The day after our wonderful day of eating sushi off of a train and deciding to build a house, we decided to meet Mike, Connie and the kids at the Chili's in Tulsa Hills. We figured we would grab lunch and then head over to show everyone where we were going to build the new house.
We were so excited to see the kids! We got big hugs from Brenden and Lauren was being her happy, loud self. Eventually, though, we had to put her in her highchair so that we could decide what we wanted to eat. Lauren was most definitely upset and it became obvious that she was tired. Not a good combination. The best thing to do with her in this situation is to let her be upset. She eventually calms down and everyone goes about their business. If we give in and take her out it just leads to longer, and somehow louder, screaming.
While I was trying to soothe her, a lady walked near us and shouted, "Let people eat in peace. She's being VERY loud. Take her to the bathroom. Please." (Although that please was most definitely snotty.) I was frozen. I could not believe that this lady had walked up from wherever she was sitting and yelled at us. I was upset because Lauren was screaming, and then I was embarrassed to be scolded by a perfect stranger. I wasn't just letting her go crazy and not trying to do anything about it. I was actively trying to calm her, and it had only been a minute or two.
A very nice lady sitting across from us, who was getting the loudest part of Lauren's screeches, leaned over and said, "Don't even worry. She's just fine and absolutely adorable." I'm sure she saw the look of pure horror on my face. When she got up to leave she left her glasses on accident. I ran them up to her near the door and thanked her.
At the same time we were being shouted at, a waitress came up and handed us some crackers. The change in Lauren was immediate. She wasn't exactly quiet for the rest of the meal, but she was happy. I, on the other hand, was not okay. I just could not let it go. I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach and wasn't able to excitedly talk about the new house or anything else that was even remotely happy. I didn't end up ordering anything. I couldn't look the waitress in the eye. I kept bringing it up, which I'm sure was super annoying, and then I learned that it wasn't another patron that had snapped at me, it was a manager.
That's when I started crying.
I felt like the worst mother ever. I let my daughter scream in a restaurant. I had someone who I was paying, although not directly, treating me like a child. I felt like everyone in the restaurant was staring at me, judging me, deciding that I wasn't fit to have children. It was one of the worst feelings ever.
When I got home I got on the Chili's website and sent them a message explaining what had happened and how I felt it was handled inappropriately. I completely understand her coming to talk to us; that was not the issue at all. I was just as annoyed, or more, with Lauren being upset and I'm sure other people were, too. However, I think it was completely out of line to so rudely confront us about it, when I was obviously trying to make the situation better.
I'm still not feeling any better, but at least I was able to tell someone about it, even if it's just an automated email address. I did learn three things, though. 1. Don't take Lauren out to eat when she's tired. 2. I won't be able to eat at Chili's, especially that one, for awhile. 3. You never know who is going to ruin your day. Be it your cranky child, an unpleasant restaurant manager, or a combination of both.
Update: Reply from Chili's here.