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!