Restaurant Calls Cops on Toddlers for Acting Like ... Toddlers

That's Criminal 178

restaurant tableIf 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

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redK8... redK8blueSt8

I think that people who weren't there shouldn't be so quick to rush to defend the parents.


Applebee's is a family restaurant. They give paper and crayons and balloons for craps sake. They are very accommodating. I'd bet dollars to donuts that the cops weren't called until the situation had escalated to the point where the parents were so unwilling to effing parent their kids that it posed a danger and liability to the restaurant staff and other patrons!! Toddlers will be toddlers, which means they will do and get away with ONLY what their parents allow them to do and get away with!!


Since a lawsuit is sure to come of this, I'd love for it to be the restaurant suing the parents for disorderly conduct and slander.

nonmember avatar April

Sorry. I've of the "if you can't controll your children..." crowd. The kid was wandering around the restaraunt! Do you know how dangerous that is? servers carrying heavy trays full of hot food? When those fall on a child, it could seriously hurt him! If your kid can't stay seated, than you shouldnt take them out. I have two kids. I know it can be difficult. but I also know that it's up to ME to control them and not allow them to place themselves and others in dangerous situations. Do I agree with the manager? not really. but I wonder if this was a manager who was fed up with asking the parents to keep thier kids in their seats.

youth... youthfulsoul

Applebees' food sucks anyway. No loss to this family.

nonmember avatar Suni

Yeah put me in the "control your kids or stay home" group too. My parents would have never let me wander around a restaurant no matter what age I was.

Paws84 Paws84

I agree with RedK8. My husband and I don't go out to dinner Fri-Sun because those ae usually the busiest nights and people without kids (I used to be one) do not want some loud, crying, or standing up in the booth looking at you kids to ruin their meal. Our daughter is only 9 months old, and as soon as she starts fussing, one of us takes her out to the car and the other asks for to-go boxes and pays the check. I, as a parent, don't want to hear children, so I can imagine that others that don't have kids definitely don't want to. This is not discrimination. I bet those parents are the same ones that don't clean up after their kids right before they leave a restaurant and let their kids trash the table. Clean up after your kids, be a parent, or don't go out in public.

Movie... Moviebuff

@paw84 You are right and I want to thank you for being a good parent.

Tiffany Altieri

I'm a parent in the "if you can't control your children..." crowd.  As other posters said, Applebees is a family restaurant and it's dificult for me to believe they called the cops just because kids were being kids.  I'll reserve final judgement until we know exactly what went on though.

adamat34 adamat34

Like always there.is more to this. Criminal trespassing? Police dont usually throw that around where there are babies involved....they were probably acting like.ghetto fools letting the kids run rickshaw over the place. Ill reserve judgement for when the rest.of the.story comes out .

nonmember avatar Kiki71

They let their 3 yr old wander away? Give me a break! If you aren't going to watch your kids and parent, stay home. They could trip someone, have hot food dropped on them, fall down steps (our Applebees's has a few inside), get lost, get TAKEN! I agree with the other post, they give crayons and paper to draw on, use it, bring them snacks to help them wait, do SOMETHiNG besides expecting everyone else to do your job for you...probably then they would be one of those parents who get all bent out of shape when someone else corrects their child or speaks to them. I have four kids, NEVER have they wandered away or even been allowed to bother people at other tables!

Bubsy Bubsy

So, I've been playing this drinking game where I drink every time I find one of adamat34's racist comments...I'm pretty sure my liver is going to fail any minute now.

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