Neighbor Ignoring Next Door Knocking on Front Door in an 'Emergency' Backed

A fight between neighbors has sparked a debate online after a new mom revealed that she purposely ignored repeated bangs on her front door, not knowing it was her neighbor asking her to call an ambulance for her injured son.

In a post shared on Mumsnet earlier in February, under the username Scrumbler, the woman explained that because of all the "cold callers" and "religious people" that go around the area, she never answers her front door, and anyone she may be expecting uses her side door instead.

She wrote: "Yesterday someone banged on the door a few times and I ignored it. Today I see my neighbor and his son has a bandage on and I asked what happened, he'd had an accident yesterday in the street.

"My neighbor said his wife knocked on my door at the time for me to call an ambulance because she's panicked and left her phone in her house so I said I'd heard the knocking but didn't know what it was."

woman backed for refusing to answer door
File photos of a woman knocking on a door and an injured child. The internet has backed a woman who refused to answer the door to her neighbor not knowing it was an emergency. Getty Images

Later in a comment, she explained that while she usually sneaks to see who it is when she's by the door, by the time she left her baby in the Moses basket to be able to go check, the banging had stopped, and she forgot it had even happened. But this little oversight might have cost her a good relationship with her neighbors.

The majority of Americans don't even know all of their neighbors. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of people know only some of their neighbors, and only 26 percent know most of them.

Describing the argument with her neighbor, she said he looked at her "completely gone out" and then asked her why she'd ignored her, and after she explained she didn't know it was an emergency, he told her she was selfish, and slammed his door on her as he went in.

She added: "I carried on taking my shopping out of the car and then his wife comes out asking if I'd ignored her! I told her I don't answer that door and didn't know it was an emergency but she just went mad shouting how horrible that was and asked what kind of person doesn't answer [their] door.

"To clarify, their child seems fine from what the dad told me before he found out I'd ignored the door and turned out to be a very minor injury. I feel awful it happened but I didn't ignore them on purpose knowing they were needing an ambulance so I think they've been a bit over the top."

Florence Ann Romano, personal growth strategist, and author of Build Your Village: A Guide to Finding Joy and Community in Every Stage of Life, told Newsweek that it sounds like this was a series of unfortunate events.

Sincere Apology Needed

She said: "If it is personally customary for the neighbor to not answer her door, it makes logical sense that she ignored the knock. I assume she would have answered had she heard the father yelling for her attention perhaps, or if the knock seemed urgent.

"Clearly it was a highly emotional moment for the father of the young boy, and when reliving the moment with the neighbor, he got worked up once again. A sincere apology from the neighbor is all that should be necessary."

She also suggested a handwritten note, expressing her regret for having not handled the situation differently, or even dropping off a care package for the young boy while he recovers.

"These gestures of solidarity and consideration go a long way, especially when there are hurt feelings involved."

Most of the 3484 voters in the [Am I Being Unreasonable] poll agreed the poster wasn't being unreasonable, with a 64 percent majority, although some thought her behavior was "weird."

One user, BellatrixLestrangesHeatedCurlers, commented: "I think not answering the door is a bit weird - I get why you do it, though." And SnarkyBag said: "I have no time or understanding for people who have a generic 'I don't answer my door if it's not pre-planned or it's the wrong door' just bloody answer it!"

BrassMarbles said: "They are being unreasonable to call an ambulance for a minor injury. Sound like drama llamas and he was downright rude." And GasPanic added: "So she left her phone in the house in an emergency and that somehow becomes your fault/problem? Ultimately your door, your choice as to whether you answer it or not."

Another user, RegainingTheWill2023 said: "I think it's really odd not to open your door in the daytime. Late at night, I can understand. To not even look to see who it was makes it even odder. Your neighbor's actions were a bit strange too but she was in a panic."

And SoupDragon said: "The other week I had someone 'unexpectedly' knock on my door. It was the gas emergency people investigating a leak next door and we had to evacuate the house [for] 4 hours. It's not the first time either! I don't understand why people 'never' answer the front door. Seems totally bonkers to me."

Newsweek wasn't able to verify the details of the case.

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