Let me set the scene for you . . . It’s 11:00ish, my baby is hungry, and we’re out running errands. I scanned the area and I had two choices for lunch; an “order at the counter, seat yourself” sandwich and salad place or a sit-down restaurant that serves breakfast during lunch hours. I choose the breakfast restaurant because I knew Marshall would eat scrambled eggs, I wasn’t so sure what he would eat at the sandwich place.
By the time we get into the restaurant Marshall is ravenous. He’s pointing at everyone’s food and loudly saying “Dat! Dat! Dat!” as in “I want that!” I asked the server to bring him two things, scrambled eggs & biscuits and gravy. I figured if he were that hungry, then we better double down. Then, I asked with a chuckle, “Can you bring his food as soon as it’s ready so he stops screaming about everyone else’s food?” She said, “I know how that goes, I have 2 boys and another baby on the way.” She brought the food out very quickly. So quickly that Marshall was done eating by the time that my food arrived. I tried to keep him busy with a toy and giving him food off my plate. At one point he tried to climb out of his high chair, that’s when I realized he wasn’t strapped in yet. When I went to strap him in, he screamed, very loudly, right into my ear. I thought I heard the people sitting next to us make some sort of comment, but I couldn’t make out what he said because, well, my ear was just screamed into. Then, I must have accidentally pinched Marshall with the highchair clasp while I was trying to hold him and strap him in because he started to cry. I quickly picked him up and sat him in the booth next to me to console him. The bus boy passing by was talking to Marshall and told him he could grab a creamer cup off his tray. I knew this was a bad idea, but he was so sweet for trying to help and quite frankly, I was hungry and trying to eat as fast as I possibly could so we could get out of there! Next thing I know, Marshall’s creamer cup explodes all over us after he took a “bite” out of it. I cleaned it up, Marshall kept saying, “uh oh. uh oh.” Of course, he loved the way the vanilla creamer tasted so he proceeded to try and “eat” all of the creamers on our table, by climbing onto the table to reach them. Every time I stopped him from doing so, he screamed. Needless to say, things were not going very well.
Just then the server came by to collect our plates. I asked her for a box for the rest of Marshall’s food and I said jokingly, “I don’t need a box. I plan to eat all of mine, as long as he’ll let me.” She laughed then box up Marshall’s food for me and left us to finish our meal. Just as I was finishing my very last bite of food, which I was rejoicing because that meant we could finally leave, I overhead something . . . The man sitting next to us, the one I thought had made a comment earlier in the meal, said, “She needs to hurry up and eat and get him out of here! That’s why we go to expensive places, because they can’t afford them.” My joy of finally finishing our meal was whisked away into anger. I’m thinking, “What an ass. Why would you say something like that . . . and so loudly to where I could hear you?” Now, I’m not the type of person to confront any stranger in public. Seriously, it’s never ever happened. I always assume that they were not talking about me, they didn’t mean it that way, or I couldn’t make out exactly what they had said, but this was very clearly about me, I heard very clearly what he had said, and how he meant it. In my mind, I had two approaches: kill him with kindness or go completely livid. I choose an in between approach. I dropped all of my things that I had been gathering on the booth bench, picked up Marshall, place him on my hip, and walked over to this rude man. I said, with scowling eyebrows and a condescending tone, “I’m sorry that he’s disrupted you.” To which he replied, “I know. It’s just aggravating.” I replied while shaking with anger, “I mean, he’s one and half. I cannot control his actions.” He replied with the same response, “I know. It’s just aggravating.” I wanted to keep correcting him . . . NO, you don’t know! If you did you wouldn’t have said anything. How dare you assume that I cannot afford to go to more expensive restaurants. I can, but I don’t to avoid people like you who think that those are no place for kids. Okay, I really can’t but he doesn’t have to know that. It’s just insulting that he assumed that, that he stereotyped me!
I held myself together, gathered our belongings, while glaring at the man the entire time who was completely avoiding eye contact with me. I made it up to the cash register to pay and I didn’t even have my bill. While I was waiting in line to pay a lady approached me, she lovingly put her hand on the back of my arm and said, “Don’t worry about it. That was me once getting yelled at about my kids. You’re fine!” I said, “Thank you.” and immediately started crying. She said, “I didn’t mean to make you cry” and I told her it was okay. I finally made it to the cash register, I was bawling and struggling to hold on to my mad squirmy one year year when another mother approached me and offered to hold Marshall while I paid. She said, “You’re fine honey. You’re doing a great job!” She held Marshall as long as he allowed and then he came back to me. The staff overheard and asked me what was wrong, I explained what had happened and what was said. The were all very sweet and told me that it was no problem at all, not to let his comments get to me, that they thought my son was adorable, and that we are welcome to come back anytime. The thing was, I wasn’t crying because of this man’s comments. I was crying because of the outpouring support of the other mothers in the restaurant. It really touched me!
When I got out to the car, I started thinking. At first, I was surprised that it had taken five years and two kids for something like this to happen to me, because you hear about it so often. On the other hand, it shouldn’t have happened to me at all. These are children! They are little people that are just trying to express themselves, sure it’s gets loud . . . but, what’s wrong with that? It’s loud for a brief moment in time. After we left the restaurant he was free to go back to doing whatever he had planned, never to be bothered by us again.
When I got home, my husband and I talked about it. I cried some more. He said, “I’m sure that man will think about what you said and probably feel bad about it tonight.” I didn’t think that he’d feel remorseful at all. That is, until I received this message a couple hours after we left the restaurant:
Hey crystal, sorry but I searched to see if you were on Facebook and you are. This is Nichole, I was just your server at [redacted].I had no idea that “guy” to put it as nicely as possible said that to you. I personally want to apologize for him. He has been a regular of mine for 5 years. However after today, i let him know he is no longer welcome here. I am truly disgusted by his behavior!!!!! Your son is perfect and was my pleasure to have in my section today. I would rather serve you any day then someone that inconsiderate. Please come back. I would like to treat you and your mini to lunch again. So don’t cry and don’t let that ignorant pig make you feel bad!! I hope you have a great afternoon!!!Sincerely, Nichole
I’m so glad you found me. You have no idea how much this message means to me. I know my baby was loud and I wanted to get out of there just as quickly as everyone else probably wanted me to, but his comments were completely out of line. I did confront him & held myself together, that is until two other moms came up to me to tell me everything was ok, that was them once, and that I was doing a good job. One lady even held Marshall while I paid. This outpouring of support made me totally lose it & out came the tears.
I was still just a little astonished that someone could be so rude about a baby. I really appreciate your offer & we’ll definitely be back, but that’s not necessary. Your support and the support of the other staff members was more than we could ask for!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to me. Us moms definitely know how to stick together!!