My friends and I, having finished rather lengthy and troublesome group work, decided to reward ourselves by going out to dinner at a decent restaurant nearby. It was about 9.30pm when we get to the restaurant. Once we walk through the door, we heard kids screaming. I was feeling a little apprehensive, but my boyfriend gave me a hug and asked that our party, since we were in college and liable to curse and discuss inappropriate topics, be seated far from children. The hostess said no problem and all six of us were led to our table.
As we walked to our table, I feel my headache turn into a migraine. True to her word, we were seated half a restaurant away from those screaming kids. We were the last table in the half of the restaurant that were filled with diners. The table with the screaming kids was in the very back of the restaurant; about 14 adults were with them in a separate table. Every table in that half of the restaurant was empty save for them, and it was quite a big restaurant, able to seat close to 200. It was like the staff didn’t want to risk sitting anyone near them. I soon understood why.
I guess the hostess figured that as we were in college we probably wouldn’t mind the noise as much, but it was incredibly stressful. The adults did nothing while the kids, there were about five of them, were screeching at the top of their lungs and jumping up and down like monkeys. Sensing how stressed out I was a friend, L, decided to shout every time one of the kids started wailing. It helped for a while as the kids tried to figure out what was going on, and we could see puzzlement and embarrassment from the adults. Yet they sat there and still did nothing. Another friend, D, managed to get L to stop, and started passing around a flask of liquor he managed to sneak in. We all took turns. I’m pretty sure the wait staff knew what we were doing. Our drinks were served and refilled very quickly and we were given free apps.
Eventually the screaming and the yelling became louder and louder and I was forced to ask our waiter if he could do anything about it. He was incredibly gracious and sympathetic and said he would get his manager to say something. In five minutes we see the manager walk angrily towards them. First he asked that the adults keep their kids in line. When the parents hemmed and hawed about “kids will be kids,” he then told them firmly that he had gotten complaints from other diners and if the kids did not behave they would have to leave. Cue the dirty looks that table gave us. That’s when one of the adults got up to try and shush the kids, pointing out that the “bad manager” is going to throw them (the kids) out if they keep “playing.” That’s right, she described their incessant noise assault at 200,000 decibels as “playing.” Other diners were throwing dirty looks at that table the entire time.
The kids behaved for about 10 seconds. As soon as the “bad manager” left they started up again, louder than before if that was even possible. A server quickly got the manager again. Instead of confronting that table again, he just decided to expedite those zoo animal’s dinner order to get them out as quickly as possible. We were the only table to hear the discussion and said we’d wait on our order if it would get that family out of here quicker. That got us another round of free apps and drinks.
Within 15 minutes their food was out. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the kids started eating. Finally! Then suddenly we saw a fry sailing in the air. And another, and another, accompanied by shouts and wails from those zoo animals. Those monkeys were having a food fight! In the restaurant! One by one the rest of the diners fall silent and stared as the zoo animals continued food fighting. And what did the adults do? They tried to act like nothing was wrong. The servers started bringing out takeout containers and bags. One of them got the manager. The manager just presented the bill without a word and the servers started boxing all the food. By now other diners were openly and loudly commenting on “disgraceful parenting.”
The entire party paid the bill without a word and trooped out with their screeching monkeys in tow while the entire restaurant watched them walk the walk of shame punctuated with harsh comments about the lack of parenting. The minute the door closed behind them the entire restaurant applauded the manager. We got a good discount on our bill that night.