (caused by her, even if it was unknowing) and only took a few hours out of her day.”

“I can’t see why she couldn’t offer to watch him for free especially since you were saving her money on hotel and concert expenses.” ~ Bumblebee7305

“As a human being, I couldn’t imagine not helping out during your emergency, especially since she was already staying at your home.”

“There was nothing more that needed to be done but hang out in the house until you came home.”

“NTA.” ~ DaxxyDreams

OP came back to chat…

“Thank you everybody for the responses.”

“Some have asked what I would’ve done if my niece wasn’t here.”

“I’m recently widowed and still processing the whole thing.”

“I honestly don’t have a straight answer beyond hoping my son can come with without having a massive anxiety attack from his fear of doctors and the like.”

“Also, I gave her free housing, paid for all her food, transit, half her concert ticket, etc.”

“I also had to pay nearly a grand on the spot for my cat’s treatment.”

“They don’t take payment plans and rehome animals if their owners can’t pay in full right away.”

“We’re Puerto Rican and in our culture, we just do small things for family without lording payment over each other’s heads.”

“My brother’s the type to pull the ladder up behind him so to speak, and as a result, I’m really the only relative who stays in touch with him and his daughter.”

“I’m from New Jersey and also autistic.”

“Honestly, there are many times where I don’t know I’m TA until it gets pointed out much later.”

“There’s also stuff that happened to me as a kid that’s way above this sub’s pay grade, so I don’t have much confidence and generally second guess myself.”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

You opened your home and wallet to this child.

And that is how she says thank you?

It’s a sad situation.

You stay focused on your son and cat.

Good luck.