You be the Judge: Who was at Fault for Child’s Anaphylaxis at Restaurant?


One thing every food allergy family wrestles with is whether and where to dine out. Many avoid eating at restaurants and ordering take-out for fear of cross-contact, while others will carefully engage with management to determine the potential risk of an allergic reaction (or worse.)

Which brings us to this installment of our “You be the Judge” series, where we present a food allergy-related scenario and invite you to sound off by sharing your opinions and expertise.

This time, a woman posting as u/ThrowawayPeanutAll told her story on reddit in a post entitled “AITA for crying causing a wedding to be called off?

We’ve referred to the “AITA” subreddit where this story was recently posted. AITA is short for “Am I the A-Hole,” a group providing a medium where people question their behavior and readers vote.

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Here is the post in its entirety, though we’ve added a bit of editing to make it a bit more clear:

I am 31F [and I have friends named] Anna 35F and Alex 33M. [Alex] has a seven-year-old daughter named Frankie who has a severe peanut allergy. Alex is very protective of Frankie and takes great precautions to ensure her safety.

One day, Anna and I decided to go to a restaurant, and we informed Alex beforehand. He explicitly told us to make sure that there were no peanuts in the food. Unfortunately, in the midst of ordering our meals, I completely forgot about Frankie’s allergy, and she ended up eating something with peanuts in it. This resulted in Frankie having a severe allergic reaction and requiring immediate medical attention.

Upon learning about the incident, Alex understandably became angry and upset. He directed his frustration towards me and Anna, stating that we should have asked about the presence of peanuts in the food. Furthermore, he expressed that he no longer wanted me around Frankie if we couldn’t be more responsible I busted out in tears. This argument escalated, leading to a major fight between Anna and Alex and ultimately causing their wedding to be called off. Now, both friends and family are placing the blame on me, stating that Anna and I should have been more cautious and that I ruined the wedding because I’m an idiot who doesn’t listen

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We assume Frankie thankfully recovered, though we can only imagine the panic that ensued.

Apparently, there’s more to the story, as detailed in the comments. The daughter was apparently served Kung Pao Chicken at a Chinese restaurant where peanuts are used in many dishes and likely permeate the kitchen.

So far, the post has received 8.4K “upvotes” — meaning it is garnering a lot of attention — and over 3.7K comments that together form the consensus that the woman is indeed an “A-Hole”.

So now we turn to you, our readers — experts in all things food allergy — and ask you to render your opinion: Is the poster simply at fault here, or is there more blame to go around?

You be the judge by sounding off below.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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  1. With the child only being 7 and obviously not able to advocate for herself(some 7 year olds might be, but most are not), the blame falls to the two women who’s care she was in. I wouldn’t say it was more one of them over the other since they both knew of the allergy and both were told to be careful. Personally, having two children, both with very severe food allergies to different things, I would have called off the wedding as well. If someone can’t be trusted to protect the life of a child, how could they be trusted with anything? And anyone who would put my child’s life at risk, doesn’t deserve to be with us. Good for Alex for protecting his child! I hope the two women learn their lesson, that life is precious and protecting children is so important. Allergies are no different than any other safety precaution, if they are careless about a child’s life with allergies, what else might they not be careful of with the child?

  2. There’s got to be a better way. I feel they are all the A-holes, and they all deserve a break too and to forgive each other and learn from the experience. Entrusting a highly-allergic child to people that personally do not have life-threatining allergies and are not experienced experts at managing other children’s food allergies, is risky in and of itself. I get Alex. He probably decided to trust them because they probably reassured him his daughter would be fine, that he had nothing to worry about. And they, Anna and her friend, thought, this isn’t so hard (I imagine). I can also imagine they’ve never seen the child react or flare up so they don’t really know what it’s like. People with mild or no food allergies, do not understand the risks and the complexity of the disease and how it can go from all normal to near death. But that is the issue all the time. How can people without food allergy exposure risks comprehend the risk to others with food allergys? And also, many find it difficult to adjust to the allergic persons needs and just zone out. Almost 5 decades in, I still have people close to me that could easily cause me death or flare ups (more likely) with good intentions if I do not protect myself at all times. And I will confess, I have made similar mistakes with my own allergic children even being allergic myself (thankfully without major consequences). A simple, do not let them eat peanuts and sending them off to a Chinese restaurant of all places with a small child with a severe peanut allergy I don’t think was excercising good judgement. Also, I don’t know how the argument went, but if it was all defensiveness and not contrition and addressing the actual issue, I could get why he’d call the wedding off. I would say this is another sad outcome of severe food allergies, the social cost to relationships because of the tension around managing the condition and trying to live as normal lives as possible.

    • I don’t think they all were a-holes. I think dad was rightfully terrified that his child could have died. Familiar with allergies or not, the fiancee and the woman were responsible for the child. If they get busy again would they again “forget” about her food allergy and the outcome not be good? I have been with people who have teased me about my food, my husband once joked he saw a piece of shrimp in my food (it wasn’t but he thought it was funny and I had a mild reaction just by stressing about it).

