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First responder refuses to pay for colleague’s $22 meal after $2 lunch, supervisor scolds them. AITA?

First responder refuses to pay for colleague’s $22 meal after $2 lunch, supervisor scolds them. AITA?


"AITA for not paying for my coworkers lunch?"


This is genuinely the dumbest AITAH I’ve ever made/read, but here we are. I’m a first responder and was riding along with another shift for training purposes. The first day we drove through chic fil a. I ordered a small Mac And cheese, in our area that’s about $4. He ordered a whole meal.

When we got to the window, they gave us 50% off making mine $2. The guy I was riding with said “Don’t worry I’ll cover you”. Cool, thank you for covering my $2 I appreciate it lol.

Second day we went to a local bistro that’s decently pricey. I ordered a salad that was about $10. His meal totaled out to just over $20. When we went to the register to pay he told them “She’s going to cover mine” while pointing at me.

To say I was appalled is an understatement. The cashier looked at me and I calmly stated “No, I will just be covering myself”. The guy I was riding with got mad and started saying he covered me for lunch yesterday so it’s only right that I cover him.

I’m not confrontational, but I’m also no punk lol. I calmly stated “$2 does not constitute $22 (or whatever the total was). If you’d like me to give you $2 to cover my small side I ordered yesterday I will absolutely do that. But I will not be paying for your meal” and handed my card to the cashier.

He paid for his meal and we went outside where he refused to let me get into the vehicle. He continued to argue and cause a scene in the parking lot. He told me I’m not longer allowed to ride with him, so I called for a supervisor.

Once the supervisor arrived, he told them that he covered my lunch yesterday and that I refused to extend the same courtesy and that I embarrassed him and caused a scene and he no longer feels comfortable riding with me.

I explained my side to the supervisor and apologized because this is literally so ridiculous lol. The supervisor essentially said I was wrong because I should’ve just been respectful and paid for him like he did me.

At this point I was angry and told them this sounds like extortion and that I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of. I told them that $2 is a whole lot different than $22. We’re first responders, we don’t make a lot of money.

I continued to say if he wanted me to buy him a drink from the gas station or give him $2 I had absolutely no problem doing so, but I was not going to be bullied into covering his meal because he covered mine.

I ended up riding with someone else because obviously riding with him is no longer an option. The person I switched to also said I was wrong and should’ve just paid for his meal.

I don’t think I’m wrong here. Had I known the previous day that I would be expected to pay for his expensive meal after paying for my $2 Mac and cheese I would’ve never let him cover me.

I feel like since he put me on the spot, me putting him on the spot in return was only fair. I don’t feel like I caused a scene, I wasn’t the one who argued and refused to unlock the doors. But now everyone’s saying that I’m not a team player and I embarrassed him as well as our place of work. Am I wrong here? AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. I bet that most everyone who is saying you are wrong are men. I bet you have vioilated some unspoken bro code that you as the trainee needs to pay for the person with more experience.

What the dude did was a form of theft the $2 snack meaning you need to pay for a $20 lunch that was double the price of your lunch. Then he locked you out of the vehicle. This is a toxic work environment.

The OP responded here:


Funny enough, I technically wasn’t the trainee but instead trainer. It was definitely not a fun situation and I’ve requested not to work on this shift again. I told my supervisors if they want me to train that shift I will not be working under that supervision again.


NTA. My husband works EMS and I wish I could say I was surprised. These guys are bullying you. Idk why - but that’s what they’re doing.

The OP again responded:


I agree! They even tried saying after that I could just give him the $20 and apologize. Yeah no, play with your momma not me.


NTA, and I would speak with HR. This person has caused a hostile work environment over $2.


NTA - He paid for your $2 because he wanted a more expensive freebie out of you.

I don’t understand how your colleagues aren’t seeing that.


NTA - It's unreasonable for your coworker to expect you to cover a $22 meal in return for him covering a $2 item. The value disparity is significant, and his expectation wasn't communicated beforehand. You offered a fair alternative by offering to give him the $2 back.

His reaction was unprofessional and escalated the situation unnecessarily. Your colleagues' and supervisor's responses seem misguided, as the issue here is about fairness and not being taken advantage of. You acted reasonably and stood up for yourself in an unfair situation.


NTA. What is wrong with all your colleagues. I do a similar role as you and no one behaves like that. EVER. I think $20 is quite expensive for a work meal. It would have to be a once in a blue moon to pay that on my wage, so I’m guessing he would not have spent that amount had he not been expecting you to pay. He’s having a laugh. And the others are dimwits.


NTA If it had been a few dollars difference, that would be one thing, but $20 is a lot. It would be different if you had been partners for a while, but it sounds like you barely know this guy. He was trying to take advantage of you because he didn't think you'd push back.

Him refusing to let you in the vehicle was super unprofessional. Unfortunately, it sounds like everyone knows and likes this person, so they're siding with him (and anyone who disagrees is probably staying out of it).

If you have to work with these people for a while, you might be better off apologizing, even though you did nothing wrong. It would be easier than being the outsider who no one wants to work with. Sorry.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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