Kids On The Hoof

April 16, 2009

in Kid Stories

My co-workers and I had gone to eat a quick lunch at a “family-friendly” steak/chicken restaurant while attending a conference in Arizona. Now, when I say “family-friendly” I mean kids can order kid style meals there and maybe get a balloon, but otherwise it was an sort of an adult atmosphere. This wasn’t one of those kid-romping pizza and game palaces we have seen advertised on TV.

All was fine, until a fidgety child decided it was a good idea to start running around and crawling under everyone else’s tables. I understand how it is to be a fidgety kid – I had a son of my own – but he has a reasonable idea about how to behave in public. This kid was just outrageous, running all over, barely missing a collision with a waiter with a tray full of food and drinks.

The parent of this kid didn’t even bat an eyelash until my co-worker got fed up with the child crawling under OUR table, and “accidentally” lightly kicked him in the rear! Oh, you’ d have thought hell broke loose with the way we were dressed down by the parent! The argument basically went like this:

MOM: “You hit my kid!!”

FRIEND: “It was an accident – he was under my table and I didn’t see him there.”

MOM: “Well, I knew he was there. I could see him. He wasn’t hurting anybody!”

FRIEND: “Your kid was under my table! He shouldn’t have been there! This is a public restaurant and he could get hurt, just like he did! Why didn’t you control him? He’s misbehaving!”

MOM: “This is my son and I don’t want to hold back his creativity! He has a right to be here too”.

FRIEND: “Not if he’s being a nuisance to the other people here!”

The mom finally relented and pulled the reins in on her son, but it was too late and the treat of having lunch out with co-workers had been ruined. All this, and the manager, to whom we complained, refused to step in. His comment was that he hadn’t seen what was going on and flat wasn’t going to deal with it. We were already finished with our meal so we paid the tab and left… and subsequently sent in a complaint to the restaurant’s main office.

Since when are children allowed to run amok in restaurants where there are forks and knives being flashed about, and since when were parents not held accountable for their children’s’ antics?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Onslow April 24, 2009 at 11:23 am

Unfortunately, this type of situation appears to be quite common. Misbehaving children are becoming the norm, and the parents act oblivious to it. I have also noticed that the restaurant personnel, even the manager, decline to involve themselves. I suppose the parents are glad to have their brats bothering someone other than them, so they just allow them to run amok.

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Diablo August 21, 2016 at 7:43 am

Christ, the tiny buttons made me dislike your post. Sorry buddy =(

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sexygal August 29, 2016 at 4:42 am

What buttons are you talking abt??

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Rob April 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Ugh. Parents inflicting their spawn on others is definitely a pet peeve. Just because one is capable of having children doesn't mean that every time you feel like rutting (think dirty animals in heat) the result should be a child.

Over the years, I have developed 2 responses:

1. Verbally disciplining the child in front of the parent

2. Asking the child's name and pretending to call (insert name of local child services agency) in front of the parent, explaining that someone abandoned their child

Both responses always earn vitriol from the supposed 'parents', but hey, if they aren't actually 'parenting', the least I can do is have some fun at their expense.

Climbing around underneath another patrons table is definitely a parent-crime, and the little bastard should be taught manners if the parents won't do it.

/End rant.

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None May 12, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Next thing you know she'll come out and claim the kid has autism or something

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Iloveflying February 12, 2016 at 5:58 am

You shouldnt joke about that stuff

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sexygal August 29, 2016 at 4:43 am

I don't think None was joking!

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Anonymous July 5, 2009 at 11:55 pm

I love this story and so feel for you!

I run a restaurant and there are times when I feel like a babysitter and trying to run interference so the rugrat doesn't get burned by a hot plate or kicked in the face by a patron opening the door between the dining room and the patio.

And of course you can't say anything or the mothers get pissed… well. it's a restaurant NOT a daycare!

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Toronto2009 July 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

Parents who turn a blind eye to their misbehaving children seems to be the NORM now, not the exception… it's frustrating and ignorant!

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Demotage August 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

I do actually have a child with Autism (mild, thankfully), but I would never use that as an excuse for him disturbing other people in a restaurant – we always expected him to behave himself – and kids tend to rise to expectations; even the autistic ones.

I've been in similar situations – two five-year old's (not ours) were playing tag in an upscale restaurant, running around our table, and ducking in and out between us diners to keep away from "it". My solution in this case was to stand up, pick the nearest kid up under his arms, and carry him back to his parent's table. "You seem to have misplaced something" I said, as I put the kid down at their table. The kids didn't bother us anymore after that.

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Sympathy Given December 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I wouldn't have kicked him I would've gently stepped on him. Not enough to do damage but enough to get the kid away. I'm one who believes in taking small kids out because how else will they learn but I will make that child behave. I will keep them quiet (bottomless bag of trick you'd be surprised at what will keep kids entertained from your purse) to taking the kid (friends kid not my own) outside. Friend was pregnant and couldn't get up and down that much.

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