  3. If Alex was preparing to marry Anna, that makes her Frankie’s future stepmother, whom I would assume (but you know what that means) that Anna would have been in the picture long enough to know about and be highly aware and considerate of Frankie’s severe allergies.

    To me, ultimately, even if the writer was a friend of Alex and Anna, the gf/future stepmother should be the one to blame. If Anna accepted the engagement to Alex, that means that she also accepted responsibility for Frankie’s well-being going forward from engagement day. Obviously, she did not do that. I can understand Alex calling off the wedding after Anna blatantly decided to be so self-absorbed about the wedding that she apparently “forgot” about Frankie’s allergies when ordering her meal.

    The article said that Frankie required “immediate medical attention”? Does that mean that Alex and Anna were responsible enough to make sure that Frankie had her epi-pens and antihistamines with her when the ladies decided to go on this outing?

    My two daughters (now 15 and 16) have combined allergies to tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, and mustard (my oldest daughter’s allergies began whens he was only one year old) which they have never outgrown. I am also a Pediatric ER nurse. So, I do understand the challenges parents face when trying to do something “normal” like going out to eat at a restaurant or allowing their child to eat in the cafeteria at school, or attend a friend’s birthday party. I have first-hand experience with the emergencies (and deaths) that occur related to food allergies, the fears of trusting a server and/or manager when asking about allergies, or educating those who minimize food allergies because they have never experienced them for themselves or their children/family members. But, when my girls were young, it was MY (or Dad’s) responsibility to make sure that any food ordered for them was safe. Period. It wasn’t my lunch date or friend’s responsibility. It was MINE. And if I was not sure about something, I would always pack something from home in my bag, child’s classroom, for a party, so my girls could not starve, but still enjoy and participate in the social outing.

    It was also MY responsibility to teach my girls how to ask others if food was safe for them (Hello? Alex?). I remember my daughter, then 8 years old, requesting of a server to see the label on an item she wanted at a restaurant, and to also speak with the manager at Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. She made them both “pinky swear” with her that the food was safe…and fortunately, it was. Very proud Mama moment! 🙂

    Who in their right mind orders Kung Pao chicken for a child with allergies? It always comes with either peanuts or cashews. That’s like, a thing? And a Chinese restaurant is the LAST place a parent or anyone should ever take a younger child to eat…there are allergens in almost every food on the menu (eggs, shellfish, sesame, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy)! And that is not even considering cross-contamination. I have had a few Chinese restaurants where we live (Atlanta), that were willing to make and serve my egg/shellfish allergic daughter plain white rice and plain grilled chicken cooked in a separate pan. However, sometimes, especially due to language barriers, this can be difficult.

    I have never had someone else make special accommodations for my daughters’ food allergies. NEVER. I think that is completely ridiculous. Again, it’s not someone else’s responsibility. As the parent (looking at you again, Alex…and Anna), it is MY responsibility to provide them with something to eat if we are unsure that allergy friendly food will be served. It is also MY responsibility to ensure that the people I allow to take my child to a restaurant are truly aware of the allergies, invested in protecting my child, and have the appropriate medications with them, just in case.

    In this case, I think the writer would be the lowest person on the totem pole of responsibility here.

    • Well said and totally agree. I am a parent too of a child with food allergies. I send food with that I know is safe. I would not recommend or allow eating out at a restaurant where food allergies are that prevalent. Children are precious so teach, advocate, and protect.

  4. I totally get why it was called off. The child is lucky to be alive all people are at fault here. I have been dealing with eating out as an adult and not able to find anything safe or accommodating for peanut allergies or other ones in the last month. As a person with allergies and a parent you make plans ahead of time call where you are going first see if it’s safe and pack something you can eat because chances are you probably can’t eat anything where you are going and it can save a life to have a packed safe snack for a child in a small back pack. The woman were not given a good education by the parent I hope they know better glad the child lived hope they all learn. Personally I fear going out myself to eat due to things like this it’s gambling with your life and if it’s my child’s that’s just even more of a fear just skip it and have a picnic in the park it’s safe you packed it yourself.

  5. Chalk it up to lessons learned in allowing others to “take care” of your severely allergic child. One cannot skip a beat or blow it off for one second – and eating at a Chinese restaurant or any restaurant would not even be a possibility for us!!! They are extremely lucky the child did not die or receive oxygen deprivation that can permanently disable the child! If you don’t live with severe food allergies and haven’t experienced the disbelief and horror first hand, then other people just don’t get it. Do not leave your trust in others. They know not the precautions we must take. But, yes, “Ahole” achieved. And maybe things need to calm down after that occurrence in order to have a nice wedding. And please do not get it catered. I had to cook everything for my own wedding to ensure safety for my child. This is serious living!!!


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