If you've ever been out to dinner with your toddlers, you know it could be a pleasant 'I'm so glad I didn't have to cook' experience or 'I'm never taking these demons out to eat again' kind of event. But of course you love those demons and you are a glutton and you go out again because being a parent is all about making false threats. That and you're a risk taker. One family in Katy, Texas, took that risk and went out to eat at Applebee's on Sunday.
Their table for four included dad Eli Gau, mom Lilian Maliti, 3-year-old Ryan, and 1-year-old Ethan. Gau admits his boys are "kind of active," which is a good thing because they are toddlers and toddlers are supposed to be active. Unfortunately though the staff at this Applebee's decided to discriminate against these kids for being kids and kicked the family out of the restaurant, even calling the cops on them.
The father admits that Ryan wandered away from the table. How dare he, right? A 3-year-old wandering away from a table? How could that possibly happen? Any parent knows exactly how that could possibly happen. And it happens. All the time. Apparently the kids were both making a lot of noise, too. Gasp! Toddlers who make noise?! What is this world coming to?!?
I'm being facetious, yes, and if these kids were being rambunctious and seemed to be a bit out of control, imagine how awful the parents must have felt. I've been there. I have twins. Sometimes we just want a nice meal with kids who sit quietly and the food is great and everyone eats and then we go home and the kids fall fast asleep and sleep all through the night and wake up with smiles on their faces. A parent can dream! Kids often feed off each other, and when one acts out, the other one sometimes wants to join in and act out more. Then the other one wants to top that. It happens. To the best parents. To the best kids. Because kids are kids and they are not programmable robots.
Of course there are always going to be the people who say: If you cannot control your children, you should stay at home.
I feel like it was this manager who is the one out of control. I mentioned that kids aren't programmable robots, correct? They have minds of their own and even the most well-behaved kids have their moments. People need to have a little more understanding for others. Kids aren't all exactly the same. And what is this about "control"? I'm not going to chain my child to the seat. Maybe something could have been done to help the situation with this family. Kids running around? Bring in more crayons and paper! Have the manager come out and try to lighten the mood and maybe help the kids get in their seats -- sometimes kids like to listen to anyone but their parents. Many things could have been done to yield a happy ending, but instead the manager kicked this family out and called the cops.
And reportedly because of the manager's complaint, the Harris County Sheriff's Deputy told them they were criminal trespassing. All because two toddlers were acting like toddlers. The children's mom said she felt "disrespected" and I feel this is a case of child discrimination.
Applebee's has been very sweet to people as evidenced when they treated a terminal cancer patient like a king during his visit. They also accidentally served a 15-month-old a margarita instead of apple juice. So yeah. Their record is iffy, but a spokesperson has spoken out and apologized saying the manager at this restaurant mishandled the situation. They offered the family a free dinner, but the Gua/Maliti family feel they would rather dine elsewhere. I can't blame them for being deeply hurt by the actions of this particularly Applebee's. But I do appreciate the action of the higher-ups at the chain. In my opinion, it was the manager who was out of line ... not the toddlers, no matter how disruptive they could have been they didn't deserve this type of discriminatory treatment.
What do you think of the actions of this Applebee's kicking the family out and calling the cops due to two active toddlers? Have you ever been in a similar situation and how did you handle it?
Image via WayTru/Flickr