That was the case for one uncle, who agreed to contribute to his beloved nephew's car fund. Except... he found out that his nephew already had a new one.
After finding out about some dubious events surrounding his not-so-beloved brother-in-law, he intervened with the whole family. Now, it has become, as the kids say, 'a thing'. So, he took to Reddit to ask:
I'm a little upset right now, but I thought I should get your opinion before I have an even bigger blow up. So my (30sM) cousin's (40sF) son Jake turned 16 recently. I'm very close with my cousin, and her son calls me 'uncle op'.
My cousin called me about a week ago and said she was planning on getting her son a car for his birthday but with the rising price of cars lately, she was a bit short. She asked if I could contribute to his gift. I said of course. Give me a couple days to move some stuff around, and I can send over about a grand. She seemed very appreciative.
I later talked with my husband about it, and he said that I should ask my cousin what he wants for his birthday. And give him the option of contributing to his car, or buying him whatever else he may want. I thought that was fair. So I messaged him, and he informed me his grandmother bought him a new car about 2 weeks ago and he would prefer an Amazon giftcard …
A week and 2 days before his mother asked me for money for a car, his grandmother bought him one… I asked a couple more questions, I found out the car was actually at his house already. He was annoyed, because his step dad had been using it since his grandma dropped it off.
I asked why is your stepdad using your new car that you haven't even driven yet, and he says because his step dad just totaled his about 5 days ago….
Little background… stepdad is a blue collar worker with a white collar man's taste. Thinks he deserves all of the best things because he's the man of the house. He didn't even buy that house, he moved into the house that my cousin owned already.
Once I was over their house for dinner, and he demanded the largest steak because he was the man of the house… that's what we're working with here.
So I call Vanessa, and I asked her what's going on, and she said, 'Well since my husband totaled his car, and he didn't have full coverage, he's going to take Jake's, and I'm going to buy Jake a used car.' I blew up on her. I said I'm not buying your husband a car. I thought it was absolute bullsh*t the way she made it sound like I was contributing to buy a car for Jake.
Here's where I might be the as*hole, I called the grandmother. Grandma's pissed. The car is in her name still. She told her daughter Vanessa her husband is not allowed to drive it. Now Vanessa is telling me I'm an as*hole because I told her mother about how her husband essentially stole her son's car.
And I don't understand everything going on. All she wanted was my help, and I made things worse for her. I want to tell her to leave her sh*tty husband, because all he does is take, but I'm trying to contain myself.
Nailed down some timeline issues: Jake got his car from his grandma on a Monday, Wednesday Stepdad totaled his car. Started using Jake's. Jake told me his Stepdad was very upset he had a nicer newer car then him and got into an argument with his wife about it.
I think he totaled his car on purpose. It would explain why insurance isn't covering anything. Heading over to the Grandma's house now. Talking about the money Jake's grandfather left for him, and possibly getting Jake out of the house.
Reddit had a lovely moment of harmony and pretty much everyone decided that OP was, in fact, NTA (Not the as*hole).
NTA. Sounds like she might be in a controlling or even abusive relationship. I would discreetly ask if she is ok and offer to help get her out if she ever decides she needs it, but definitely would not offer to help buy her spouse a car. - Internal_Lifeguard29
NTA. Two people, who knew better, tried to advantage of your nephew, his grandmother and you, you foiled their plan. They have no one to be upset with but themselves for trying this bait and switch and thinking they'd get away with it. - penguin_squeak
NTA. Lying to you about what your money would go towards is an as*hole move. I wouldn’t go so far as telling her to divorce the guy, because that’s liable to cause some long term damage to your relationship, but you totally did the right thing calling grandma. It’s her money and it was intended for her grandchild. - clutteredshovel
NTA, sometimes other people in the family need to step in, especially when it comes to kids. It’s hard for them to have any control when it is an adult doing something wrong.
Vanessa also was being dishonest from the start, she clearly left out parts of the situation to be misleading and was asking YOU for money… I’m not sure how they thought they would pull this off without anyone else finding out. I’d rather be an AH than watch as adults bully a kid out of their gift - JeffieShee
NTA Sometimes a guy like that needs to be put in his place, and a MIL is the perfect person to do it. - kathrynjean97
The moral here? OP is a pretty cool uncle!