my mum and I were having a conversation this afternoon where this cropped up and she told me about it.
a couple of years ago, mum had a houseguest "Andrew", (her *very* close friends asked her to take in a guest from the old country for about 3 months). I remember because I was living at home for part of this period. well, treated his like a proper guest, made breakfast, lunch, dinner. When she had time off work, she took him sightseeing a couple of times. he didn't pay any board, but she welcomed the company. It did get a bit old when he wouldn't lift a finger for himself, not even to heat his lunch. that was the only downside.
A few months after he'd returned home, my mum, aunt and uncle took ta trip to the old country and they visited his town for a long weekend. This is the part she told me about:
They stayed nearby Andrew's house for the weekend, and they were to go to his house for their meals his wife had cooked and the children (teenagers) did the serving. on the Sunday after lunch or dinner, mum aunt and uncle, thanked the couple for the hospitality and said they had something for the kids. the kids came into the room, mum thanked them for the kindness and said she had money for them. and gave it to their mother, for the kids.
The kids had apparently gone forward for the money; but when my mum handed it to the mother the kids got huffy, retreated back to the wall facing hem, and stood with their hands folded, *maybe put out*. Andrew then got a bit abrupt and said it was time for him to drop them back at their lodgings, and nothing more was said. Apparently he was short with them the rest of the day. Uncle surmised that my mum should have given the money straight to the kids. Mum can't figure out why she did that, but it was done.
for the record, she had given them £10 each, which in the old countrye's currency is a LOT of money for a stranger to gift a teenager. (put it this way, I lived on £120 spending money on a 2-week holiday, living like a tourist, which cash to spare). mum was partly hoping they'd be mollified when they saw the amount later.
anyhoo, next day, Alex came to drop them at the station. Mum brought it up, saying she hadn't meant to cause offence (not really knowing what the offence would be).Alex just snapped 2you should have given it straight to them!" and that was that. no "thanks for the money","sorry for the abrubtness", nothing.
Andrew's wife wants nothing to do with why mother, either. she spoke to my aunt (never met aunt before that weekend) and mentioned that her son needed a invitation for a visa, Aunt said mum might help if she asked but wife said she didn't want to tell mum anything.. but if aunt told her, that was fine)
so what I'm wondering is, was my mum's action such a huge faux pas? in my culture, people seldom go out of their way to thank youngsters or give them presents for helping to host. so surely even if she gave the money to their mother, in their presence, surely the gesture was not lost?
of and the kicker, Andrew fancies another break. he contacted his friends, who've contacted my mum! she's already agreed to him coming at the end of the month, but he has to fend for himself this time...