My daughter recently had an “Elsa” birthday party at the studio where she takes gymnastics. I invited her entire preschool class to the Frozen-themed bash, and all 23 kids RSVPed “yes”. But, five kids didn’t show up. Four of them were sick. I never heard from the mum of the fifth child. I had to pay for the party in advance based on the number of children attending, which means I could have spent much less money if I had known those kids weren’t going to be there. Of course, kids get sick — but it is annoying and rude when someone just doesn’t show up.
I thought of my daughter’s party as I read the story of the UK father who received an invoice for his 5-year-old son Alex’s share of a birthday party that he didn’t attend, despite saying he’d be there. Derek Nash claims that he didn’t realize he’d made other plans for Alex the same day as the friend’s birthday party. When given the choice, Alex decided to bail on the party. Nash says he didn’t let the host know they wouldn’t be there because he didn’t have contact info for her. The party’s host has threatened Nash with legal action if he doesn’t pay the no-show fee, which amounts to about $24.
The story has gone viral, and I’ve seen lots of comments from people online expressing shock that the mum sent the invoice. But I say, “Good for her!” The child didn’t get sick. He decided to do something else, and the father let him. If Nash just didn’t show up for a reservation at a restaurant or for a doctor’s appointment he’d be charged, so why shouldn’t he pay a fee for bailing on a party?
I never heard from the mum whose child missed my daughter’s party. I made the choice to let it go (pun intended), but kudos to the UK mum who spoke up. Sick kids are one thing, but why should a host have to pay for another family’s rude, selfish behavior? So to the mum who sent the invoice, I’ve been there. I can understand why you did that.
Of course, money isn’t the real issue here; the real issue is manners. It’s important for kids to learn about making commitments and following through, as well as being respectful of other people’s time and money. A child can’t learn those lessons from a father who can’t keep his word. Maybe that no-show fee should be looked at as the cost of having bad manners.
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