It’s easy to cling to old resentments, especially when someone made your life hell for years on end…but is it the right thing to do? One Redditor who refused to donate to a fundraiser for his childhood bully’s cancer treatment is now wondering if he made a mistake.
User @Quirky-Importance-81 took to the infamous /AmITheAsshole Subreddit for some unbiased insight into the emotionally charged situation. “Apparently, my former classmate Brad (26M) has been diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his family is raising $50K on GoFundMe to help cover the cost of his treatment,” he explained.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a serious form of cancer: In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 80,000 people will be diagnosed with it, and more than 20,000 will die of it. So, yes, Brad’s diagnosis is devastating news — but it doesn’t change the fact that he bullied @Quirky-Importance-81 relentlessly when they were younger.
“Brad used to treat me like sh*t in high school,” the Redditor recalled. “He was constantly making fun of my weight and calling me offensive nicknames. I can’t say I felt good when I learned about his diagnosis, but I didn’t shed any tears either.”
The drama began when the GoFundMe for Ben’s cancer treatment made its way to Anna, another one of @Quirky-Importance-81’s former classmates. She added him and a bunch of other folks to a group chat and asked everyone to “donate whatever we could, even if it was a small amount.”
She also told everyone to give her message a thumbs-up when they donated — a bit presumptuous, if well-intentioned. And therein lay the rub: @Quirky-Importance-81 did not feel comfortable donating to his childhood bully.
“Pretty much all of the people in the group donated, except for me,” he explained. “Anna noticed this and tagged me, asking me if I saw her message. That’s when I wrote that I don’t plan to donate because of the way Brad treated me in high school. Anna and a few other guys said that I was acting like an asshole, that we are grown-ups now and this stuff is the past.”
The Redditor ended up leaving the group to avoid arguing with everybody. “None of them stood up for me when Brad was bullying me, and most of them laughed at his dumb jokes,” he added. “So, AITA here?”
In general, AITA Redditors in the comment section sided with him. Bullying is real and awful thing, and it’s totally valid to not forgive someone for mocking you even after time has elapsed.
“NTA,” one commenter wrote. “Maybe it’s in the past, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be over it or forgive him.”
Some folks did take issue with @Quirky-Importance-81 dramatically leaving the group chat. However, most commenters were more concerned with Anna’s presumptuousness.
“This is not how these things work,” wrote one particularly aghast commenter. “You create a GoFundMe so that people can help if they feel called to, not so you can go shake down every one they ever knew. Fuck all of them. Don’t give them a cent or another thought.”
“NTA, but [you] probably should have just ignored it instead of engaging,” someone else opined.
“You don’t have to donate, but living with the bitterness you feel from this person is going to impact you more than [anything] else,” advised another commenter. “Get to a point where you can forgive them. You don’t need to trust them, but you also don’t need to carry it forever.”
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