Night-Shift Worker Refused To Babysit Sister's Kids During An Emergency So He Could Sleep — She's Not Speaking To Him & He Wonders If He's Wrong

Refusing to help to get some extra sleep? Some people couldn't believe the guy's audacity.

A distressed man and woman and a man sleeping YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV, fast-stock / Shutterstock

Working swing and night shifts can be incredibly taxing given the way it messes with your sleep schedule and circadian rhythms.

But one man on Reddit took his need for sleep to the furthest extreme, and as he shared in a post, it's caused a major rift in his family.

A man's sister has stopped speaking to him after he refused to babysit her kids during an emergency.

The 37-year-old man and his wife have no children of their own and live in a small home with only a small amount of extra space dedicated to their gaming hobbies and home office needs. His sister has two children, an eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, whom the man adores.


"Both are great kids," he writes, "[we] love them and would do anything for them." That has always included babysitting them, until recently.

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The man's sister asked him to babysit her kids after her husband's sister was in a near-fatal car crash.

Just before Easter, the man's brother-in-law's sister and two of her friends were in a harrowing car accident that required them to be air-lifted to the hospital. Obviously, the man's sister and her husband had to immediately go to the hospital. "They weren’t sure if she was going to make it," he writes, "so family members were being called in to say goodbye and support the rest of the family."


His sister "texted me around 10:40ish that night, asking if I was awake," and after explaining the horrifying details, "she then asked if I would babysit the kids over Easter weekend while they traveled across [the] state to be with [brother-in-law's] family." He shocked and angered her when he refused to do so, even given the circumstances.



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The man refused to babysit because he was transitioning to the night shift and wanted to sleep in.

As he went on to explain in his post, the man works in a steel manufacturing plant and would be beginning a "rotary shift" the following Monday, which means he'd be working overnight. "I told her that I was going to sleep during the day on Saturday and Sunday to get accustomed to being on third shift," he writes.


When his sister asked if his wife could watch the kids instead, he again refused, "since she’s going to be doing Easter stuff with her side of the family." When his desperate sister then asked why he couldn't just sleep on Sunday, or why his wife couldn't simply take the kids to her family's Easter gathering, the man lost his temper.

"I snapped back at her that I [have...] three reasons why," he writes. "That one, I wanted the weekend to adjust my shift in sleeping schedules and couldn’t do that in one day. Two, my wife wanted to spend Easter with her side of the family. And finally, that no is a complete sentence and that’s final."

As you can imagine, his sister was furious. She called him an "a--hole for not taking their tragedy to heart [and...] helping them in their time of need." She also felt "it wouldn’t have killed me or my wife to miss a day of sleep or take the kids with her." Her brother-in-law said he "prays we don’t have an emergency and need him cause he’ll say 'no' and he’ll want 'to sleep in.'" He and his sister are now no longer speaking.

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Many people on social media were shocked by the man's refusal, and few people took his side. 

Several called out how the man had said he'd "do anything" for his niece and nephew, but apparently, that promise had limitations. "[He] would do anything for his nephew but not [lose] 1 day [of] sleep," one person wrote. "Hope that sleep was worth never seeing them again," another added, going on to call what the man did "f--king cold and evil."

But not everyone agreed. Given the dangerous nature of a heavy industrial job like steel manufacturing, a few felt that the man made the right choice. "Transitioning a sleep schedule for such a dangerous job is of utmost importance," one person wrote. "Two days isn't even honestly enough." They added that they didn't understand why the man's sister and brother-in-law could just take the kids with them to the hospital. 

There is some truth to this. A 2000 study at the University of New South Wales in Australia found that sleep deprivation can have similar — and in some cases even worse — cognitive impacts akin to drunkenness. In 2006, the US Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research found that underslept workers are a staggering 70% more likely to have a workplace accident — a figure the Committee noted was a factor in notorious disasters like the Chornobyl nuclear reactor explosion in 1986. 


Still, even given the stakes of dangerous work in steel manufacturing, many still couldn't believe the man refused to babysit and help his sister. "I understand he's gotta sleep," one commenter wrote, "but I'm sure the wife could've watched the kids and taken her with them on Sunday!" Or as another woman put it, "[it's a] family emergency, seriously this isn’t the time to set boundaries."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers family, social media and human interest topics.