Do I have to pick my niece up at the airport?

My niece sent me a text message asking if I can pick her up from the airport tomorrow night. I’d like to, but I’d have to leave during rush hour, drive another hour in the completely opposite direction of my house to drop her off, and then make an almost two-hour trip back to my house. I won’t get home until late and I really don’t want to do it. Do I have to, though, since I’m her aunt? She is 21, so I’m sure she can find another way home, but I still feel guilty about not wanting to go.

I have about 75 nieces of varying ages and I love them all dearly. I’ve done a lot of horrible things for them in the name of love: I have sat through endless school plays that made me long for a meteor to hit the school to put us all out of our misery; I have driven to airports on different continents to pick them up; I have endured long, excruciating descriptions of the complex world of dating one of the Jonas Brothers; and I have spent hours upon hours letting them torture me (take note, all of you who work at Guantanamo Bay) by applying massive amounts of sparkly eye shadow and teeny little barrettes to my face and hair.

I’ve endured all this because I love them, find them to be excellent human beings and generally enjoy their company. HOWEVER: your niece is 21. She’s a big girl. She can take a taxi or get a friend who lives at least in the same ZIP code to pick her up. There’s no reason for you to spend three hours in the car at rush hour unless you’d enjoy your time in the car. Which it sounds like you won’t. Since my net worth for the entire year I was 21 was about 76 cents, give or take a few cents, I understand why she might want a ride. In this case, if you can afford it, it would be nice to call and order a car service for her and pay for it. Then meet her for lunch on another day and spend three hours enjoying her company instead of secretly cursing her for asking for a favor you couldn’t say no to.

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