My Sister Threw Our Grandpa a Birthday Party but Demanded That He Pay for It When the Bill Came — Karma Retaliated

When the bill arrived, my sister insisted that our grandfather pay for the birthday celebration she had thrown for him, and Karma struck back.


I urged myself to take deep breaths when my sister Ariel, who is always upbeat and a little crazy, offered to organize Grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration. A surprise party sounded nice, but knowing Ariel, you could bet that it would go awry faster than a cake cart on wheels. Indeed, it did!


Our connection has always been complex, Ariel and I. We had a lot of happy and sad memories together as siblings, but we also frequently disagreed, which caused conflict. Ariel was more carefree and younger, and she had a way of getting herself into trouble and entangling other people in her crazy schemes.



I was the mature sibling who took responsibility for tidying up after my younger sister. Notwithstanding our frequent arguments, we both treasured our relationship with Gramps.

Particularly after Dad’s death, Gramps had been a steady source of knowledge and consolation. We all wanted to mark his 90th birthday with a meaningful celebration because he was our rock.

I was skeptical the moment Ariel offered to plan Gramps’ birthday celebration. It wasn’t well known that my sister was a planner. I couldn’t resist talking to Mom about my worries one evening over tea.


“Mom, do you really think Ariel can handle Gramps’ celebration? I tried to keep my tone light as I said, swishing my spoon around in my cup. “She’s never planned anything like this before.”

Mom gave me a harsh yet understanding look as she peered at me through her glasses. “Jocelyn, you must offer your sister an opportunity. She’s making an effort to be kind to Gramps.”

But she’s quite clumsy. Do you recall the Thanksgiving before last when she neglected to thaw the turkey?

Mom sighed, putting down her cup. “We succeeded there, didn’t we, for that one instance? Jocelyn, you should trust her. She desires to take charge.”



In an attempt to relax, I inhaled deeply. “Well, I’ll give it a shot. However, I will continue to monitor the situation.”

Mom took my hand and squeezed it from across the table. “My love, I’m sure you’ll succeed. But give this to her. Ariel is a member of their family as well, therefore Gramps deserves a fantastic celebration.”

I gave up and mailed Ariel the $50 she requested, albeit reluctantly. The day of the celebration came a few days later. My stomach started to turn the moment I walked into the restaurant.




A sushi restaurant? Compared to my expectations for Grandpa’s 90th birthday, everything was rather different. Mostly inebriated university students made up the crowd inside; they were obviously Ariel’s pals. My gut churned.

“Ariel, what is this?” I inquired as I walked up to her, trying not to yell.”

She was obviously unaware of the catastrophe she had caused as she smiled at me. Joce, it’s Gramps’ birthday! Isn’t that fantastic? Everyone is having a great time.”



I looked across at Gramps, who was trying to figure out how to use chopsticks while sitting calmly at the table. “Grampps doesn’t even eat sushi, Ariel. And just who are these individuals?”

“Oh, Joce, hurry up! Grandpa enjoys spending time with the young people! ARE YOU not, snobs? Shouting, Ariel’s voice reverberated across the space. With a feeble smile, Gramps continued to struggle with the chopsticks.


I sat down next to Gramps after getting closer to him. “Here, Gramps, let me help you with that,” I murmured, removing the chopsticks from his shaking hands and grabbing a sushi slice. “You don’t have to eat this if you don’t want to.”

Grandpa gave me a hand pat. “I’m grateful, Jocelyn. I’m alright. Though I could see the unease in his eyes, he said softly, “Just happy to be surrounded by so many young people.”



The longer the evening went on, the more uncomfortable I felt. The way Ariel’s pals behaved was loud and annoying, as they were obviously having a great time. The bill arrived just as I was about to recommend to Gramps that we get out. However, as per usual, Ariel gave it straight to Gramps.


“You’re all set, Gramps! Cheers to your birthday! It’s time to pay up, she laughed and pushed the bill in his direction.

I cracked up. “What are you doing, Ariel? Dad shouldn’t have to foot the bill for his own birthday celebration!”




Ariel gave me a perplexed expression. “Well, somebody needs to cover the cost. Everything is arranged by me. It’s just.”

I got to my feet, rage making my hands shake. “Ariel, this isn’t fair. You begged for donations from everyone, and you still want Gramps to pay this absurd bill?”

