NC Restaurant Bans Screaming Kids
For the second time in less than a month, screaming children and restaurants have struck a nerve. In the 2nd week of August the father of an Autistic child was assaulted because his 4-year-old son was making too much noise. Now a restaurant in Carolina Beach, NC has apparently put up signs warning, “Screaming children will not be tolerated.”
According to the owner nothing ruins the atmosphere of a nice relaxing dinner faster than a misbehaving, screaming kid.
As a father of three, I can tell you when I go into a restaurant I can’t make you any guarantee that my kids are going to behave themselves. As much as we preach good table manners, as much as we prepare, groom, and discipline them I can guarantee you that there are no guarantees. Will my child knock over a drink? Maybe. Will he or she burst out laughing? Possibly. Will they cry because we insist that they eat their vegetables? Quite likely. And all of those are reasons we don’t go out nearly as much as we used to.
But my mind goes back several months ago to a particular dinner outing. Because one of my children has special needs, they are all eligible to participate in a respite program at a local church. That means once a month my wife and I get a few hours to go out and date! We get to do the things that we used to do before kids came into the picture.
Because this time is so precious and rare we try to maximize every second of it and plan it down to the millisecond. For example, my wife dropped the kids off at the church. Since I had to work thirty minutes away we chose to meet on my break at a restaurant an equal distance from both locations. She got there a little before I did and placed not only her order but mine as well. It was perfect. When I walked in I saw her beautiful smiling face and a sweet tea waiting on my side of the table. This was going to be great.
Moments later our food arrived. As soon as we said grace, Grace began screaming bloody murder! On the other end of the restaurant what appeared to be a one to two-year old little girl began screaming at the top of her lungs! The parents tried everything they could to calm Grace, but she wasn’t having it.
As eyes from other tables burned holes into the backs of that couple, My wife and I exchanged knowing looks at one another. We have been there many times before. I felt a strong urge to get up and say something to them, but couldn’t find the words that would make sense.
After a few moments, the family paid their check and left. You could almost feel the others wanting to burst into a thunderous ovation at their departure. Unable to contain myself any longer I rushed out the door behind them.
As they were getting into their truck I called after the father. He turned around with a look that said, “Hey Buddy don’t hassle me. Can’t you see we’re leaving?”
I said, “She really must not have liked what was on the kids menu.” We laughed. I told him not to sweat it. I told him that I was the father of a special needs child myself and that I have found myself in his shoes many times. That’s when he told me Grace wasn’t his only child. He had two other little children who had been diagnosed with Autism. He told me how very hard it is for them to ever go out together as a family.
I have to respect the actions that the North Carolina restaurant owner took to satisfy his customers. But I can’t help but think he or she is REALLY missing out on a huge opportunity. Instead of castigating the parents of unruly children, perhaps he could cash in on a very underserved market. On Aisle 9 Consulting is dedicated to showing businesses, churches, and other venues a different way of doing business. For a consultation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think? Did the owner of the restaurant make the smartest decision? Should parents of unruly kids just come to grips and leave their kids at home? We’d love to hear from you. Please post your comments below.
- Crying shame to banish kids (mirror.co.uk)
- Sommerfeld: Well-behaved children don’t just happen (parentcentral.ca)