The internet is chock full of interesting things. Case in point, Reddit.
Reddit is an American social news aggregator, web content rating, and discussion website. Registered members submit content to the site, such as links, text posts, and images, which other members then voted up or down.
Reddit has an area called AITA, which stands for “Am I The A-Hole.” They describe the community as, “A catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that’s been bothering you. Tell us about any non-violent conflict you have experienced; give us both sides of the story, and find out if you’re right, or you’re the a-hole.” It’s sort of like a jury of their peers kind of thing.
We’ve mentioned other situations from AITA in the past:
- A guy had planned a family trip overseas but wound up leaving his daughter home because her passport had expired
Welp, I fell down another “Reddit rabbithole” the other day and found a situation where the writer asked for clarification as to whether or not they were an a-hole:
AITA for not switching seats with a mother on an airplane, then ignoring her children?
I was flying to visit my family and had an aisle seat, which I was very thankful for because I get kind of claustrophobic in middle or window seats. I was getting buckled up and everything, when a lady comes over with her two kids (maybe 4-5 years old. looked like twins). She sees me sitting there and asks if I would be willing to switch seats with her. I don’t remember exactly where her seat was, I think it was a few rows behind mine and it was a window seat.
I didn’t want to switch and I told her as much. She got very annoyed and asked me again, and again. The flight attendant told her we were going to take off soon, so the lady asked me to move yet again. When I said no, she said that it was fine, but I would have to watch her kids. I told her I wouldn’t do that, and she should have bought seats together if she was that concerned.
She got all huffy and just went back to her seat. I put my headphones on and started watching a movie, and didn’t really pay much attention to the kids. They started arguing at some point, and it led to one of them crying. After a few minutes of screaming, the mom came over and asked why the hell I wasn’t doing anything. I said that I wasn’t going to take care of someone else’s kids, and I had explicitly told her that at the beginning of the flight. Eventually the flight attendant found someone in an aisle seat that was willing to switch with the lady, so that person took the window seat, the lady took my seat, and I took the other aisle seat.
When I told my family about it, they said I was an a-hole and should have just watched out for the kids. I don’t think it’s my responsibility though, they’re not my kids and it’s not my fault that the mom didn’t buy seats together. Also, if something happened and the kids got hurt or something urgent, I would have helped. I just didn’t want to spend my entire flight tending to them and breaking up arguments. AITA for ignoring them?
(To clarify the story a little, I think the mom must have had Basic Economy seats and was separated from her 2 kids. Said kids were in the middle and window seat of the writer’s row, and writer had the aisle.)
So, was the poster an a-hole?
The original post is older and now archived, but at its peak, it had about 1,500 replies (you can read them here – heads up that some of the replies include adult language). Not surprisingly, the responses varied.
Replies seemed to go into one of a few camps:
- Not The A-Hole – the writer was under no obligation to switch seats or watch the kids
- You Are The A-Hole – the writer should have switched when asked, or at least kept an eye on the kids, in the name of being helpful to your fellow man.
- The Mom Was The A-Hole – She tried to bully the writer. That set aside, she should have gotten the flight attendant involved much earlier, when she couldn’t get anyone to switch. The kids’ argument would have been nipped in the bud if whatever “musical chairs” had been done earlier in the flight
- The Airline is The A-Hole – . People traveling with young children (or anyone who is not physically or mentally able to fend for themselves) should automatically be sat together, regardless of what type of ticket they bought; it’s a matter of safety.
The whole story reminded me of a situation Joe and I went through, a few years ago. It was when Basic Economy was a relatively new concept and not everyone knew the implications of what you could and couldn’t do if you bought a Basic Economy seat (let’s face it – a lot of people still don’t know). An older woman spent quite some time trying to get people to switch seats so she and/or her daughter (who had bought the tickets) could sit next to the pre-school aged children in their party. Once everyone was settled, Joe had a long conversation with the woman, to get a better idea of what “Jane Q. Public” knew about Basic Economy. It was quite an eye-opener. You can read about it here.
But back to our original poster. What do you think? Was the original poster an a-hole, or no? And why?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary