If you have a child you know how difficult dining out can sometimes be. Hungry toddlers waiting more than a few minutes for food will usually elicit at the very least a whine or two and in some cases a full on tantrum. Many of us have differing opinions as to how parents should handle their crying kids in a restaurant. One vacationing couple in Portland, Maine is now speaking out after a diner owner took it upon herself to scream at their crying toddler during a busy Sunday breakfast.
The New York Daily News reports about the Carsons’ experience at Marcy’s Diner (owned by Darla Neugebauer) when their 20 month old daughter began crying after waiting for her pancakes to be made. The Carsons took to the diner’s Facebook page to voice their shock and concern over the way Neugebauer screamed at their daughter in the restaurant. Neugebauer describes the situation to a local TV station saying, “I slammed my hands on the counter and I said, ‘This needs to stop,’ meaning her screaming. And I pointed at her, and she looked at me and she stopped. And her parents said, ‘Are you screaming at a child?’ Yes I am. And she shut up.”
Since the encounter lots of parents have taken to the restaurant’s Facebook page supporting the Carsons and Neugebauer herself has written many retorts in her own defense (many expletive-filled and even threatening violence that have since been deleted). But even though many seem to be on team Carson, there is still a healthy contingent of people that believe Neugebauer was the hero here helping other diners whose meals were disturbed by a crying child.
Neugebauer herself doesn’t seem to regret the way things went down. She says, “Life’s full of choices and you’ve got to live with all of them. I chose to yell at the kid. It made her shut up, which made me happy, it made my staff happy, it made the other 75 people in my restaurant happy. And they left, they may never come back. Other people may not come in - their loss, really.”
Something very similar to this situation (though admittedly in a more upscale establishment) took place in Australia recently and the owner made the decision to ban all children under the age of 7. Owner of the restaurant Liam Flynn explains, “We're not child haters, we're not anti-children. We just want those who can't control their kids in a public setting to go elsewhere.”
What do you think of this restaurant owner’s response to a crying toddler in her restaurant? Are the parents to blame for not removing their daughter fast enough or did the restaurant owner go too far?
Do you think it's okay for restaurant to ban young children?