When The Crying Baby At Brunch Gets Asked To Leave

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


My niece Lola was not at brunch, I just love this photo of her and wanted to use it.

So let me set the scene for you.

Last week on New Years Eve day, my sister and I went to brunch. She was in Chicago with her husband and two kids for a few days and managed to sneak away for a couple of hours on her own so she and I could workout and grab a quick bite to eat.

I say "sneak away" because the night previous she had endured a nine hour car trip with two young kids. You would need to sneak away too.

After our workout we had one hour to eat before she had to get back to her kids to take them to a bouncy house balloon drop thing for a big kids NYE (daytime) celebration. Or something like that, I didn't really get it. I just knew our time was limited.

So we walked into brunch and were seated two tables away from an angrily crying toddler. It was the kind of scream where it sounds like there's something gurgling in the throat, where it makes you wonder if there's actually damage being done to the vocal chords. Like this kid is pissed.

My sister and I shrug it off because like I said, she has two kids. Knox is 5 and Lola is 2.5- a grumpy 2.5 I might add. It's just a stage... In the photo above she's crying because she didn't have any more Play Doh tubs to stack.

Anyway. We ordered our food, had a Bloody Mary, and 25 minutes later the kid is still screaming. He had not settled down for a second.

I couldn't help myself, I had to turn around and access the situation.

From where I sat, I couldn't see the kid because it appeared he was sprawled out across the booth. The woman who seemed to be his mom was next to him. On the outside, her expression looked indifferent. Not making a judgment, just a quick observation. It was as if she was letting him "cry it out."

I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with the cry it out method... when you're in the privacy of your own home. Or at least not in a packed restaurant. Says a person who's never had kids, so I understand that my opinion means nothing.

But by now everyone was starting to look around wondering what is going on? This had been happening since we walked in, so I'm not sure how long it started before we even got there. And this place was packed so it was a little slower than usual- which was to be expected, it was a holiday.

"I just feel bad for the kid, he seems really upset," my sister said.

When her kids start crying at a restaurant they have about ten seconds before she scoops them up and takes them to the bathroom, or outside, or anywhere to get the hell out. But most of the time she doesn't even bring them. "It's just not worth it," she says. "We can take a couple years off from going out to eat, it's not a huge deal."

About 45 minutes in (since we had been there) the manager walked over to the crying table and from what we could hear, politely told the patrons they had two options- they either needed to calm the baby down, or box up their food and leave as soon as they could.

He also said the restaurant would be paying for their meal. I've heard about this happening, but I've never actually witnessed it.

I know it's a touchy topic and people have a lot of feelings about crying babies in public.

After all, we've all been babies before. And you don't have to have a child to know it's hard as hell to be that mom or dad sitting with a crying baby.

But... could this situation have been handled differently? I don't know. Kids terrify me.

So what do you think? Did the manager do the right thing?

33 comments:

  1. I think the manager did the right thing (and this is coming from a mom with a very strong-willed toddler). He gave her two options, didn't rush her out, and most importantly, realized he was inconveniencing her so he paid for the meal. Managers have to be mindful of all the patrons in the restaurant, and this was clearly disturbing others. And I agree with you about not letting kids cry it out in public (at home is a different story!) I think we need to teach our kids to control their emotions when they're out and about and to be patient.

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  3. As a mom of a 7 year old and a 3 year old, I think the manager totally did the right thing. Paying for her meal was a super nice gesture, which I would think help in not making the mom pissed off. In the 7 years I have been a parent, there have been numerous times where we have asked for our order to go after it was ordered because our kid just wouldn't calm down (one of the times when our oldest was like a month old...we were young, stupid and brave to venture to a sit down restaurant with a newborn). It's not fair to the other patrons that my kids being ridic! I'm surprised no one else said anything to this lady before the manager did!

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  4. I'm a mom to a strong willed toddler and we enjoy going out to dinner. However, if he is being a toddler and screaming, I take him outside. The occasional fussing people don't get too mad or irritated about. However, I don't want to ruin someone else's meal because my toddler is toddlering. Not fair to them or me really. Even if I were to look indifferent, I would not be enjoying my meal. At home is a whole other ball game, cry it out kid. Outside of the house, act like a semi decent human or back to our house we go.

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  5. Im shocked the manager showed that much restraint. I have a child. I know how they can be and yes, children cry. They're not fully capable of controlling their emotions yet or articulating what is bothering them.

    However, you have to start young on teaching children acceptable public behavior. They are kids, but they have to learn that there are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and that the world requires us to think about others.

    I think it was well handled. They were given quite a while to quiet down and when it was too much they were asked to leave. I wish more managers would react that way.

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  6. I dont have kids so I probably shouldn't even give my POV on this topic, but in my opinion the manager TOTALLY did the right thing. Most parents I know would remove their kid from the public place to not disturb others, which is the respectful thing to do. Since this parent didn't do that, the manager had a responsibility to the other patrons who don't need to be subjected to that kind of disruption. And offering to pay for their meal? Even better.

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  8. YES! This is coming from a gal with NO kids, but I think it was very rude and inconsiderate of her for not keeping everyone else in mind.

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  9. My little "angel" (haha!) is almost 2 and it can be a nightmare trying to eat out as a family since she loathes sitting still and does not remotely understand the concept of patient waiting when it comes to "fryfries." 5-10 seconds of crying in that type of atmosphere is all hubby and I are willing to tolerate before one of us heads outside with her. It blows my mind that a parent would let that go on for 45 minutes! Not ok. Good for the manager for addressing it, and kudos to him for comping the meal.

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  10. A mama to a strong-willed two year old - YES HE DID THE RIGHT THING!! I would have said no if it had been going on for 10 minutes, however, 45 is a very long time for a screaming toddler for anyone especially other patrons. It sounds like he handled the situation perfectly as not rushing her and paying for the meal. Lord knows her meal was ruined (Or this Mama's would be)!

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  11. I was raised with parents who removed my sister and I from anywhere if we were being fussy and crying a lot. I agree with the manager, and comping the meal was a very kind gesture.
    I do have a friend, though, who wouldn't remove her child. She says it's because he needs to feel "real emotions," which is a load of BS, if you ask me. I don't have children, though, so I can't have an opinion. Parenting is such a touchy subject.

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  12. I wanna know what happened next!!! What did the mother do?? The suspense is killing meeeeeeaahhhh

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  13. Yes, he did the right thing IMO! I have 2 kids and I make it a point to never be inconsiderate like that in public. If my kids act up they have a not so pleasant trip to the bathroom or outside. On a side note, that kid was probably crying out for attention. If the mom ignores him in public imagine how it is at home! Sad that some parents just don't get it.

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  14. Uh, I don't have kids. But for real this manager rocks in my head. I have seen some people be literally escorted out after paying for their bill.

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  15. I am a Mama to a 13 month old and at some point it has to be handled. I think he handled it well. He gave options and offered to pay. He didn't just say "hey, get the kid out." What happened??? Did she calm him? or leave?

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  16. I agree with the way the manager handled it - how nice to comp her meal!
    Though sometimes I hear the mom first. The kid will start to fuss quietly and the mom starts shouting at the kid to sit and be quiet and I'm all like "Lady, I didn't even know there was a kid over there until I heard your shouting." I guess I'm the kind of person who tries to distract my friends' kids if they're getting fussy.
    BUT I don't have kids. My biological clock has not started ticking even though I'll be 31 in February...meh.

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  17. I think that the manager did the right thing. It seems like he tried to make the best out of the situation for everyone. I don't have kids either, but I'm assuming that I would have taken my child outside of the restaurant if they were that fussy.

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  18. When I worked at a local Applebees, this same thing happened, except another table asked the family to leave because of their screaming child. Also an opinion coming from someone with no kids, I wouldn't know how to handle this situation. My manager GOT IT from the family of the screaming child. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the happiness of one to ensure the happiness of all. All I know, if and when I have kids, I will do like my parents; get the eff out if I start crying for more than 10 minutes.

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  19. I'm torn. The fact that the mom did nothing pisses me off. I get it kids cry. But, the fact that she let him scream bloody murder for a solid half hour is annoying and rude.

    On the other hand, I get her desire to brunch. I have a 10 month old and it sucks feeling like you can't enjoy life because your kid occasionally cries at inopportune times. But, you're not teaching your child how to behave by letting them scream in public.

    When my kid has a tantrum in public, I leave immediately. Especially if it's something fun for him. I left in the middle of swim lessons once because he screamed bloody murder when he had to give back his toy.

    I would probably have been giving her hard core dirty looks or would have asked her if her kid was okay. And, I think I would have been happy to see the manager ask them to leave!

    I'm dying to know where you were at when this happened!!