Gramps, ever the mediator, attempted to step in. “Don’t worry, Jocelyn. I’m capable of handling it.”

But I was unable to let it go. “No, Grandfather. That shouldn’t be necessary. I glared at Ariel as I grabbed the bill out of her fingers. “You believe he should pay for the day you destroyed for him? Not at all.”



Sensing Ariel’s anxiety, Ariel’s companions had fallen silent. Being accosted in this manner felt unfamiliar to Ariel, who appeared surprised. My tone grew softer as I turned to face Gramps. “Gramps, let me handle this. We’ve all had enough from you.”

Still fuming with rage, I stood at Gramps’s side as we left the main dining room. My nerves were being jangled by Ariel’s pals’ boisterous, frantic energy. I went to the bar where the waitress was standing since I knew I had to handle this carefully.



“Pardon me,” I murmured, attempting to maintain my composure. “Would you kindly split the bill so that my grandfather and I can make separate payments?”

With weary eyes, the young waitress nodded empathetically. “Of course, I’ll take care of that for you.”

I saw the bartender as she was dividing the bill. I took a $20 dollar out of my purse and reached inside. “Hey, may I please have the aux cord? Turn up some music for Gramps, please.”



The money was taken by the kind and robust bartender, who gave me the chord. “Yes, of course. You may now proceed.”


I connected in my phone and went through my texts using the aux wire. I discovered the audio clips Ariel had been sending me for the previous few months, whereby she expressed her frustrations with her obnoxious roommate and her intolerable boyfriend. I inhaled deeply before pressing the play button, my heart racing.


The sound of the recording reverberated throughout the almost deserted eatery, prompting Ariel’s friends to clam up when they understood what was going on.




Ariel’s voice dominated the room, oozing with rage. “I’m so over my roommate! Her boyfriend is the worse, and she continually invades my personal space. She’s just as awful as he is, what a slob he is!”

I cast a quick glance at Ariel, who appeared pale and had shock-filled eyes. She was seated with her pals, the same folks she had been criticizing. She had an obvious look of fear on her face. The tense silence that around her increased the tension as the university students exchanged uncomfortable stares.



I asked, “Ariel, do you have anything to say for yourself?” aloud enough for everyone to hear.

Ariel stumbled and trembled in speech. “What are you doing, Jocelyn? Switch it off!”

However, I didn’t. The sound file kept playing, with each message getting more dire than the last. “And that get-together she hosted last week? Complete catastrophe. She is incapable of organizing anything.”

After a moment of silent observation, Gramps spoke out. “Ariel, you must accept accountability for your deeds. We don’t handle friends or family like this.”



Ariel turned to face Gramps, tears welling up in her eyes. “I apologize, Grandpa. I simply wanted to show you some love.”


My tone grew softer as I moved in closer to her. “Ariel, remember that being kind to others entails considering their needs and desires in addition to your own. You are aware that Gramps dislikes sushi as well.”

Ariel hung her head, realizing how much her actions had cost her. “I didn’t give it much thought. I merely sought enjoyment for all.”

I let out a sigh, mixed with sympathy and annoyance. “Ariel, you must mature. We are no longer children. There are repercussions for our acts, particularly when they impact the people we care about.”

Ariel’s pals started gathering their belongings, obviously feeling uneasy in this circumstance. Among them, a tall man with a disheveled beard raised his voice. “Hey, Ariel, perhaps we ought to go. It’s not really our scene, this.


Ariel wiped her eyes and nodded. Yes, you are correct. I appreciate you all being here. I apologize for the whole thing.


I turned to Gramps just as her friends were starting to leave the restaurant. “Gramps, let’s get you home. For one night, this is thrill enough.”

With a tired but relieved face, Gramps nodded. “I’m grateful, Jocelyn. I’m grateful for what you accomplished.”

After helping Gramps stand up, I put my arm around him and led him to the door. Ariel trailed behind, her gait uncertain. Ariel spoke again as we went outside into the refreshing night air.

“Jocelyn, I apologize sincerely. I am aware of my error.”

I saw the sincere regret in her eyes as I stared at her. “I am aware that you are. Please just try to consider everything carefully the next time. We all have a stake in this.

With a sincere gaze, Ariel nodded. “Yes, I will. I swear.”

The tension started to release as we headed toward the car. Although Gramps’ birthday wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined, at least Ariel had gained valuable life experience. And perhaps—just possibly—our family would be stronger as a result.


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