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Mom Called ‘Ungrateful’ For Refusing To Thank BIL After He Saved Her Drowning Daughter’s Life

Girl in life jacket
Daniel Lozano Gonzalez /

A simple thanks can go a long way.

The little ‘thank you’ wave of someone letting you over in traffic.

The ‘thanks’ when a waiter gives you the check.

The ‘thank you’ nod when someone holds the door open.

So how important are those words when a situation demands gratitude?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Fun-Two-7245 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked:

“AITA For not thanking my BIL when he saved my daughter?”


“Hi all.”

“On Friday, it was my cousin’s kid’s birthday, and we had the party at a local lake.”

“My daughter is four and can not swim.”

“I also can’t swim, and my husband (who can swim) was not present.”

“I explained water safety to my kid, she had a life jacket on, all that jazz.”

“I also have a toddler, however, and had to nurse him for a nap.”

“I left my cousin in charge of my daughter while I left to feed my son. My daughter hadn’t been into the water at all, and I thought she was fine.”

“She was not.”

Things change fast.

“I still don’t really know what happened -“

“One second everything was fine, and the next everyone was screaming.”

“I got down to the lake’s edge just as my brother-in-law was pulling my daughter from the lake. Her life jacket had been removed.”

“She coughed up some water, and he did some water vomit trick which led to her clearing out.”


“After he was sure she was fine, he walked her over to me and said, verbatim, “Sh*tty parents lead to dead kids. Get your head out of your @ss and teach her how to swim.'”

“I didn’t really have much of a response, just packed up my kids and drove her to the ER. She’s completely fine, just a little shaken up and very afraid of water.”

“Anyway, my sister text me and told me I ought to thank him for saving her life.”

“I didn’t respond initially because we were still in the ER, which led to her calling me an ungrateful b*tch.”

“Again, I ignored because my daughter needed me, but last night everything came to a head.”

“My BIL dm-ed me asking if I would have rather she drowned.”

“Following that, I have received message after message.”

“I tried to explain that I’ve been busy, but my sister said not to contact them unless it’s to thank him and apologize.”

“I will probably thank him just to keep the peace, but I think they’re out of line. There was no need for his comment & their following behavior.”

“My husband thinks I should go no contact, but he’s never liked them, so I’m hesitant to listen. My dad agrees with Hub, however.”

OP was left to wonder,

So, AITA for not thanking him (yet)?

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

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: ESH

Important questions:


“What happened to the life jacket she was wearing?” ~ Consistent-Leopard71

“It’s absolutely ridiculous she doesn’t know how the life jacket got off. If you’re in charge of watching a four-year-old around water, you do not take your eyes off them.” ~ Local_Researcher_159

“Wait a minute….”

“Your four-year-old daughter has a verbal delay and is selectively MUTE .”

“So you leave her at the water where she can’t verbally call for help, wearing a bulky life jacket she probably didn’t like and removed herself, under the care of a cousin.”

“Did the cousin know she is unable to swim?”

“How old is this cousin?”

“Was the life jacket on correctly, or could it just be lifted over the head?”

“Then your BIL saves your child, and you can’t say a simple thank you?”

“Were you secretly hoping she would fall in and drown?”

“You take her to the ER. I’ve been an ER nurse much of my career.”

“I KNOW you had downtime at some point where you could text a thank you. Not liking someone is no excuse for rudeness, especially when that person saves your child.”

“Get your child swim lessons.”

“Don’t have a child around a pool/lake/ocean unless you yourself are able to swim and assist them.”

“Get a life vest that fits and is unable to be easily removed.”

“Most lake water is dark. There can be underwater currents and obstacles like rope or fishing lines.”

“A child can fall in and simply vanish.”

“Sh*tty parents definitely lead to dead kids.”

“I can tell you numerous stories of dead kids in the ER with sh*tty parents. You were almost one of them. YTA.” ~ Quirky_Living8292

“Why was “OH MY GOD, THANKS YOU SO MUCH not the first thing out of your mouth?”

