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Am I Wrong For Leaving A Family Dinner At An Exclusive Restaurant? 

Off The Record

Am I Wrong For Leaving A Family Dinner At An Exclusive Restaurant? 

At a fancy steakhouse that was supposed to be the scene of a happy family get-together, one person was taken aback by a group that was almost three times larger than usual. The mood was upbeat as the toasts rang out, but it quickly soured when the unaware host learned they would be responsible for what turned out to be an enormous bill.

An anonymous poster in the “AITA” forum published their story in January 2024. The Original Poster (OP), a prosperous person in comparison to their family, traveled a lot for employment. They tried to get to know everyone on their visits, frequently taking their family out to supper.

Even with the difference in income, OP typically paid for the out-of-pocket expenses, occasionally treating herself to fine meals but more often choosing less expensive options. They were unapologetic about their generosity, noting their assistance with organizing family holidays and buying their mother a car as evidence of their readiness to help.

With little time, OP returned to town for the holidays and, at their mother’s prodding, got ready for a family get-together. When they got there, OP saw a text message from their mother from a few hours prior, pointing them toward a fancy steakhouse. This wasn’t how they usually started expensive dinners, so it made them feel a little uncomfortable.

When OP arrived at the restaurant, he saw something unexpected. “I show up at the restaurant to find a huge party. My mom, stepdad, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, etc. Usually, our family dinners are 6 people roughly. I don’t have much family and very few I’m close to. This was almost 20 people,” OP recollected.

The evening took an unexpected turn when OP’s grandmother’s neighbor, to whom they had previously merely waved, proposed a toast. The toast signaled the start of an unexpected series of events by highlighting OP’s generosity in footing the bill.

Peering at their beet-red mother during the first course, OP was taken aback by the lavish celebration taking place, having anticipated a more low-key get-together. Considering that everyone was chowing down on cocktails, a ton of appetizers, and expensive steaks that cost between $80 and $250 per, a quick mental computation suggested that the meal was going to cost at least $4k.

OP angrily declared, “I’m not paying for dinner,” leaving only $100 on the table before hurriedly leaving. With their phone constantly beeping, OP decided to switch it off, go to bed, and leave the following day without saying goodbye.

Even after realizing that their handling of the matter was subpar, OP was still plagued with the feeling that they had been taken advantage of. They added to the drama by telling their mother that her stipend would no longer be paid each month. “I know I’m nta with the dinner but more concerned about my reaction [sic],” said the OP.

After that, OP hesitantly answered the phone as their mother kept pleading with them. When OP expressed regret for storming out, they expected an olive branch in the form of an apology and reconciliation, but instead they were met with allegations of meanness, greed, selfishness, and disrespect.

Perplexed, OP questioned the justice of such designations, emphasizing the vast support they had given over the years—two automobiles, a renovated bathroom, a new roof, new appliances, and money for multiple family holidays, to name a few gestures.

OP reacted violently because they were upset and frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement. In a flash of ironclad determination, they vowed to stop helping anyone who didn’t deserve it.

Not long after, OP started a chain reaction of cancellations that included six AT&T lines, internet services, streaming accounts that were either completely cancelled or had their passwords changed, removal from AAA coverage for the cars, their mother’s auto insurance coverage being terminated, and the cancellation of the credit card they had given. OP’s bold decision to halt the free ride era left their family facing the consequences of their lack of gratitude.

In the updates that followed, OP discovered that the fallout from their audacious deeds was still having an impact on family dynamics. Their niece, who was not present but heard from others, claimed that the family was in disbelief. Reluctantly, the family agreed to divide the $700 cost as they had attempted to cancel the remaining portion of the meal, which included appetizers and drinks.

Their mother’s increasingly nasty voicemails, which increased in frequency as the OP grew apart, led them to decide to stop taking calls and to delete their messages. Declaring that a cooling-off time was necessary, OP told their mother that a chat could only take place the following month.

The consequences went beyond the immediate family when OP found out they were not invited to a cousin’s wedding because they didn’t want “drama,” but they were still expected to bring a present. The conversation, which had once been animated about the impending family trip, had become quiet.

OP found out at a meeting with their niece that there wasn’t much forgiveness or regret in the family. Instead, a widely held belief that painted them as a vicious, avaricious monster appeared to take hold; as a result of their audacious stance, OP found itself isolated.

Redditors have been overwhelmingly supportive of OP’s story and have universally labeled them “NTA.” One user wrote, “Everyone else at that table “knew” you were going to be paying for dinner but you. How odd. The position your mom and family put you in was quite disrespectful. And I do not know how you could have reacted better.”

“Your mom was way out of line for all of this. Starting with assuming you’re going to pay, choosing that expensive place, and inviting so many people. She owes you a major apology,” opined a second user.

“Your family invited your neighbors!? Do you even know these people? Wait, it doesn’t even matter. And everybody had drinks and appetizers and steak…Paying for your part and leaving was entirely appropriate. They took advantage of the golden goose and the golden goose left and cut mama off,” divulged yet another commenter.

Do you agree with the OP’s position, or did they need to have acted differently?

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