My Kid Puked At A Restaurant And We Stayed For Lunch

By Alex Iwashyna, blogger at Late Enough

My mom, daughter and I walked into a local restaurant to have a quick lunch before picking up my son from preschool. My daughter and I frequented the place about twice a month for the most of fall and winter.

As we entered, the waitress gave us a funny look. I followed her line of sight and realized that my daughter had vomited.

I ran over to N. She had gotten an apple caught in her throat, and when she coughed it back up, she puked with it.

The restaurant staff just stood there.

Finally, I turned to the woman closest to me and said: Could I have some paper towels?

I was given two.

I asked for more.

I was given more and then told to clean off my mom’s jacket, too.

After that, we were basically ignored or given minimal service when we asked to place our order.

I was flustered and upset. At my daughter nearly choking. At a restaurant staff that never asked whether she was okay. At being treated like a pariah.

I tweeted about it and everyone told me to call the manager. I wanted to take their advice especially after finding the restaurant's facebook page touting: “We’re very family-friendly!”

But I didn’t. Because even if I called, I still wouldn’t go back. What if they recognized me? I'm just paranoid enough to worry about my food being spit in or the staff being rude again. And to be honest, I’m not sure that the manager wasn’t there watching the entire scenario unfold in the first place.

I have attempted to put myself in the restaurant’s staffs shoes. Perhaps, the staff thought I brought a toddler with a stomach virus to the restaurant? But why wouldn’t they have asked if she was okay? Maybe they were having a collective bad day? Or I just over-read the situation? I was upset that my daughter had choked.

It’s not a huge loss for me. The restaurant was convenient, and I liked going there for mother-daughter dates, but the service was never overly friendly in the first place. As a parent, kind people make me want to come back to a restaurant more than anything else. With kids, I eat FAST so even subpar food can be overcome by nice people.

I do tell the story whenever the restaurant is mentioned so maybe it's a loss for them. I'm not sure if my decision to not call but still tell the story is fair since I never gave them a chance to explain. But I'm wimpy that way. And it seems like common decency to ask if a child is okay.

Why should I be held to the standard of saying: Please excuse my daughter for almost choking to death. You probably shouldn’t feed us. Have a family-friendly day!



  1. Oh no! I hate that feeling of being "judged" as a mommy. I'm guessing they probably thought she was sick, but I have NO IDEA why they didn't rush to your aid to clean it up. Hello! Don't you WANT to get rid of the vomit restaurant staff for the sake of your customers…and self? I mean, have ya smelled and seen puke? so THAT totally baffles me. You are not wrong to question how they handled it. And above all, you want the customer to feel taken care of as a staff right? I totally want to know where it is!!!!

  2. Man! What a restaurant. They should take some classes in how to be family friendly. I cannot believe that nobody else's kids ever puked in there. They should have grabbed a roll of paper towels and handed them to you and said "Can we do anything else for you?"

  3. I'm sorry but I feel like I have to reply to this one. While I agree totally with you about the staff being friendly and it was rude for noone to help or ask if your daughter was ok, you have to accept some fault in this as well. True…you don't know WHAT they were thinking! If I was in their shoes, I would think it was rather rude of you to bring your sick child into my restaurant to make all the other patrons sick as well….with what they were probably thinking was the stomach bug!! If YOU didn't know she had choked until the lady looked shocked, then how do you think THEY were supposed to know what the heck was going on.

  4. Continued…..
    It is completely unfair for you not to clarify the whole situation with the manager and give them the opportunity to make it right. Then if you chose to stay away then that is fine…and you have the right to criticize them. But…don't put someone down for reacting naturally to something that you didn't have a clue was going on yourself! They probably didn't want to get close enough to get sick either…which is probably exactly what they were assuming….since noone would ever guess she was just choking on an apple. I'm sure they would have been more sympathetic IF they knew what the whole story was! You should have respect enough to explain to them. Two wrongs don't make a right!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I agreed that it wasn't fair of me to not call afterwards.

      I do think that a nice person would've at least inquired if my daughter was alright at the time; thus opening the door to my explanation of choking versus a stomach virus. The assumption that I (or any parent) would bring a vomiting child to lunch seems preposterous.

      I don't think it's a respect issue as much as my own anxiety over the events (choking, being treated like a pariah). But letting the manager know would've have been the best thing to do.

  5. Now I want to know where this place was! I'll call them! I'm good at making noise! It's my "thing"

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