Man criticized for not returning $100 his daughter received at her ‘no gifts’ party

Some guests still brought presents to the seven-year-old’s birthday gathering  (Getty Images)
Some guests still brought presents to the seven-year-old’s birthday gathering (Getty Images)

A father has been criticized for not returning $100 his daughter received at her “no gifts” birthday party.

In a recent post shared in the popular “Am I The A**hole” Reddit forum, a man asked if he was in the wrong for keeping the present. He noted that while the invitation to his seven-year-old’s birthday party said “no gifts,” there were some people who brought “wrapped presents.”

However, when one pair of parents – whom he referred to as Joe and Sue – arrived at the party, the birthday girl asked them if they brought a gift, and they were caught off guard.

“Sue saw the other gifts and looked clearly embarrassed for not having brought one, and said she thought the invite said ‘no gifts,’” he explained. “We were standing in front of the other parents who had just given their gifts so I didn’t make a big deal about it, and I said something like ‘No, no, you’re right we didn’t ask for anything; she’s spoiled enough as is, ha-ha.’”

Sue later decided to make a card and added it to the pile, although the Reddit user insisted that he wasn’t aware of this. Later on, Joe and Sue’s son “ran up in front of everyone and asked [the birthday girl] to open the card.” Even the Reddit poster didn’t plan for his daughter to open gifts at the party.

“My daughter pulled out a $100 bill and everyone gasped, basically, and of course, my daughter was elated (followed by my daughter opening the other very small, inexpensive presents),” he continued.

The father added that while Joe then “seemed upset and withdrawn [during]  the rest of the party,” Sue “acted like this was a completely normal gift.”

He concluded by explaining that once he told his partner what happened, they “were upset” and felt like they, as hosts, “may have done the wrong thing by not returning the gift,” since Joe and Sue “clearly felt guilted into” giving the $100.

The post has quickly gone viral on Reddit, with more than 6,600 upvotes. In the comments, multiple people criticized the father for not saying something to his child when she asked Sue about a present, especially since it was a “no gifts” party.

“It’s so rude to say ‘no gifts’ and then let your child ask someone if they brought a gift!” one wrote. “At the very least (since we can’t directly control what comes out of a child’s mouth), you should have jumped in right away to answer, ‘Of course they didn’t, sweetie, remember we told people not to bring gifts because [whatever reason you discussed already].’”

“This is mostly a learning opportunity for your daughter,” another wrote. “She created an awkward moment by asking if they brought a gift. But she’s only seven, so it was a natural question. Take the opportunity to teach your daughter why that question is rude, and explain why she needs to get permission in the future before opening gifts in front of everyone. Tell her she didn’t do anything wrong, but that gift-giving and gift-receiving can be complicated in the adult world.”

A third added: “You really did miss the opportunity to correct your daughter and tell Sue, ‘You are correct. The invitation said no gifts – and you being here is exactly the gift we wanted.’ And remind your daughter how rude it is to ask for a gift quietly. This would most certainly not have made the person giving the gift uncomfortable – they know you said no gifts and made their choice to bring it.”

Other people also encouraged the father to give the $100 back to Joe and Sue, with one writing: “I wouldn’t have let the family leave without quietly getting that $100 back to Sue, but still, better to get it returned after the fact than not at all. Under no circumstances should the daughter keep the money.”

“You should return the money to them,” another wrote. “I can understand being taken by surprise when it happened, but now you’ve had some time to think about it and just go and visit them and return the money. They clearly felt they had to give something and probably only had a $100 bill. If not, you’ll be buying their kids $100 presents from now on.”