A woman posted her story on Reddit, you decide who the a-hole is:
I'm still pretty mad at the whole ordeal. My husband's coworker and his wife are both mad at us, and think I humiliated her but I think her lack of common sense is what did it.
My husband and I recently hosted a cookout at our house for his coworkers, he gets along pretty well with most of them and enjoys hosting. Coworkers wife Julia goes to the hallway bathroom, comes back. I end up going after her, and notice the toilet is clogged and starting to overflow. Something large and white is stuck, I use the plunger to unclog it and lo and behold, a very large bloody maxi pad.
Julia was the last person to use the bathroom, so I come out and asked her if she tried to flush a pad down the toilet. She got embarrassed and said yes, and I told her she needed to go clean up the mess she made. There was water all over the floor, with particles of her pad and blood everywhere.
I asked her if no one ever taught her not to flush a pad, we have a septic tank and they cost thousands to repair. You don't flush pads, especially not the extra large ones. Its not like she tried to flush a panty liner or something.
Julia cried and her husband yelled at me, but who does that? Especially at someone else's house? Husband's two female coworkers came to my defense, and pretty much said it was stupid of her to do that. Julia half assed cleaning up her mess, and her and her husband quickly left.
All of their coworkers think Julia shouldn't have done that, but my husband and his coworker are having a whole feud about it. AITA (Am I the as*hole) for calling out my husband's coworker's wife for trying to flush a maxi pad down our toilet?
Later, she added:
Edit: We have a septic tank. Septic tank repairs here can easily go for around 10,000$. Julia has a septic tank. Julia knows better. When I asked if she would flush a pad in her own home she said no. Julia said she did it because there was no trashcan in there, and she didn't want to walk her pad to a different trashcan.
The trashcan from that bathroom was outside being washed because a different coworker got vomit on it. I don't think saving her some embarrassment would be worth paying thousands of dollars to repair. Also, she saw that the toilet was clogged and decided to walk off and leave it for someone else.
Reddit was torn between NTA and ESH... but mostly NTA.
NTA (Not the as*hole). If Julia wanted to avoid embarrassment, she had a couple options: 1.) Wrap the hell out of that pad and stealth it to another trash can. We've all done this, and was the no brainer option. 2.) Once she realized that she f**ked up the toilet, she could have discretely informed OP and apologized profusely, then helped clean up the mess without complaint.
Could OP have been more discrete? Sure. Did Julia deserve discreteness at that moment? Probably not.
I'm a little torn on this one but think I'm going to go with ESH (everyone sucks here). Julia absolutely should have known better. She could have caused some serious damage to your plumbing and the fact that she did it and then walked away to let it overflow is just crazy to me.
At the same time, you could have pulled her aside and made this a private conversation, but it sounds like you chose to address this publicly in front of everyone which wasn't really necessary. OP has also confirmed that they asked publicly about this and has firmly seated themselves in AH territory.
NTA. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF ITS A SEPTIC TANK OR SEWER, YOU NEVER FLUSH A PAD!!! I don't think I have ever met a woman who didn't know you don't flush a pad, period (no pun intended). She knew better than that as an adult woman. It honestly sounds like she did it on purpose.
She flushed and she saw what it did and she left it, didn't even try to stop it. She was pissed she had to clean up the consequences for her actions. Any person who did this accidentally would have tried to clean it up themselves initially, and they would have had no problem cleaning it themselves.
NTA. I don’t even think calling her out in front of everyone makes you an as*hole. She knew she did something that would cause damage, then left a disgusting mess and wasn’t going to say anything to anyone. She didn’t deserve the privacy of being pulled to the side if she was ok with causing damage!!
“You didn’t provide a trash can” I’ve never had a bathroom garbage in my bathroom, I literally just wrap pads up and put them in the big garbage. How can she be embarrassed about carrying her pad to a diff garbage can and NOT leaving blood all over the bathroom?? Serious NTA.
ESH - she shouldn’t have done what she did but to humiliate her in front of everyone of your party is petty and cruel.