This story was told to me yesterday by a friend of mine ("Irene"), and it left me absolutely cringing and horrified. It's one of those Someone Being Outrageously Rude But What Can Be Done situations, so I wonder whether there is anything that could have been done?
"Gladys" is an elderly lady who lives in my village. She is quite frail, with multiple medical issues and is starting to get a bit vague but generally still has her marbles. She lives alone, and gets a home help, but also has a number of family members, friends and neighbours (including who visit regularly and help with things like her shopping, bills, walking her dog, etc. So for her 90th birthday, Gladys decides to take all these people she relies on to lunch at the local nice restaurant.
Gladys has just recently had a district nurse visit her at home a few times to deal with a medical issue, arranged by her doctor. A few days before the lunch, one of her friends drops by and just asks what time it has been arranged for. The nurse pipes in, "Oh that sound nice, I'd like to go." Perhaps the event shouldn't have been mentioned in front of the nurse at all? But her indicating she's like to go was taken as just a pleasantry in the context -- no one responded, "Oh yes, please come" or anything.
At any rate, Irene drove Gladys and several of the other guests to the restaurant in her car, while a few others arrived separately. I think there were 8 people in total at the reserved table. And then the nurse arrives! Of course, since she hadn't been invited, there was no place for her -- which a polite person might have taken as their cue to say, "Oh, I was just passing by and thought I'd pop in to wish you happy birthday Gladys!" She didn't say that, but waited as the group graciously asked for another place to be added to the table.
All of Gladys's friends were quite considerate of the fact that they were being treated to lunch, and order moderately priced items from the menu. The nurse had the most expensive steak, and also order extras on the side, and a large glass of wine. Afterwards, she wanted to order dessert, but Irene told her that there was a birthday cake that had already been arranged -- so the nurse didn't order a separate dessert, but was apparently quite sulky about it.
Apparently everyone at the lunch, especially Gladys, was entirely polite to the nurse the whole time, and no one called her out on any of her behaviour. I guess my question is, at what point or how could it have been made clear to her that she wasn't invited? Should they have? If an uninvited guest is behaving badly and taking advantage, can anyone do anything? (I might add that the nurse didn't even bring a card or a gift!) Her presence didn't spoil the lunch, but Irene told me it did make all the invited guests uncomfortable to some degree.