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Dad Goes Off On Older Woman After She Chastised His Toddler For Being Noisy At An Outdoor Concert

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

All of us like getting out to do the things we enjoy. Especially with this ongoing pandemic, we could all use something fun to do.

But even now, there are some people who are ready to ruin that fun.

One dad, Redditor GTripp14 wrote into the "Am I the A**hole?" (AITA) subReddit and pointed out how his day out with his family was nearly ruined when an elderly couple sat near them and demanded his toddler keep it down.

The Original Poster (OP) asked the sub:

"AITA for being confrontational with a woman for being rude to my kid at an outdoor concert?"

In an attempt to clear their heads, the OP and his family went out to a social-distancing-friendly event.

"Since the pandemic began my wife and I have stayed at home as much as possible and kept our toddler home other than to a few family member's homes who have been careful as well. We have all been getting a little stir crazy and wanted to find something safe to do outside of our home."
"This past Friday our town had a free outdoor concert in a large park where keeping distance from others was easy. We arrived near the start of the show and it was already fairly populated. We had our almost three year old son in a stroller with a few toys to keep him entertained until the music began."
"Since we both know he is a talkative kid we made a conscious effort to move far to the side of the field and partially uphill to avoid sitting too close to folks where his talking and general noise would disturb them. We both agree that toddlers in public can be distracting so it was important to us to find a place far enough away to head the music without our son interrupting anyone else."

Everything seemed to be going according to plan until an elderly couple showed up.

"About a half hour into the concert things are great. The music is fun, weather is nice, and the cabin fever is lifting. An older couple in perhaps their 60s walk towards us far from the crowd and sets up their chairs about 10 feet in front of us. Tons of room closer to the stage and on either side of us to set up their chairs but no big deal. Plenty of space for social distancing."

It was clear right away the couple was not there to listen to a toddler play.

"By this time our son is getting pretty animated playing with his trucks in the stroller. 'Vroom Vroom Beep Beep Brrr Brrr.' You get the picture."
"The older couple looks over their shoulders a few times and I get the hint. I ask the kiddo to keep it down."
"He smiles and agrees and for a little while he is pretty quiet but like any kid over time the volume gradually increases."
"Off and on the old couple look back at us when he is noisy and I tell him to quiet down a bit again."

Then the elderly woman took it too far for the OP's liking.

"Eventually the older lady in front of us turned around and asks, 'How old is your son?' to which I answered he was almost three."
"She replies, 'Then he is old enough to shut up when you ask him to. He is ruining the music for us.'"
"I'm instantly p**sed beyond belief so I ask her, 'How old are you?' and tells me she is 68 so I say 'Then you are old enough not to be an a**hole to a toddler. Move your stuff or don't talk to us. Either is fine.'"
"From that point I let me son play as loudly as he wanted since everyone but the old couple in front of us are too far away to hear. We had already tried to be out of the way but it's like they sought us out to p**s and moan about a noisy toddler."
"It eventually p**ses them off until they pack up their chairs and move. The whole d**n thing just put a dampener on our day out."
"So am I the a**hole?"
"Edit for clarity: It was a classic rock cover concert. We sat about two football fields from the state. Until the older couple sat in front of us we were about a half football field or slightly more away from the nearest people."

Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP's reaction on the following scale:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You're the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here"

Some Redditors honestly want to know what the couple was thinking, sitting so close to a family with a toddler.

