First of all: to all who are jumping on the flame bandwagon, please read the thread a little more closely. You seem to have missed my "I stand corrected".
Second: I did not think they OWED us anything. Had they offered to pay for our tickets, we would have said no. Had they offered to feed us anything more than a very cheap dinner, we would have said no or offered to split the cost. All I wanted was the gesture. Because they were asking us to do something that would be a financial imposition IF WE SAID YES. Yes, I totally GET that we could have said no.
Re the backstory: Yes, there have been other incidents, although I have thankfully been only an observer for most. This couple uses people. Whenever they have a major decision to make, they invariably pick the option that clearly screams "train wreck" to everyone around them - and then they're shocked when it does indeed turn into a train wreck. And have no shame whatsoever about letting others bail them out. Over and over and over, even though they're in their mid-30s - early 40s. Every time I hear their names, it's yet another story about their latest foul-up. And it's usually a get-rich-quick scheme.