It’s not her child, it’s not her obligation.
This appears to be the moral belief of a mom who posted her story on Reddit’s popular community, r/AmItheA–hole, with the username u/Every-Proposal8019. She started her post with, “This situation began a year ago and blew up in our faces last week. My son Gregory is 13 years old. He just began the 8th grade. His friend, Peter, is also 13 and began the 8th grade too. Last year, I noticed that Gregory would be ravenously hungry after school every day. He would come home and eat a frozen dinner or something, and then help himself to seconds at dinner time. I chalked this up to him being a 12-year-old boy and let it be.”
OP continued to say that, in spite of her trying to dismiss her observation, she had this nagging feeling that something was wrong. Finally, her son admitted that he had been sharing his lunch with Peter, who comes to school without any food. And so OP decided to pack more food for Gregory and eventually pack a separate lunch for Peter.
She also remembered how one time Gregory visited Peter’s house and her son noticed that the house was in disarray and smelly. Moreover, her son told her about Peter’s parents often locking themselves in the garage for hours.
OP also mentioned that even though no one had bothered to thank her for the effort, she went on feeding Peter.
But that lasted just a year, because times have become harder and OP has to tighten the family budget. OP continued to say in her post, “I have decided not to spend exorbitant amounts of money supporting someone else’s child. I sat Gregory down and told him that I would be packing him one lunch, which is for him and him alone. I made it extremely clear: do not share with anyone, and this includes Peter.”
Her son obeyed her instructions. But, one day, she received a call from Peter’s mother. The caller was angry because she has suddenly stopped giving Peter food without a word. Her answer?
“I asked her when it became my responsibility to feed her son, and she responded that if she had known I wasn’t sending Gregory to school with ‘too much food,’ she would have handled it herself. I asked if she remembered why I began sending him to school with two lunches in the first place, and she hung up on me.” And now, OP inquired from the AITA community, “I feel conflicted. I know I’m having my kindness thrown back in my face, but did I approach this situation incorrectly?”
The AITA response, on the other hand?
“I’m thinking you are about 50/50 here. It’s understandable that you can’t take on the burden of feeding Peter. But you didn’t mention that you contacted anyone at the school and made them aware of this situation. They have people who deal with this type of situation. That’s the part of you that is YTA,” said one AITA member.
“I was thinking YTA for not having reported this to CPS already, but the school administration would be a good plan too. Especially when OP’s son said the friend’s parents locked themselves in the garage for hours! I was like, ‘Are they doing drugs in there?’ For sure, that’s not a good environment for a child,” commented another Redditor.
“The casual ‘oh, I knew a child was being neglected but now I don’t want to make two sandwiches, and instead of doing anything about it, I’ll just let the kid suffer instead of making a single phone call or telling anyone’ attitude is frankly ridiculous, to the point that If this person is actually the parent, I genuinely question their empathy and ability to care for their own children’s emotional needs appropriately. OP is TA,” remarked another person.
“This is where I was convinced that OP was TA. OP’s kid sharing his lunch for ages was something I’d be really proud of my kid for and proves he has a generous heart, although I’d be a little annoyed that he hadn’t mentioned it so neither of them had to be hungry. But to expect him to go in one day after a year of bringing enough for two and just say ‘sorry buddy, you’re gonna have to go without again’ has to be so hurtful for both boys,” wrote a Reddit commenter.
Meanwhile, this person also has a deeper insight: “I think OP was expecting a massive round of applause for providing food for another child who was obviously suffering at home, and for everyone to focus on the other mom who acted entitled. Treating a symptom doesn’t cure the disease though, OP should have done something more proactive rather than ignoring it and just making an extra sandwich in the morning. This mentality of ‘not my kid, not my problem’ is how kids slip through the cracks every day.”