"NTA. This reminds me of our town dump and the McMansion development that got built next to it. People bought their overpriced crappy houses next to a gigantic garbage dump, like literally yards away from mountains of garbage, then started complaining about the smell."
"I mean, what do they expect?"
"These people could have set up their chairs anywhere else. They chose to sit near a family with a toddler who had already deliberately gone to a spot where they wouldn't bother anyone. You can't do that and then expect to impose your rules on them. They should have sat somewhere else." - PrairieDogStromboli
"People like this are looking for a fight. I think they wanted to be confronted when they sat in front of OP. There is no other reason to sit so close to other people when there is plenty of space."
"I would have said something when they sat down, along the lines of, 'We sat here purposely so our child would not disturb anyone. You decided to sit in front of us when there is plenty of space for you. At 68, you certainly know better than to sit so close to a child unless that was your point - to make the child a problem because you need to make one everywhere you go. Move or shut up.'"
"NTA" - Sciencegirl117
"[sits in one place somewhat near a toddler]"
"'Shut that kid up!'"
"Anyone wanna put money down on this lady having children who never talk to her and she simply has no idea why?" - FlownScepter

Others said the OP and their family were in the right after going out of their way to not be disruptive.

"NTA. I hate kids yelling and running around as much as the next person. But you did go out of your way to make sure your kid wouldn't bother people by being away from the crowd."
"And these people saw that you have a kid and decided to sit so close even after there was all that free space they could have chosen that wasn't close to you. It's all on them."
"I'd have done the same in your place." - funjunkie1
"NTA. You made a conscious effort to allow your son to be a child without ruining an experience for others - thank you, BTW - and they deliberately settled near you."
"We once took our three young (not toddler) children to Dairy Queen at around 4:30 on a July afternoon. They were chattering excitedly while they waited for their treats and an older couple eating dinner (!) kept muttering and glaring at them."
"It was a special occasion - we didn't have much money and outings were rare, and we did not allow our children to misbehave or be disrespectful in restaurants. (They all remember being hauled out of one restaurant before we were even served because of a tantrum. And yes, we tipped the server.)"
"It was just us and the couple in the restaurant at the time. The muttering and ugly looks kept up until the children started to get uncomfortable and whisper-ask us why the couple didn't like them."
"My husband, who is as non-confrontational as they come, loudly said, 'Well, evidently they think it's inappropriate to treat children to ice cream on a summer afternoon. Don't worry, though ... I'm sure their kids used to annoy my parents, too!'"
"To their credit, they did look ashamed of themselves, and they left soon after."
"Hopefully your concert neighbors took the lesson. Good parenting!" - beckbeak
"NTA"
"My son is 2.5 and even though he is a generally quiet kid, he has his moments and if he's not distracted he's a nuisance."
"I have lots of elderly family members and unfortunately we've been to quite a few funerals. Sometimes my husband will stay home with our son, sometimes we bring him along and I play paw patrol or Mickey Mouse on my phone (very quietly and in the overflow/crying room so no one is bothered) to keep him entertained for the funeral."
"Toddlers are noise makers. Yes we can tell them to quiet it down and they'll listen for five minutes before they're back to before. It's not their fault. It's not our fault as parents for not controlling our kid. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves and our kids from a situation and that's okay."
"But y'all made sure to pick a spot way out of the way. You made sure where you were was not going to interfere with anyone else's enjoyment of the afternoon. The old lady just needed something to b***h about since she's been stuck inside and can't complain about grocery prices." - imsorrydontyellatme

Several also agreed and confirmed the toddler wasn't wrong, either, but simply being a toddler.

"A child making noise at a park? Gasp! Clutches pearls!"
"My guess is that she wanted to be able to have a conversation with her husband (annoying other people around her) but didn't want any interruptions herself. NTA" - cynicallycharged
"Yeah, at least where I'm at, that's totally normal and acceptable for a family-friendly outdoor concert like this. I've been to tons of them and wouldn't think twice about a kid acting like that. I might move if I found it annoying, but it isn't like a movie theater or something where there's an expectation of quiet." - Loud_Insect_7119
"NTA - Was this concert so quiet you could hear a toddler screaming? That woman could've moved if your son was that disturbing. 3 year olds are part of this world and they don't always listen because they're freaking 3 year olds." - yoglinerd76

Though it can be frustrating to have your fun plans interrupted by someone else attending, the OP and their family can at least say they were not in the wrong for attending or how they handled it.

Now thanks to the Reddit community, they can say they were not wrong for their final reaction, either.