By now most of you probably saw the story of the restaurant owner in Maine who got in trouble for raising her voice at a belligerent toddler who was screaming in the eatery without the parents doing anything about it. The small business owner has been largely demonized for it. Well before that we covered a story here about the seafood restaurant which grew so frustrated with the unruly offspring of the Time Out Generation of parents that they sought to ban kids from the establishment. They were quickly forced to apologize and rescind the ban.
This week another story of screaming children in a nice dining facility made the news, but it has a pleasant and remarkable twist to it. Sammy’s Seafood House in Morehead City, North Carolina seated a family of five for dinner and before too long the couple’s two year old son launched into a screaming temper tantrum. But rather than waiting for the situation to turn into a disaster, mom stepped up to the plate.
When Melissa and Jason Wistehuff took their three kids — Ian, 2, Eva, 5, and Luca, 7 — to Sammy’s Seafood House in Morehead City on Monday, her youngest son threw a temper tantrum. “It went from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye,” Melissa tells Yahoo Parenting…
“He was arching his back and stiff as a board, and he has kind of chubby legs, so it was hard to get him out of the high chair. At one point I looked at my husband and said, ‘I’m taking him outside in his high chair,’” Melissa says. She was getting a few annoyed stares from other diners but she managed to get her son out and even walked across the street with him.
Rather than sit and fight with the toddler, Melissa carried him outside in the high chair and walked him around until he calmed down. Later, he had another fit and was removed again, this time by dad, before the entire dining room was disturbed. One of the other children became nauseous and was rapidly removed to the restroom. It was a bad night out for the family to be sure, but they jumped on every disruptive situation and handled it. And when the ordeal was ending and they went to pay the check, they found a very pleasant surprise waiting for them.
When the waiter returned, he had some surprising news. “He said, ‘Sorry I took so long with your check. I was about to run your credit card, and someone came up and paid your tab,’” says Melissa. The waiter explained that a customer had admired how she and her husband took care of their kids —and felt a little sorry for them, too.
The mother was shocked at the generous gesture and wanted to leave a tip for the server but didn’t have any cash. (They were apparently planning to pay by credit card.) A second patron jumped in and left a tip on their behalf instead. It’s a simple story, but one which shows what’s still possible in polite society when we all make a bit of an effort to get along.
I’ve given up on the number of times I’ve had to relate stories such as these. Parents from the generation after mine seem to have largely given up on the lessons of sparing the rod and spoiling the child. Time out doesn’t do a darned thing in most cases and children are exceedingly clever at testing their limits and seeing how far they can push the line. I happened to grow up in a family where such nonsense was never tolerated and my mom’s favorite refrain in the face of childish tantrums included the phrase giving you something to really cry about. Now we live in a society intent on punishing the parents rather than the offspring.
All of this is situational, of course. If you walk into a Chuck E. Cheese’s and get upset because there’s a bunch of loud children running around playing, you’re an idiot. (You also need to go find a real New York / New Jersey style pizzeria and get yourself some decent food.) But if you are a parent who comes lumbering in to Ruth’s Chris, where adults are dressed to the nines, paying $100 for a Cowboy Ribeye and debating with the sommelier over whether the 2013 Cavit Bottega Vinai Pinot Grigio Trentino is better than the Piedmont Chardonnay they’re trying to pawn off this week, and you have no intention of quieting down your screaming brats, it’s not your children who are in need of a beating… it’s you.
Still, this was a story which brightened my day. If you happen to be in that part of North Carolina, stop by Sammy’s Seafood House. Sounds like they have a nice establishment and some good patrons.