Mother refuses to refund $50 to autistic daughter’s nanny, who bought child special thrifted books as favor

Gillian Sisley

A parent's dispute over a thrifting find has sparked a debate over responsibility and communication in the parenting realm. A mother has now written about the incident in a Reddit post to find out whether or not she behaved appropriately.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

The mother, whose daughter Ruby is on the autism spectrum, recently encountered a problem with her nanny, Tessa, when she returned from a family vacation with a stack of books for the little girl. She explains in her post:

“My daughter, Ruby, is 12. Recently, she has gotten into the original Star Trek show, as well as the Next Generation. Ruby is also a big reader and has started to collect a few of the old Star Trek books that she finds in used bookstores and thrift stores. These books usually cost anywhere from 50 cents to a couple of dollars.”

That said, after the Nanny’s vacation, she texted Ruby to ask if she wanted the books she found, to which Ruby said yes. However, the price of the books was a shock to the author:

“Well, Tessa returned yesterday with a stack of about 35 books and told Ruby they cost $50. Ruby doesn't have this much money and told Tessa. Tessa then asked me if I would cover the cost.”

No matter which side of the debate one may align with, the situation highlights the importance of communication and responsibility between parents and caregivers, as stated by the Raising Children Network. According to the National Institutes of Health, parents, especially those with children on the autism spectrum, should be sure to set clear expectations.

The author concludes the story with:

“Tessa had never asked me about buying Ruby the books, nor was I aware of the conversation between the two of them. Tessa only said that she found 'some' books for Ruby. Ruby is on the autism spectrum and does not read between the lines. You have to be very literal with her.”

The author further noted that Tessa had never bought Ruby more than one or two books, so she said she should have clarified with Ruby regarding the amount or double-checked with the parent before purchasing. Tessa argued that she could not return the books from the thrift store, but the parent stood firm in her decision to not refund her.

The author then asked Reddit if she was in the wrong for not paying the nanny for the books, and the response was mixed.

Some commenters argued that the parent was right, noting that:

“Tessa should have communicated with you or checked with you before buying them, so I think it's fair that you didn't pay her.”

Others argued that the parent should have paid, saying:

“I think you should have paid Tessa. She was doing something nice for your daughter.”

What do you think?

Was the author justified in not paying the nanny back for what he spent on the books, since she didn’t communicate ahead of time how much many she was going to buy, and what they cost?

Or should the author recognize that Tessa was just doing something nice for her daughter, and she should pay the nanny back, but then set clear expectations moving forward?

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