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Woman Refuses To Cancel $18k Anniversary Trip To Babysit Estranged Sister’s Kids Due To Emergency

Woman with suitcase and passport in an airport.
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It’s always inconvenient when you find yourself possibly having to change plans.

Primarily because no matter the circumstance, the first thing you often ask yourself is whether or not it’s worth it to do so.

In some cases, the answer is obvious, and you cancel or rearrange your plans without a second thought.

Sometimes, however, you find yourself less than inclined to change plans, heavily weighing the options, and possibly following through with them in the end.

Redditor sl89001 received an unexpected, urgent request for help from her sister.

This request for help unfortunately came at a time when the original poster (OP) had some long standing plans.

Ultimately, the OP decided to stick with her plans, and her sister made no effort to hide her fury and anger at this decision.

Wondering if she had made a terrible mistake, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to take in my sister’s kids after her partner had a stroke so that I can go on my planned vacation?”

The OP explained why she ultimately decided that she should follow through with her vacation:

“My sister (30 F[emale]) called me (26 F) yesterday morning to tell me that her partner (45 M[ale]) had been rushed to the hospital.”

“She was in hysterics and I stayed on the phone with her until she was able to make it to the hospital.”

“She works and her partner stays home with the kids.”

‘I do believe he’s on some sort of disability/unemployment benefit though.”

“Together they have three kids who are 7, 5, and 2.”

“Here’s some background on me and my sister…we had actually not spoken for almost an entire year before her most recent call to me.”

‘We have a really strained relationship starting from our childhood, which was exacerbated by our parents.”

“I’ll be honest in saying that my parents always favored me and labeled my sister as a ‘problem child’.”

“Since her teens, she’s been involved with heavy drug use and partying.”

“She graduated high school, but dropped out of community college.”

“Our strict, traditional Asian parents shunned her from their lives after she dropped out of college.”

“They effectively disowned her and pretend that they never had an older daughter.”

“My parents haven’t spoken a word to her in almost a decade and they have never met their grandchildren.”

“For the last decade, I’ve tried to maintain a positive relationship with my sister, but she’s betrayed my trust too many times to count.”

“Borrowing money and never returning it, stealing my items and pawning/selling them, bringing me into unnecessary drama in her life, etc.”

“To be honest, I’ve been trying to distance myself from her for the last 3-4 years since she’s caused me nothing but pain, stress, and suffering.”

“Then last night, she called me again to let me know that her partner had suffered a severe stroke and had emergency surgery.”

“The doctors say they are still very unsure of his prognosis.”

“She then begged me to take in her children for the time being, saying how she can’t afford any childcare and that she’ll lose both her jobs if she’s forced to stay with the children.”

“Now here’s the thing, me and my boyfriend’s five-year anniversary is coming up.”

“We’ve already bought tickets, requested PTO, and made accommodations for a two-week trip to Europe starting from this Friday.”

“The total trip, including airfare, costed us $18,000, most of which is non-refundable.”

“I told my sister I’d call her back and let her know after I spoke with my boyfriend.”

“He said it was my choice completely.”

“I decided that I wanted to go on our anniversary trip, which I had been looking forward to for a full year.”

“I called my sister back and told her that I couldn’t because of our trip.”

“She started sobbing over the phone and lashed out at me, calling me cruel and selfish.”

“She said that we could afford to just rebook our vacation and we didn’t need that money back, but she was going to lose her job and her children if she couldn’t find someone to take them in.”

“It was a really tough conversation, but I stuck with my decision.”

“It’s been almost a day since our call and I won’t lie, I do feel a lot of guilt.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to cancel her vacation to help her sister.

Everyone agreed that the OP was right in believing her sister had lost the privilege of her help, after being given too many chances to change, and never following through.

“This is basically asking if you should waste $18,000 and two weeks of PTO to help someone who’s stolen from you in the past.”

‘The answer is no.”


“While the emergency isn’t your sister’s fault, burning her bridge with you certainly was.”

“She likely has other people who she could ask for help.”

“And even if you wanted to assist, it would be more effective to pay for a babysitter than to waste the trip.”

“It’s not like being a blood relation changes anything since from what you’re saying you’d be basically a stranger to the kids anyway.”

“No different from just hiring an actual stranger.”- burnpsy


“Normally in this situation, you would be the bad guy.”

“However, with her not talking to you for a year, plus all the past history of drugs, stealing, and drama, I understand the decision you made.”

“She’s trying to drop all the consequences of her poor life decisions in your lap, and it’s just not fair.”

“I understand the guilt, but she wore you out and used up whatever sisterly feeling you had for her with all her bullsh*t.”

“Totally overused phrase, but particularly apt here: you can’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”- InterabangSmoose

“If you let those kids in your house, they may never leave.”

“Maybe your sister loses her job and can’t afford rent and asks to move in, too.”

“Maybe her partner doesn’t fully recover and is on long term bedrest, maybe he needs to move in as well.”

“NTA.”- wren_boy1313


“If her husband is bad off as your sister claims, why isn’t your sister talking to the hospital social worker for help?”

“Her husband was on some sort of disability before he had the stroke, wouldn’t they be eligible for some kind of assistance to help your sister out?”- nickis84


“But your parents sure are.”

“They should be helping their daughter and grandchildren.”

“She may have dropped out of college but cutting ties over choosing a different path in life is disgusting of them.”

“They are failures of parents and grandparents and are dishonoring their family before them.”-10key_G

“Given your sister’s history, do you know if her partner did, in fact, have a stroke?”

“NTA, but how do you feel about her children?”

“Will it worry you if there are repercussions for them (foster homes, homelessness, missing school, hunger)?”

“I repeat, NTA.”

“You have no obligation to your sister or her kids.”

“That said, is there anything you can do or want to do to help?”- SisterLostSoul

“I’m waffling on NAH, because sister has obviously hurt you to put you in this position.”

“Ultimately, NTA.”

“She can’t burn her remaining bridges and expect people to leap over the waters for her.”

“It’s, unfortunately, a product of her own (and your parent’s) doing.”

“Due to husband’s medical status, could you perhaps assist her with finding social services to help her as a compromise?”

“I don’t know if there are things like childcare assistance where you are.”

“Maybe finding her information while she focuses on her husband would help.”

“A sad situation all around.”- jastiss

There were a few, however, who did sympathize with the OP’s sister, and wondered if there was a way for the OP to help her out, even if they still didn’t think she did anything wrong by cancelling her vacation.

“Is there anything you can help with aside from taking her kids?”

“Like others say maybe you could give some assistance for emergency childcare or direct her to crisis support so she can get the care she needs for herself and her kids?”

“NAH.”- Active_Tea9115

There’s no denying that the OP’s sister is in a situation no one wants, or even deserves, to find themselves in.

And had the OP not helped her sister so many times before, one imagines the reaction from the Reddit community may have been a little different.

One can only hope that the OP’s sister uses this as a wake up call to be there for her family as best she can, and remain on the straight and narrow.

And that hopefully, the OP will be there for her and her family when she returns from vacation.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.