Man Left Child Behind Due To Expired Passport – What Would You Have Done?

by SharonKurheg

I love reading Reddit. It has all different kinds of subjects and although you have to get past the trolls sometimes, some conversations can be really interesting.

Reddit has an area called AITA, which stands for “Am I The A-Hole.” The describe the community as, “A catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that’s been bothering you. Tell us about any non-violent conflict you have experienced; give us both sides of the story, and find out if you’re right, or you’re the a-hole.” It’s sort of like a jury of their peers kind of thing. Topics can run the gamut from, “AITA for telling my daughter that I don’t have any interest in playing grandfather to her kids?” to “AITA for leaving my friend’s house because she tried to force me to eat vegan?” to “AITA for not being sympathetic to a friend who cheated?

For some background information before I talk about the AITA post I recently discovered, I just want to mention that when you travel overseas, you obviously need to have a passport. Passports only (usually) last 10 years before they need to be renewed. However, some countries require your expiration date to be a specific time in the future – upwards of 6 months, depending on the country. This post explains all of that.

And now back to Reddit…

This event happened a while ago, before COVID, and when international travel wasn’t an issue. So this guy wrote and asked if he was the jerk because of the following situation:

AITA for leaving my daughter behind after her passport turned out to be expired?

I share a daughter with my ex who is 14 years old. I also have a 9 and 11 year old with my wife.

After many years, my wife and I are finally in a position of being financially ok. So we planned an international vacation for the very first time. It was expensive but we saved up for it.

My oldest has gone on one trip with her mother before when she was younger and therefore already had a passport.

My ex refused to let me have the passport physically and told me that the passport had a valid expiry date. She said there was still a year left. She even gave me the date to use when I was buying tickets.

We picked my daughter up from my ex’s house on our way to the airport. My dad drove us there.

When we go to get our tickets, I was horrified to learn that my daughter’s passport was going to expire two months later. And the airlines said she couldn’t get on the flight.

After debating it a lot, I made the decision to go ahead with the trip and have my father take my daughter home.

I originally wanted to stay behind as well but at that point my wife wanted to cancel the trip because she wouldn’t be able to handle travelling overseas alone with two kids for the first time.

It was a lot of money that was not refundable so I made the decision to go.

Naturally, my daughter was very upset and I promised to take her on another trip once her passport was renewed but obviously that wasn’t going to make her feel better.

We went on the trip and I was miserable knowing that I had left my daughter behind. My wife and I were also bombarded with WhatsApp messages from everyone back home questioning our decision.

We returned from the trip and my daughter has refused to come for her time with me, and is not talking to me.

She also wants to change schools because kids are making fun of her for “lying” about going on trip. I’ve been trying to deal with the school to address this.

I’m absolutely gutted. Only my younger kids actually enjoyed the trip and my wife and I are extremely upset that my daughter isn’t talking to us.

I thought at the time I was making a decision that was best for the majority. But now I’m thinking that I made the wrong choice. Was I the a-hole?

He got about 2,300 comments, which is a decent amount, even by Reddit’s standards. Responses varied:

  • he was the A-hole and should make it up to the daughter by taking her on a trip without the 2 other kids (original poster clarified and said he would like to bring his daughter on a trip of her own to make up for the situation but it will take time to save the money and time off)
  • he was the A-hole and should have cancelled the trip
  • it was the ex-wife’s fault because she either didn’t check or lied about the passport expiration date and maybe was trying to put a wedge between the man and the daughter (original poster clarified that the ex- was scatterbrained and could have given the wrong expiration date by mistake)

The original post is here, if you’d like to read the responses in more detail. Heads up that it contains a fair amount of adult language.

I wish there was some follow up to see what’s happened since (granted, we’ve been the age of COVID for the past 6 months), but alas…

What would you have done? And, more importantly, do you think he was the a-hole?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek September 3, 2020 - 12:41 pm

First of all, this man is a child rapist and criminal. See here….”I share a daughter with my ex who is 14 years old”. That means he child raped his ex-wife at age 13 or younger.

Ok, probably bad English, not child rape.

Whether he went or stayed, the daughter still would be pressured to change schools for “lying” about the trip. The daughter should be taken as soon as possible on another trip, even a semi-mileage run.

The ex (mother) should be documented to have lied either being negligent or trying to sabotage the trip.

SharonKurheg September 3, 2020 - 2:12 pm

I TOTALLY caught the, “….with my ex who is 14 years old” when I read the post for the first time 😉

Christian September 3, 2020 - 6:52 pm

Sometimes there’s just no right decision. Finger pointing is a major exercise in futility but ultimately the blame should fall on the ex who flat out lied to him. You mentioned that she may not have checked the date; if she did that and told him differently, that’s a lie. I imagine that there’s more to this, but the ex had ways to avoid this happening but chose not to exercise them.


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