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  1. Children in Restaurants: The Horror…

    Over the years, I have witnessed many occasions where children were in restaurants and left to their own devices, and one of three things happened… Disaster, Amusement, or Ejection from the establishment.  Here are a few of the most memorable ones.

    McDonald’s - Birmingham, AL:  Two children, maybe 5-6yo, boy and girl.  They were running around the restaurant with ketchup packets, squirting them at each other and managed to hit a few of the other patrons nearby.  The mother was sitting there completely oblivious to this atrocity until the manager came over to her.  He politely tapped her on the shoulder, handed her a mop, a damp cloth, and said “Apologize to those people, and clean up, and DON’T bring them back in here again.  He got a nod of approval from me in the distance.

    Cracker Barrel - Memphis, TN:  Two kids, maybe close to 10, two boys.  They were tossing chunks of potato from their plates into the fireplace across the aisle from their table.  Yes this location actually did have a functional and ROARING fireplace going at the time.  As they continued chucking bits of food into the fire and giggling at the spitting and sputtering, one picked up a creamer cup from the table and tossed it into the flames.  Not but a few seconds later, it exploded, sending sparks and hot liquid shooting into the aisle right into a server.  She was carrying an entire tray of food and went down like a bomb went off.  The whole restaurant went silent as people scurried over to help her.  The manager came out and the parents were argumentative with him, but he stood his ground and told them “We have the right to refuse service at ANY time, and your time is up.  Follow me up to the front and we will settle this out…” and stood there with a stoic glare that would have curdled the remaining creamers left on the table.

    Texas De Brazil - Memphis, TN:  First off, this restaurant isn’t for children to begin with.  A young couple with their toddler son were sitting near a busy area where the servers passed frequently.  Many times the parents would have to chastise him for swinging his feet into the area, kicking at them as they passed.  This didn’t last too long and he managed to kick one of the servers that just came out with a full skewer of sizzling sausages.  Needless to say, hot sausages stuck to the skewer, but the skewer landed in the mother’s lap.  She put up an argument and made a scene, the entire time her son was giggling and kicking at the server and the manager both.  The manager finally asked her to quiet down or leave, and she did.

    Chinese Buffet - Lexington, TN:  Several little children were running around, sticking their fingers into the food on the buffet, being obnoxious in general.  One managed to get his hand into a steam tray that had just been pulled out to be replaced and found it full of nothing but slimy sauce.  He ran bawling over to his mom at the table, holding up his hand like he had been bitten by a dog or something.  Mom laughed, cleaned up his hand, and sat him down.  The rest of their time there, he kept looking at his hand like it was going to eat his face off.  Mom and dad giggling at him the whole time.

    Sweet Tomatoes - Sandy Springs, GA:  Bratty little girl at a table, banging her fork on the plate thinking it’s a drum set.  Mom keeps telling her to stop, yet she continues.  Finally she’s had enough and reaches across the table and swats her hand down ino the empty plate and says STOP IT NOW! For a moment, people turned and glared at her with disgust, and somewhat releived that she finally put and end to the racket.  A few moments later, little miss bratty butt draws back with the fork and flings it across the table, and manages to ding a tea pitcher perched on a ledge near the booth just enough to have it topple down RIGHT IN THE MOTHER’S LAP!  Serves her right for having such a demon spawn.

    Golden Corral - Roswell, GA:  Absent-minded mother sends her son of maybe 10 years old off to get a salad.  He does well, picking the items up properly with tongs and placing onto his plate like a little gentleman.  He’s not paying any attention at all as he walks back to the table with his plate loaded down with stuff and enough dressing that it was dripping all over his hands, smiling at his accomplishment.  All of a sudden, random child out of nowhere runs in front of him, and he stumbled, fell face first into his salad plate and came up looking like he had dove off into the salad bar from the 10 meter platform.  Mom looks over and sees the commotion, raises a stink, cleans up her son and attempts to salvage his bruised ego and they continue back to the table.

    Chili’s - Southaven, MS:  This one is probably the most horrific one…  A small child, just barely tall enough to get his chin up on the tables is wandering around aimlessly like he is lost.  I saw him walk over to a table where two people had just left, and he picked up a steak knife.  He wields it like a sword and starts running around like he’s going to conquer the kingdom. Out walks a server, bends over and accosts the child verbally and you guessed it… He slashed her hand with the knife.  Parents are nowhere to be found in the restaurant.  Finally two people come back inside and start freaking out wondering what the hell is going on with their son.  Turns out they had left him in a booster seat at the booth, and BOTH had stepped outside to have a cigarette.