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  20. Ugh, I really can't stand people who have no regard for others. It's just rude and ridiculous. This coming from a mom of a (very young) toddler- when your kid starts screaming in public, you take them out of the situation. Period. Go outside. Let them cool off. Or just leave, and have whoever you're with pay the bill. That's it. Simple. Can you tell this really bugs me?! ;)

    xo

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  21. From how this whole thing played out, I believe the restaurant had the right to intervene the way they did. I think it was a generous offer to pay for their meal and they still gave them the option to stay if they were able to calm down their child. It was ongoing and at some point the world cannot revolve around the lone child and family (or any human being of any age causing an ongoing disruption)causing disruption to other people's dining out experience.

    I too don't have my own kids but have been out with plenty of friends and family members who do. They also give their kids a few minutes before making the move to elsewhere. I don't expect someone to completely up and go right away; try to help the situation and situate what is causing any issue. I think this was handled fair given the ongoing nature.

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  22. It sure does sound like the mother has no respect for others... the manager was very nice, to give her their meal for free, after it went on for a LONG time!! It happens so often in public, that parents seem to 'show off' their children.. gone are the days of "be seen and not heard".. Nobody thinks your kid is cute when they are having a tantrum.. and allowing it to continue is just letting them get away with it. They will grow up with no respect for others and an entitlement attitude. #justwanttoeatinpeace #childfreezone

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  23. I think the manager did the right thing, asking politely and paying for their meal. I think there comes a point where the parent needs to atleast try to calm the child down and if that means taking them outside or in the rest room - so be it.

    I have friends and family members with little ones and the second they start crying or acting out, they are taken outside until they can calm down. I think it's just a respect thing for the others around you. Yes, babies can't control their emotions but as the adult who can, they need to do the best they can to give their screaming baby comfort. Just my opinion.

    -Ashlee Michelle
    www.makeupandmodifieds.com

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  24. Considering how long the child was crying for the manager did the right thing, I get that children cry and throw tantrums in public but when it goes on and on the parent should either try and console the child or leave

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  25. I couldn't help myself...as soon as I read this post, this was the only thing that came to mind..
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/513832638707140438/

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  26. as a mom of two toddlers, the mom was in the wrong. no way should a kid scream in a restaurant for even close to that long. sucks to be the manager, i would NOT want to have to interfere with that mess!

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  27. I don't have a kid yet (even though she's days away from making her appearance), but if my kid was screaming bloody murder, I'd be taking him/her outside for a little talking to. Having kids is fine and letting kids be kids is fine too, but at some point you have to draw the line on how it's affecting other people. That manager is a baller for stepping in!

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  28. I have a two year old and this is tough. I think the only way it would have upset me if the manager asked me to leave is if I was ACTIVELY TRYING to get my son to stop. But with this mother just sitting there I think the mgr should have intervened much sooner. Its rare for some parents to get out without their kids-and when they do they shouldn't be subjected to someone else's kids having tantrums. Part of having kids is ordering as soon as you get to the restaurant-eating very, very fast and praying for the best when you have the toddler with you. You have to know that going in.

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  29. ....I wonder if the child has autism or another similar disorder? I don't have kids, but I can't imagine the uncomfortable situations a parent of a child with autism goes through on a daily basis... or, it could have been just an inconsiderate parent. We'll never know!

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  30. Wow, the manager was super nice about it! Even paying for their meal? I don't have kids so my opinion is moot, but letting a kid cry for 45 min in a public place is so excessive.

    My parents told me that when I was a child, I didn't cry out as much. I have very clear memories of me crying in public, but I guess those memories stood out to me because they were so seldom. I wonder if the reason I didn't cry as much and the reason that the kid cried so much was because we were raised a certain way or programmed a certain way at birth. Nature vs. nurture!

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  31. I think waiting even FIFTEEN minutes to come over would be more than stretching everyone's patience there. What nerve to just sit there and let your kid disturb everyone! So many bad parents out there today. No way they should have been given a free meal as a reward for disturbing the peace.

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  32. I've never actually seen a manager ask someone to leave because of a crying kid - let alone say they'll pay for their meal! That's crazy!

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  33. I'm going to be that person. Unless there is a giant mouse character there, young children do not belong in restaurants. That the manager or the other customers let that go on for so long is frankly ridiculous. That the mother was gifted a free meal is outrageous. The meal of every other person in that restaurant was ruined. Either get a babysitter or stay home.

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