“I get that you were butthurt that he called out your parenting, but he wasn’t wrong.”

“Apologize and thank him or 100% YTA.”

“If you’re so wounded, you need to go NC, that’s fine, but you need to straighten this out before you do so.” ~ friday99


“I can see why an immediate thank you wasn’t the first thing on your mind, but he did save your kid’s life so I can’t see why you wouldn’t.”

“Was his statement harsh?”

“Yes. But it was also true, and he was probably in just as much shock (if not more) than you were, considering he was the one that found a child in the process of drowning.” 

“YTA” ~ CrystalQueen3000

“Yeah, this is where I’m at.”

“I can’t make an accurate assumption about what happened at the lake and how sh*tty this parent is, but even if BILs words were harsh, HE SAVED YOUR CHILDS LIFE!!!!”

“I would be choking out thank yous between sobs that someone saved my baby from drowning.”

“There’s clearly some more family drama and dynamics going on that we don’t know about, but the question is whether she should have thanked him, and yes, she should have.” ~ Cephalopunkk

“My older sister died in an accident very similar to what you describe.”

“You and your husband should be on your freaking knees thanking your BIL, to my thinking. Life after losing a child is horrific.”

“You don’t want to be a member of that club.”

“I cannot even wrap my head around why it’s even a question.”

“And yes, your daughter should be signed up for swimming lessons ASAP.”

“You, your husband, and your father are the AHs.” ~ 2dogslife

Our Community.

“Saving a child is a scary, scary situation.”

“I helped my daughter (teenager from choking on a Belgian waffle).”

“Scariest sh*t I’ve ever experienced. Afterward my body was shaking from the adrenaline, and I felt like I had an IV drip of caffeine. I was so hyped.”

“Suffice it to say, I no longer make waffles at my house 😅” ~ Jdtatans

“My wife saved someone with the Heimlich at a restaurant.”

“The person and her companion were too in shock to thank her before the ambulance came, which was understandable.”

“If she knew those people and they didn’t reach out, we would have been annoyed.”

“It’s nuts this woman after the initial shock, couldn’t text a thank you, even a simple ‘hey, I’m too flustered to think right now, but we will come up with a proper way to thank you later.'”

“But she’s too butt hurt by mean words. If someone saves your kid from your mistake, they get to be a little pissy.”

“I’m sure saving a life is stressful as hell on you, and she doesn’t care about his fear of almost watching a person he cares about die if he screwed up.” ~ Robot_Tanlines

And not everyone left the BIL off the hook.


“OP, you need to edit your post that a toddler (secured under the crotch) life jacket magically came off your daughter.”

“What if someone there took it off to teach her how to swim ‘properly’ (yes, those people who just toss their kids into the deep end and say ‘they’ll swim when their fight or flight kicks in’).”

“Someone committed foul play, and no one wants to admit it.”

“Those life jackets are hard af to get off.”

“EDIT: op, you said your BIL was regularly racist to/about your husband.”

“F*cking go no contact, what the sh*t. He’s probably so hostile about your daughter bc he carries those views to her other half-parentage.” ~ bunnymelly

“Yep, ESH is a better choice than YTA IMO.”

“I can’t believe how extreme a lot of these responses are.”

“Someone who saves a child then immediately and repeatedly demands to be thanked and basically implying that they shouldn’t have saved the child to teach the mom a lesson is sh*tty.”

“The mom f**ked up, no doubt, but also treating her like she’s the absolute worst parent in the world is insane.”

“Expecting that a parent can anticipate absolutely everything that can go wrong and shouldn’t even be allowed to blink is ridiculous.” ~ mikestrife

OP did return with an update.

“ETA; I sent him a long message detailing my apology and explanation a few hours ago. I haven’t received a reply, but it has been read.” 

Gratitude isn’t about the words, though.

Forcing the verbiage can actually make it worse, as it can come off as insincere.

Genuine gratitude can repair relationships or even show how meaningful something is to you.

So yes, gratitude is a big deal.

We’re very glad this situation had a happy ending, as it could have been much worse.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.