Is it wrong for a vegan to give a crying child non-vegan ice cream?

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Act I: Picture the scene. A child is crying outside your house. Friends have money to buy ice-cream – but the child does not. What to do? One obviously kind thing would be step in, stump up the cash and ease the child’s tears with an ice-cream. And then, what with it being the 21st century, you might relay the tale on social media – as @itsallzara claimed on Twitter.

Act II: Enter our “hero”. One man can’t help noticing that our good samaritan has the word “vegan” in her bio, but he’s pretty sure the ice-cream product she gave to that child was not vegan. Time to message her and check. And when she doesn’t give an answer to his satisfaction, tell her that she has made “a severe mistake”, and, what with it being the 21st century, post all the messages between them on social media.

Act III: The internet goes to work. @7AnthonyDagher7 now has more than 9,000 replies to his tweet exposing those messages, the vast majority asking why on earth he is criticising someone for doing something nice like giving a crying child ice-cream.

And, because it is the 21st century, he sets about the Sisyphean task of replying to them. So far, almost a quarter of the 3,000 or so tweets he has sent in the six years he his account has existed are replies about vegan ice-cream. As the old joke goes: “How can you tell somebody is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.”

Act IV: Non-vegans start thinking, what can possibly be so bad about ice-cream? Nothing dies to produce milk, does it? Vegans will profoundly disagree. The dairy industry relies on keeping cows pregnant and having calves to produce milk. The calves are taken from their mothers shortly after birth, causing distress. Male calves, of no use to a dairy operation, face a future as veal, or no future at all.

Still, after being in the eye of the social media storm for a day, @itsallzara put it succinctly: “All this because I bought a sobbing child an ice-cream, I guess next time I’ll leave the poor kid crying outside my house because Anthony didn’t like it.”

Act V: You begin to wonder whether the inventor of the phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” had social media in mind.