A South Asian woman was left dismayed after her neighbour accused her of forcing her son to eat “ethnic food”.
The confrontation occurred after the mother, given the pseudonym Linda, asked the woman to watch her seven-year-old boy for a few hours while she attended an important meeting.
When Linda dropped off her child she handed the volunteer babysitter a packed lunch for him to eat consisting of a vegetable sandwich and orange juice. She also told her not to give him any sweets and said he was allergic to almonds.
However, when the woman prepared her own lunch of roti and brinjal sabzi (a type of aubergine curry) the boy, called Ben, asked if he could “take a bite.”
“He ended up loving it and ate two rotis,” she explained in a Reddit post, adding: “I was happy to see him gulp all that up but unfortunately, he was full from the rotis so he barely ate his sandwich.”
That evening, Linda picked up her son, said her thank-yous and left.
But she soon returned seeming “pretty mad” and saying that her neighbour had “no right to feed her son ethnic food, adding: “God knows what’s in it.”
“She said that she was trying to transition her son into the vegan lifestyle and I just sabotaged it from giving him food she has never even heard off,” the Redditor said.
“I tried explaining to her that what he ate is completely vegan-friendly and is very healthy and, needless to say, yummy or else Ben wouldn’t have (eaten) it all by himself.
“But she was in no mood to listen.”
She continued: “(Linda) was saying something about how my food would have been so spicy that it could cause her son to fall sick.
“I am worried now. I felt that Ben enjoyed his lunch and he never complained about it being spicy and all but could he really fall sick?”
She ended her post: “Linda called me an a**hole for feeding other kids without the parents’ permission and I kind of feel like one.”
She then asked fellow users of the platform: “Am I though?”
Her message was met with more than 1,600 comments, as fellow Redditors flocked to offer their take on the incident.
One wrote: “If this had been about trying to convert her son to veganism (which is already an a**hole move on her part if her son doesn’t want to be vegan), then she would have dropped it when she found out that the dish was vegan friendly.
“Instead, she kept complaining because it was scary FOREIGN food.”
Another commented: “This could’ve been educational for the kid but his mom ruined it by being bigoted.”
Another pointed out that Indian dishes are often favoured by people on a plant-based diet.
“She’s the first vegan I’ve ever heard of who doesn’t appreciate Indian cuisine,” they said.
“If I had to be vegan most of my food would be Indian. The spices they use on vegetables is just fantastic – I’d argue it tastes better than a lot of other vegan options.”
Meanwhile, others took issue with Linda’s alleged assumption that the food was “spicy”.
“I am sick of the stupid ‘Indian food is spicy’ thing that everyone seems to think,” one complained.
“Unless the dish is actually supposed to be spicy then it normally isn’t.”
Another, responding to suggestions that the mother was being racist or xenophobic, said it was obvious that “Linda is a non south Asian who thinks all south Asians eat is extremely spicy food, whereas the South Asian diaspora is pretty diverse with diverse tastes and foods.”
All we know is that we’d gladly tuck into some roti and brinjal sabzi right now.