In a memorable “Seinfeld” episode, George secretly adds lobster meat to eggs he cooks for a group breakfast at a vacation cottage gathering. His goal: to get his revenge on a female Jewish guest who embarrassed him, and whose faith forbids her from eating shellfish. Luckily for George, she wasn’t allergic to shellfish.
Now we are learning about a real life episode in which a woman’s new roommate, a vegan, decided to do “something nice” and switched the woman’s typical breakfast food with vegan alternatives. The roomie, Erin, presented pancakes, bacon strips, and hash browns for her new friend, who unbeknownst to her had severe food allergies. The woman asked Erin what was in the food, and was told “it was regular bacon. Not that it was fake bacon or that it had soy.”
After the woman took a few bites, Erin revealed the switch, smiling. “At this point, she does a ‘Ta-da,’ and smugly told us ‘I bet it tastes exactly like meat,'” Erin’s victim wrote. She is highly allergic to soy, and began going into anaphylactic shock. An ambulance had to rush her to the hospital, where she remained for two days.
The woman filed a complaint with the police. Food tampering is a felony. Erin had to plead guilty, receiving community service instead of jail time. The woman with the allergy also sued Erin for damages and won that case as well after Erin refused to pay the hospital bill.
Apparently the woman Erin poisoned is feeling pangs of remorse, writing on Reddit,
“I know she is the asshole for lying about food. I wanna know whether I am the asshole for everything I did after. Because bottom line is, I basically screwed a person’s life because they put wrong ingredients on breakfast that they made only ‘to do something nice.'”
I’m not making this an ethics quiz because the answer to that question is clear. Tampering with anyone’s food and lying about the ingredients is dangerous and a betrayal of trust. Erin deserved everything that happened to her, and arguably more.
The fact that she was only trying to do “something nice” is relevant only to how serious a crime she committed. Erin’s an idiot, and presumptuous to boot. Lying to someone about what they are eating isn’t “nice” by definition. (See: “Titus Andronicus.”)
There’s a rationalization relevant here; in fact, there are a lot of them on the list that cover this stupid, irresponsible roommate’s “nice” deception or her belief that she shouldn’t be held accountable for its unintended consequences.
- 10. The Unethical Tree in the Forest, or “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”
- 13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”1
- 3A The Road To Hell, or “I meant well” (“I didn’t mean any harm!”)
- 19. The Perfection Diversion:“Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”
- 19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”
- 29. The Altruistic Switcheroo: “It’s for his own good”
- 38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
- 55. The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!”
- 58. The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!”
- 61. The Paranoid’s Blindness, or “It’s not me, it’s you.”
- 63. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is”
- 64. Irrelevant Civility or “But I was nice about it!”
- 64A. Bluto’s Mistake or “I said I was sorry!”
She was so certain that her lifestyle as a vegan was the right lifestyle for everyone that she felt entitled to impose it on someone else.
What’s the best word to describe someone like that?