I decided to go out for a late breakfast yesterday. Went straight from the gym, so I chose a casual place. I wasn’t expecting complete silence, but I certainly wasn’t expecting what I got.
I was seated in an end booth. The attached booth in front of me was occupied by a couple and their two semi-feral children. It appeared that they were nearly done (napkins in the plate) so I decided to stay and order rather than walk out. At this point, I figured they would be gone well before my order arrived.
The boy, probably 8 or 9, was running wild. He decided to fling himself on the floor next to me and do push-ups while screaming for his dad to look. Then he started boxing with his dad. As this was jostling my booth and coffee, I said “Excuse me!” to the father and son, and was ignored. I decided not to push the issue because it really did look like they would be gone in a minute or two as they now had their check and boxed leftovers.
The girl, about 6, laid down in the booth and put her feet over the seat and started kicking. I give her mother the stinkeye. Her mother takes her sweet time telling her to sit. More assorted mayhem from both children. The parents are arguing over the check. Pay cash! I don’t have any cash! Put it on the card! We need the card to pay for x! and on and on. I try to concentrate on my paper. The parents stand up, start putting on their coats and it looks like they are going to leave. The boy is now running around the group of booths pretending he is on a racetrack. The parents are standing there, doing nothing.
My order arrives. I ask the waitress to handle the situation. The waitress says that she is not allowed to say anything to the parents and that the manager must handle this. I ask to speak with the manager. I’m told he is busy. She relays that a couple of other people have also complained, and asks that I just hold tight because they look like they are leaving. I tell her they have been looking like they are on the verge of leaving for the past 10 - 15 minutes. I ask to be reseated, but there is nothing available. I decide to hold off on eating until they are gone.
The boy decides it’s time to crash his racecar self into the back of my booth, and fling his crashed racecar self over the back of my seat and into my booth, complete with crashed driver on fire screams. I get loud and say to the parents, who are ignoring their childrens behavior, “Please control your child!”. They turn around and look at me like I am bothering them, doing nothing. I decide against physically stopping the boy from climbing in because I’m starting to get more angry than annoyed. The boy is still trying to climb over the back of my booth, screaming that he is on fire, and I say in a do not f— with me voice "Stop it. Do not climb into my booth. " Boy ignores me. While climbing over, he knocks my coffee onto my Sunday paper and puts his jelly hands on me. I decide to put out his racecar fire with my water. Complete silence. Lady across from me who had been giving me sympathy looks is trying to stifle her laughter.
Now I have mom and dads full attention. And the attention of the manager. Mom and dad have a bust a cap in my ass ghetto attitude, so I say as sweetly as possible “He was screaming he was on fire. What did you expect to happen? I’m a mom! I instinctively threw my water on him.” I stuck to that. A couple of other patrons back me up, saying the boy was screaming he was on fire and trying to get into my booth. The parents are pissed. They make threats. I’m not intimidated, I continue with the sweet and innocent. They leave.
When I was a kid, parents would have been ashamed to have their children make a ruckus in public. You act up, your parents take you outside. Keep it up and you didn’t get to go to restaurants until you learned how to behave in public. No one expected to put up with other peoples out of control kids in a public setting. Now the attitude is that kids can do anything they damn please to other people and you are expected to suffer in silence.