The father of a 5-year-old boy who was invoiced for missing a school friend’s birthday party refused to pay the mother who is trying to charge him.
Derek Nash and his partner, Tanya Walsh, were shocked when they found an envelope in their son Alex’s bag containing an invoice for £15.95, approximately $24. The British couple was being charged for their son missing the birthday party of Charlie, his classmate.
After initially confirming that Alex would attend the party before Christmas break, Nash says he realized he’d made plans for his children to spend the day with their grandparents. He asked Alex what he’d rather do, and Alex chose to visit family and not attend the birthday party.
When Alex went back to school after the break, a teacher gave him the invoice after Julie Lawrence, Charlie’s mother, passed it on. Nash was furious when he discovered the bill, and confronted Lawrence about it. Lawrence reportedly threatened a lawsuit if the couple did not reimburse her for Alex missing the party.
“I can understand that she's upset about losing money. The money isn't the issue, it's the way she went about trying to get the money from me,” Nash said. Walsh and Lawrence were involved in a heated exchange on social media after Walsh confronted her about her actions.
“I was very shocked to see the invoice in Alex's school bag. I did not realize that you had to pay for each child, as you never mentioned anything about money when we spoke. I apologize for not letting you know, but I did not have a phone number or an email for you to let you know the situation (I also didn't know your first name, or I would have looked you up),” Walsh explained. "If I had known that I would have to pay if Alex did not go, then I would have paid you the money, no problem. I do not like fighting with people, and would prefer to settle this amicably."
Lawrence maintains that all parents were informed that she had to pay up front for each guest. “This is not the first time Alex has not turned up to a party that he has been invited to, either,” she said. “The amicable way round this I believe would be to pay me the money and let a lesson be learned. I hope this is agreeable?"
Lawrence has remained publicly silent about the incident, while the story continues to make headlines worldwide. Nash told the BBC in a recent interview that he would not be paying the invoice.
The Ski and Snowboard Center, where the party was held, issued a statement regarding the controversy.
“We would like all our customers to know that this invoice has nothing to do with Plymouth Ski and Snowboard Centre,” the statement read. “No invoices are ever sent out from the centre to private individuals. This is a disagreement between the two parents involved and the fact that the centre has been named on the invoice is fraudulent. When booking a party there is a small deposit to pay on booking, confirmation of numbers and final balance are due 48 hours before the party. On the extremely rare occasion that people don't attend parents are generally offered other activities in compensation."