Kindhearted Restaurant Patron Buys Meal For Family With Screaming Toddler

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screaming babyKids in restaurants are a very, very polarizing issue. The world is still divided on the subject of the owner of Marcy’s Diner in Portland, Maine, who yelled at a toddler that was acting up in her restaurant, and who was right–the owner or the offended parents. But now, once again, a screaming toddler has disturbed a restaurant, and this time the results were completely different and another patron at the restaurant actually wound up buying the family’s dinner.

According to ABC News, Melissa Wistehuff and her family could easily have become the next Marcy’s Diner family when they went to Sammy’s Seafood House in Morehead City, North Carolina. The Wistehuffs and their three children, ages 7, 5, and 2, sat down at the seafood restaurant. Not long after that, 2-year-old Ian decided to throw an enormous temper tantrum.

“He was arching his back and stiff as a board, hard to get him out of his high chair. He was screaming and crying,”  Wistehuff said. Wistehuff said she could imagine how much Ian’s noise would annoy the other diners at the restaurant.

“It is quite frustrating if you’re eating a nice meal and trying to enjoy your vacation and there’s a screaming child right next to you,” she said.

So Wistehuff did the best thing she could do in that situation: She grabbed the kid and got the heck out of the dining room.

“I immediately got up, got him out of his high chair, and took him out of the restaurant. And, of course, feeling like everybody is judging and rolling their eyes and looking at me.”

She said Ian calmed down and was quiet, so she went back into the restaurant. But Ian is a toddler, and toddlers are tricky people. Ian launched into a new tantrum, and this time Ian’s father scooped him up and darted him out of the restaurant while Wistehuff asked for the check so they could leave. But the waiter told her the $86 bill had already been covered by a nice man in the restaurant who wanted to reward them for handling the situation so well.

“He said that our check had been taken care of by another patron at the restaurant,” Wistehuff said. “I said, ‘What? You’re kidding! Why would they do that?’ He said they just so admired how we handled the situation. [We] got him out of the restaurant and not having to put the other people in the restaurant through a tantrum…and I’m sure they also felt sorry for us.”

A screaming child in a restaurant is awful, but Wistehuff and her family handled the situation well and with a minimum of disruption to the rest of the diners. It’s nice that someone in the restaurant took pity on them and realized they were working hard to keep from disturbing anyone else.

It is OK to take small children to restaurants. It is even OK to take small children to seafood restaurants in tourist areas. And yes, sometimes shit will happen and the best-behaved kids will throw tantrums. In that case the best thing a parent can do is to jump in and try to handle it. Take the kid outside. Give the kid toys. Call it a night and go home, if you have to. We can ignore tantrums at home, but not in a restaurant. It’s important to model the behavior we want our kids to have when they grow up, and that includes being conscientious of the people around us in restaurants.