We all have our own opinions about how we should speak to our family members and to elders.
Some of us think it depends on the situation, while others think that an elder should be respected no matter what, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Similar_Operation_42 was in the latter group, as they made obvious after overhearing a conversation that happened in their store.
But when they were criticized for not knowing the whole story, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were wrong to get involved.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for scolding a random young man for yelling at his mother on the phone?”
The OP didn’t appreciate a customer’s behavior in the store.
“I own a shoe store in a neighborhood. A young man came in to shop with a young woman who I assume was his girlfriend.”
“Throughout his stay at the store, his mother had called him several times, and each one of those times, he was p**sed off.”
“At some point, he started yelling at her, telling her to shut up and to stop calling him.”
The OP spoke up about it.
“I finally decided to speak up about it when I heard him say, ‘Will you ever shut the f**k up? Cut that s**t off. I’m being serious, shut your f**kin’ mouth, you are p**sing me the f**k off,’ followed by him hanging up on her.”
“I told him this is no way to speak to your mother.”
“He gave me a look but didn’t reply.”
The girlfriend then approached the OP.
“He left the store and the girl who was with him came to me and told me that his mother is very toxic and controlling and they’re not getting along well, so I better stay out of it.”
“I told the girl that this is still no way to speak to a mother, and a respectful son would never speak like that.”
“She said I’m being nosy and an AH for trying to scold a stranger on how they’ll handle their family issues with their toxic mother, and she left as well.”
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 said the OP was the AH for getting involved in a private situation.
“YTA. Yeah, you don’t know what kind of mother she is. He might be a disrespectful son, but she might be an abusive mother. There is no way to know which it is, but the fact his girlfriend told you what she is like is telling.”
“People aren’t obligated to be nice to their abusers. Stay out of other people’s business.” – pixiegrill
“My own mother is extremely abusive and toxic, and I have been told before that I need to respect her, reconnect with her, ‘how can you act that way toward your mother,’ etc.”
“Definitely hurtful to the victim of abuse and perpetuates the idea that a person should just put up with it because it’s a parent.” – araknay
“This happened to me for years. My mom would call my place of employment, etc etc etc, and I’d have to hear over and over and over about how I was wrong because blood is thicker than water, that’s your mother, faaaaamily first, etc etc etc. It’s So Damaging.” – Affectionate_Froyo70
“Ah, the ‘but she’s still your mother’ argument. Yeah, and I’m her child, but that didn’t stop her from abusing me. Why is it fine for her to be abusive but not fine for me to not want to be abused?” – redwolf1219
“YTA, if I would’ve been in the store, I would’ve actually given you a piece of my mind.”
“How detached from reality do you have to be to think parents deserve unconditional respect? A**hats like you are the reason I was only able to escape the abuse at 18 and didn’t actually realize it was abuse up to well into my 20s!!!”
“This toxic bulls**t is the reason a lot of domestic abuse victims don’t actually get help, because ‘it didn’t get physical.’ I cannot tell you how many times in my youth I wished my mum would’ve actually hit me (really hard), because although I wasn’t able to describe it, then it would’ve made it sooooo much easier to escape the abuse!!!”
“Apart from that, who do you think you are getting into someone’s business you don’t know?” – Icy_Appeal4472
“I am sort of hesitant after some thought to judge the son too harshly because the ‘young man’ could still be quite young, and a minor.”
“If he is feeling forced to take her calls and she has been constantly hurtful and toxic to him lately, it’s likely he has no escape… because he’s a minor. A kid. A kid probably in way over his head with no power, no out, no respite.”
“It’s entirely possible he’s actually an adult as well. But if he’s a kid, he’s not an a**hole—he just really needs help and understanding and support.” – TurbulentDrawing6
Others said the OP should have focused on their work environment.
“The fact that she called him repeatedly, and he told her each time to stop calling him is a pretty good sign that she’s not respecting his boundaries.”
“Now, I could understand if the shop person were to politely ask him to go outside or tell him not to yell in the shop, because that behavior was potentially disruptive and something I could understand being annoyed with.”
“However, to think you have the right to lecture someone about, ‘I don’t care what she’s done, she’s still your mother so don’t talk to her like that,’ is super condescending, unhealthy, and just downright rude.”
“Not only is this person preaching an unhealthy idea, but the fact that they think they have the right to just lecture random people on their morals is kind of crazy to me. YTA OP.” – Revolutionary_Type13
“If OP had told him not to yell in the shop, that would’ve been totally fine, as you said, and wouldn’t make them an a**hole. But, that’s not why they were scolding him, it was because he was yelling at his mom.”
“Which is totally f**king uncalled for because he doesn’t even know what’s going on between him and his mom…” – pixiegrill
“I think it’s ESH, because it’s also inconsiderate for the son to subject every other person in the shop to that conversation. He could have silenced the phone, ignored her calls, or stepped somewhere more private.” – brujahahahahahahaha
“Yah, I don’t blame OP for not wanting somebody shouting curse words in his store. He could have framed it more that way instead of defending the mother and then I don’t think he would have been the A H at all.” – IHateCamping
“I think if what OP had said was: if you are going to curse on the phone, can you please step outside of the store – because valid.”
“But commenting on the respect mom should get – YTA.” – LimitlessMegan
“I do think she could say something like, ‘I would appreciate if you didn’t use that language in my store’ or ‘Maybe if she calls again, you can take the call outside.'”
“Not judging him. But it’s fair to say that, ‘Shut your f**king mouth,’ isn’t appropriate to say in a business.” – melodypowers
“OP should have just asked him to take the calls outside. If I was a store owner, I wouldn’t be happy with that kind of language and atmosphere in my business.”
“But the rest of the situation was none of OP’s concern.” – koinu-chan_love
“If you had told him to chill with the cursing in your store; Okay. I’d be behind that.”
“But I’m gonna draw the line at the mother bit.”
“You have no idea; none; what that grown man is going through with his mom.”
“That’s out of line.” – ThrowawayforMILBS
“YTA. You are being nosy and have no idea what is being said on the other side.”
“If your issue was that a customer was yelling and swearing on the phone in your store, you’d have been fine.”
“However, you made it clear that your problem was with who he was saying it to, which is none of your business.” – scrapfactor
“ESH. He sucks for loudly cursing in a public space, you suck for getting involved where you had no business.”
“You could easily have said, ‘Hey you need to take that outside,’ because as the business owner, you can tell him to stop yelling in your store, but it was none of your business who he was yelling at or why.” – Pretty_Yellow_9601
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Thanks for the votes and judgment. I see and I hear every single one of you and I’ll try to understand why my input was probably uncalled for while I can still disagree with you and that young man.”
“I’ll try to not get involved in the future.”
While the subReddit could understand the OP not wanting this conversation to occur inside of their store, they did not agree with the way in which the OP involved themselves.
Addressing the phone call as inappropriate for the work environment would have been one thing, but judging the contents of the phone call would have been another.