The Grumpy Guy who yelled at me and my kids

I thought you would want to read on with a title like that. Before I tell you the story of the guy who yelled at me and my kids, first I want to make sure that you have all seen this little article that has been floating around the different social media sites. It talks about how a lot of businesses around the country are specifically putting signs up forbidding children or otherwise making it known that children are not welcome. I’m sure you could all guess that this has me pretty fired up. I especially like the line of the article that says: “When did kids become the equivalent of second-hand smoke?”

Okay, so back to my related story. Last summer, our good friends the Nemelkas were visiting us from Utah. We took our families to a small thai restaurant that I admit in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea, just because it is a really tiny place. As soon as we walked in, a man reading a newspaper at a table by himself looked at me, glared, and let out a big sigh. He grabbed his food a few minutes later and decided to go elsewhere with it, leaving the restaurant with a to go box. I noticed that the guy was totally ticked that two families with small children were coming in to “ruin” his meal, but I tried to think that I was being overly sensitive.

After placing our orders, my friend Amanda and I decided to take our kids outside to run around so that they wouldn’t be disruptive and so they could let off some steam before or meal arrived. We walked outside around the bay front while our kids laughed and played (while behaving just fine). All of a sudden, I looked over to see grumpy dude about 50 ft away from me eating his feed and reading his newspaper. I could tell he was getting his panties all tied in knot again, so I tried to move the kids in the other direction. All of a sudden, grumpy man stands up and yells at us: “Won’t you leave me alone, what in the #$%# do I have to do to get away from you?” Amanda and I grabbed our kids and walked back to the restaurant, and I have to admit, that I was actually scared. So to grumpy man and all other people who want to ban children from places, I will tell you what to do… stay home!!! Sorry people, but kids are a part of society, and guess what… you used to be one!

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all try to teach our kids manners, yes I know that is a good thing, but even toddlers from loving families throw psycho tantrums in public on occasion (and how can we teach kids how to act in public if they can never practice?). What would happen if instead of eye rolling and sighs, we had more people offering to help those frazzled and embarrassed moms? Obviously there is a good portion of society who are kid-friendly, but I guess I was just slow to figure out that a lot of people do not enjoy kids very much, especially a “spirited ” child.

Anywho… this article got me thinking. What do you all think? Do you find that there are places in town that are more kid friendly than others? I won’t mention the names of two places downtown that told me that they didn’t have a bathroom when I, as a customer, asked if my child who was about to pee her pants could use their bathroom (that the employee had just walked out of), and they said, “No, we don’t have a bathroom.” Okay, I should stop before I keep blabbing. Please let me know what you all think!!

Sunny - July 29, 2011 - 9:19 am

I’ve never felt unwelcome with my kids, but did get some unwarranted flack on an airplane once. Grace was 3, and Liam was about 4 or 5 months old. We were flying to San Jose from PDX (about an hour and 20 minutes) and Grace was super stoked about getting a window seat. A woman comes aboard and points out that I read my ticket wrong and we do not have a window seat. I offer to move so she can have the window. She sighs heavily and says, “It doesn’t matter, I can see I won’t be getting any sleep anyway.” She ended up being able to move to the seat behind us, and my kids were AWESOME! Liam nursed and slept the whole flight and Grace was so entranced with the view and snacks she whispered! I was so hurt by this woman’s assumption that my kids would be disruptive. And seriously, a nap on a 10 am flight, really????

Debra Liberty - July 29, 2011 - 9:32 am

I agree that DINKS (dual-income -no-kids) couples and “childless by choice” couples are creating a problem. They put their emphasis on entertainment, personal enjoyment, luxery and other things that only cater to adults, instead of valuing patience, tolerance and understanding for young parents and children. Ya know, just their fellow humans! It’s sad how I see this shift in our culture.

Jasmin - July 29, 2011 - 10:00 am

I was at a restaurant in Corvallis once. I had an 8 year old, 10 year old, 8 month old and 2 year old. All of whom were behaving very appropriately. Although the 2 year old was bouncing in her seat, she was quiet about it. When the food came, my 8 month old starting to squeal with delight. Another waiter came over to tell me to keep her quiet. I was sooo mad. I glared at him and said through gritted teeth “are you talking about that baby?!” He immediately apologized. I think I scared him, which I meant to. I mean my only choice to keep an 8 month old quiet is to leave. I took my food and my babies home to eat and left my husband with the older children. Is it bad that I so want to call the restaurant out on here?

Kara Jimenez - July 29, 2011 - 10:31 am

I agree with you Kara and I think it’s really sad. I keep seeing more and more of these kinds of stories in the media.

Amanda - July 29, 2011 - 11:36 am

Oooh, controversy! Fun post, Kara. ;-)

I think it’s all about context. We are careful to take our kid to places where, if she squeals with delight or voices her impatience with the high chair, it will blend in with the background noise of the place. Think Block 15 or a patio table at Cloud 9. I’d never take her to a place like Del Alma or Luc until she was old enough to behave appropriately. I realize that some folks may disagree, and think that they should be able to take their kids anywhere they want. But, I have to admit that when we get a blessed few hours out by ourselves for a date, my husband and I cherish the quieter tones and relaxed feel of an “adult restaurant.” As with most things, I take the stance that there is a time and a place for everything.

Wendy M. - July 29, 2011 - 2:08 pm

I have a hard time dealing with people who assume that kids are going to be a problem just because they are kids. As with adults, there are well-behaved and not-so-well-behaved ones! I think the automatic assumptions are what bother me the most. That being said, I do agree with Amanda that there are some places that are just not appropriate to take young children. I tell my kids when they can’t go somewhere it’s something to look forward to when they get older.

kara - July 29, 2011 - 7:59 pm

I am glad your kids behaved, and in my dream world :), people would be nice even if your kid was overly tired and not behaving perfectly. I still have memories of silently crying to myself when I flew red eye with Gabe and Sofia, and Gabe who was 1 at the time was crazy and kept kicking the seat in front of us. I was a stress case, and luckily, the people were very nice on that flight. I honestly think that it would be a good idea to ask the people next to me if they are up for sitting with a family and if not… they may want to consider asking for another seat (all said in a nice’ish way of course).
I agree that it can often times be people without children, but I also find that it can be anyone. Sometimes it is older moms who have raised their kids and aren’t used to noise anymore, and seem to have no recollection of their own kids ever being loud.
That guy obviously had no idea what kind of mama he was messing with :). Which restaurant was it??
Amanda and Wendy,
I usually don’t find myself anywhere fancier than block 15, and honestly, I really don’t enjoy going out to eat with my kids that often (or going to really nice places). I find myself shoveling food in my mouth and not being able to enjoy or talk anyways, so I would rather save eating out with just Chris and I. I have been invited to weddings/or parties where kids were invited/and or expected to come, and then people have seemed stressed or made little comments about kid’s behavior… that bugs me. Although there are places I wouldn’t want to take my kids, I am usually not too bothered by other people’s kids unless it is really extreme. Like the time when I was at the park and a little girl was bumming food and rudely bossing everyone around while her mom slept on a nearby bench (but I was actually really bugged with the mom and not the girl so much). Okay… rambling again :).

kran mostovoy - July 30, 2011 - 4:21 pm

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Michelle - July 31, 2011 - 8:40 am

I’m actually with the restaurants.

I have a wonderfully sweet, calm, and delightful greyhound that is not allowed in most restaurants or stores, so we don’t take her there, even though WE know that she will be well-behaved.

It’s a business. They get to make their own policies.

As a 29 year old having her first child, my husband and I were “DINK”s for many years. If we went out to a restaurant for dinner, we wanted to enjoy our time together, NOT listen to someone else’s child throw a fit.

That being said, if we chose to go to a family-style restaurant (like Applebees’s, etc), we would have expected children to be there.

However, we did not.

I think there SHOULD be places in this world where you can expect to go without being interrupted by others’ children.

If my husband and I choose to go to a restaurant, etc, with our child, we will NOT go to those that are typically quieter, child-free places. We will go somewhere that children are common and welcome, so that when she acts like a child (which is of course to be expected!) it’s fine.

I think it’s about remembering to have the same respect for other people’s choices (even if they’re different from your own) that you expect others to have for you.

And besides, as a parent, isn’t it nice to know before-hand where your child is not wanted?

kara - July 31, 2011 - 11:12 am

Hey Michelle,
Some good points, and I totally appreciate a different point of view, and I’m excited for your upcoming baby! A couple of things:
1)Kids are not the same things as dogs. I know that people really love their dogs a lot, but I honestly just don’t personally get the comparison, because well… humans are all humans.. and not dogs.
2)I can totally get the idea of not taking kids to really nice restaurants. I honestly am not into taking myself to nice restaurants, so I probably won’t be taking myself or my kids :).
3)I guess my main point that maybe I didn’t make very well is that I feel like people can be rude in everyday life when you are just out and about with kids…. not just at nice places.
4)I appreciate the places that are very family friendly.
5)If places posted signs banning kids, I would definitely take my business elsewhere.
Thanks for your perspective Michelle~

Jasmin - July 31, 2011 - 11:59 am

Murphy’s. Definitely not upscale and has all the loud background noise too. I agree about not taking the kids to Del Alma or Luc.

Adrienne S - July 31, 2011 - 5:29 pm

I love this post. I pretty much got kicked out of OSU thrift because one of my kids was “holding” a toy. Not hurting it, just holding it waiting to buy it. It was over a year ago but I still get upset when I see that place.

But on the more positive side, I was in Newport yesterday and I was alone with my kids in the bathroom, trying to hold two towels, a bag of beach toys, my purse and a cup of tea, all while trying to help Tessa get her pants down. This totally awesome lady said, “Don’t be silly, please let me hold your stuff, I am in no hurry.” So I let her help and it was SOOO nice at that moment to have a total stranger hold my stuff so I could hold Tessa above the gross toilet seat. I thanked her like ten times. I am going to do that for some mom I don’t know if I get the chance.
Oh, by the way I”m happy for you that you didn’t feel the need to say anything to that grumpy guy. I would be so tempted to say something, but I don’t think that would be smart since he was so mad.

kara - July 31, 2011 - 10:08 pm

I’ve only been to osu thrift store with kids a few times, but I have found the ladies to be either really nice or really not…hmm.. must just depend on the person. I definitely wasn’t going to tell the guy off… I was freaked out. Yeah for that nice lady. For every rude person, there are a handful of kind people, and yes.. it definitely makes you want to do the same thing for someone else!!

Rachel - July 31, 2011 - 10:23 pm

Ryan and I were DINKs or OINKs for 13 years before having kids and I have to say that I got grumpy about kids in restaurants and movie theaters. I actually saw parents take a few 8 year olds to the Exorcist. Surprise, surprise, but the kids ran up and down the aisles the whole time (probably because they were terrified). As with everything, parenting has changed my perspective A LOT and I am now so much more patient. We were at Pastini’s today at 5:00 and I was feeling badly about ruining some hipsters’ first date, even though Seamus was being perfect. But then I noticed there were six tables in our section with kids under 2. I think it was “toddler hour.”

adrienne w - July 31, 2011 - 10:23 pm

Interesting article. What next? Will we ship our elderly off to an ice flow to die? Come on. Kids are part of life and interacting with other human beings. I’m glad that you mentioned that pets aren’t people. I love pets. But they are not the same as children. However, there are a lot of people who take their pets places that I feel is not appropriate (for example, stores and banks) and they expect us to be tolerant of that. I’m guessing that a lot of people who want children banned from places would like to bring their pets instead. Totally backwards. That being said, I totally agree with other commenters that it’s not always appropriate to bring my children with me. It’s annoying when there are kids at places like a late movie (it’s past their bedtime anyways) or a family UNfriendly restaurant (why would you want to bring them there?), but I’m more annoyed with the parents lack of judgement to expect a small child to behave properly when they are in a developmentally inappropriate situations. There are some situations that I have to bring my children along and I’d appreciate any and all courtesy and understanding extended to me, by the business and other patrons. In general, people need to be more tolerant and sensitive and that goes both ways. I definitely would not give my business to a place that flat out bans children, but that’s because it doesn’t reflect my lifestyle.

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