My longtime boyfriend's parents always like to make a big deal for their (grown) kids' birthdays, but there's a bit of a middle-child syndrome going on. They always seem to make a bigger deal for his older brother and younger sister's b-days than they do for my boyfriend. As a case in point, they've never done anything REMOTELY like this to either of the other two siblings.
A few days ahead of time, his mom invited us over for (informal) dinner for his birthday. It was a work-night and I get off at 6, so when she invited us for a suggested 6:30 start time, I asked if we could make it 7 due to my commute, to make sure we could get there on time. (I work in a notoriously high-traffic area.) She said this was fine. Of course, darn the luck, we got stuck in even worse traffic because of a rush-hour accident, so we called at 6:30 and, apologizing profusely, said we'd probably be 15 minutes late. Again, his mom was friendly as ever and said to just get there when we could.
We arrived at 7:14 PM, letting ourselves in with our key because no one answered the doorbell. The table had been cleared and both the younger sister (still living at home) and the father were sitting and watching television. My boyfriend's mother, standing at the sink washing dishes, didn't acknowledge us until we came right up and greeted her. Instead of a happy-birthday or even a hello, we got a sarcastic tirade to the effect that our food had gotten cold and our plates had been scraped into the dogs' dishes so it wouldn't "go to waste" (they have a microwave), but that we were welcome to get some leftovers, which had already been sealed into plastic tubs and packed into the fridge. She threw open the refrigerator door and started slamming said tubs onto the counter. Then she turned her back on us and continued washing the dinner dishes in a loud, passive-aggressive manner, muttering, "You could've CALLED. That's the polite thing to do, to CALL." Asharah's comment: THEY DID! Gradually we gathered that despite our two different conversations with her, dinner had indeed started at 6:30 and we had missed it. We also gathered that his mother had started drinking substantially earlier than usual that evening.
Far from coming to my boyfriend's defense against this harridan, his father and sister, who also hadn't greeted us, quietly went upstairs without a word and closed themselves in their respective rooms. I took my boyfriend's arm, led him gently out of his family home, and took him to his favorite restaurant. We've tried to limit our exposure to his family since then, but he's quicker to forgive and forget than I am, so we continue to visit on occasion. Before and since that birthday, I've observed MANY instances when his siblings have been late to dinner with NO phone call or explanation and the mother has delayed the meal for more than an hour with no complaints.