A 5-Year-Old Was Sent an Invoice for Missing a Friend's Birthday Party

by John Boone 1:51 PM PST, January 19, 2015
Photo: The Plymouth Herald

Looks like this 5-year-old’s presence really is a present and when it doesn’t come with a receipt, someone’s going to get billed for it. Happy frickin’ birthday to everyone!

After Alex Nash missed a classmate’s birthday at the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre for a last minute outing with his grandparents, his parents — Derek Nash and Tanya Walsh — found an envelope with an invoice for £15.95 (about $25) in Alex’s backpack.

The mother of the birthday boy and party host, Julie Lawrence, had one of Alex’s teachers put it in there — the school has since apologized for getting involved — and, when Alex’s parents thought it was a joke, Julie clarified that she planned to take them to small claims court if they didn’t pay their bill in full.

The invoice, which requests payment for one (1) “Childs Party No Show Fee,” looks official and comes complete with banking information. And the story comes complete with a ridiculous picture of Alex looking sad while holding the invoice:

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Photo: The Plymouth Herald

Derek went to the address listed on the invoice and, “When [Julie] answered the door I told her I had found the invoice in my son’s school bag and that I wasn’t happy about it,” Derek told The Plymouth Herald. “I told her I would not be paying her...I would have sympathized with her about the cost of Alex not showing up, but I just can’t believe the way she has gone around it.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like it. It’s a terrible way of handling it,” Tanya said. “It’s very condescending.” Derek added that Julie “didn’t treat me like a human being.”

And then the moms took it to Facebook, as moms these days are wont to do.

Tanya posted on Julie’s wall first, saying: "I did not realise [sic] that you had to pay for each child, as you never mentioned anything about money when we spoke...If I had known that I would have to pay if Alex did not go, then I would have paid you the money, no problem. I do not like fighting with people, and would prefer to settle this amicably."

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Photo: BBC

Julie promptly responded, "I didn't mention the money when we spoke because it was a child's party, it doesn't matter if you have to pay per person or for a group if people agree to going...This is not the first time Alex has not turned up to a party that he has been invited to, either. The amicable way round this I believe would be to pay me the money and let a lesson be learnt, I hope this is agreeable?"

As you can probably guess, Tanya did not find it agreeable: "Alex was very excited to go to the party. I didn't know until the day about his nan and grandad, and he decided he would rather spend the day with them...And exactly what lesson would I be learning. I am not a child, so please do not speak to me like I am one. So, to answer your question, unfortunately no. This is not agreeable."

As for the small claims court of it all, in another Facebook message, Tanya said that it would cost Julie £60 just to start the case, which is £40-plus more than the party actually cost. But at this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if everybody involved’s stubbornness took this case all the way to Parliament.

It’s all funny and stupid and embarrassing for both sets of parents — who bills a child for $25? And why would you air this out to the news? — until you get to the part where Alex says that his friend won’t play with him at school anymore because of the whole incident. Then it’s just sad and all adults in this scenario should grow up already.

For something cuter, watch Alicia Keys’ 4-year-old play piano like a pro: