I just got thrown out of a restaurant for shouting at another diner.
She’d been insulting her child loudly for about ten minutes. The kid didn’t do anything in response: she just kept eating.
“You can’t eat properly.”
I don’t know what she thought the kid was doing– maybe not using a fork properly?
Twice the woman did that thing people do to mock disabled folk. “Dur-nur-nur-nur,” you know?
And this was all loud enough that nobody could ignore it. All the other diners were turning round to glare at her. I was wondering how to intervene. There was too much anger in my mind.
Then her partner said something quietly about how she was spoiling everyone’s lunch. She snapped back, “It’s your fault for not restraining the kid.”
At this point I lost it.
I jumped up, pointed at her, and shouted, “YOU. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.”
And I told her that children should be encouraged and praised. That she was setting the kid up for a lifetime of feeling worthless. And: how dare she treat a child that way? I don’t remember what else I said. I was full berserker angry by this point.
“Excuse me,” said the staff. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Of course. I’m sorry,” I said to the staff. “I’m sorry,” I said to the other diners, and then: “But I’m not fucking sorry to you.”
I don’t think the woman will change.
I expect she’ll punish the child when they get home.
But the child will never forget this day.
The child will know that someone opposes her mother.
That someone can fight her corner.
That was a thousand times worth getting thrown out of the restaurant.
[Picture by Sailko, cc-by-sa; detail from Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence]