Tonight we decided to enjoy a nice dinner out with Jackson and a couple of friends. We started by searching OpenTable and found One Midtown Kitchen was available. Our dear friend, Andy Kay, introduced us to this restaurant over 10 years ago. Since then we've been fairly regular customers. Every time we visit we have a wonder time and it evokes such fond memories of our departed friend, Andy. That is - until this evening.
There was a time when you couldn't get into One Midtown Kitchen without waiting a few weeks. So we were surprised it was open. Piedmont Park is hosting the Atlanta Jazz Festival so we thought that might be why there was open space. Without giving it further thought, we booked a 7pm reservation.
Now, over the past 3 years, we've experienced many unexpected situations with our new son but tonight for the first time, we were what I would call "kid shamed".
When we arrived the valet attendants, host and server were all tremendous. They made us welcome and went out of their way to engage our son - we were on our way to a wonderful evening. For those that are counting, Jackson is almost 2.5 years old now. I would like to point out, he's well entrenched in the "terrible twos" but we continue to expose him to all types of situations. That's the only way he'll learn to behave.
Jackson took a late nap today. For some people that means nothing but most parents will understand that means extra energy to burn during dinner time. Which translates into high-pitched squeals and extra noise. Nothing too outrageous, just regular baby dinner chat. And we weren't particularly worried because the restaurant was fairly deserted and we were seated in a corner.
Throughout the meal our server, Bernie, was absolutely wonderful. She was very attentive and established a pace of service to meet our expectations. Near the end of our meal, a young woman approached the table and asked if we needed anything. Initially we thought she was just checking on us but then she dropped the bomb! She asked if she could get anything for "the little guy". We said no and asked why and were shocked to hear she was concerned about his noise interrupting the other patrons.
Gurl say what?!?! I recognize that Jackson can be noisy. But this is a restaurant that provides high chairs! So, in my mind, it is fairly reasonable to assume this restaurant has experienced the jubilant expressions of young children before. To say the least, we were stunned! We had just been "kid shamed"!
Without hesitation, Rod quite politely and tactfully explained to her that her comments were offensive and hurtful. We completely understand that everyone needs to be accommodated in a public space but her approach was way off. What she failed to realize was that our table was spending as much, if not more, than the other patrons. Therefore, we should have been afforded the same service as the other patrons - even though we had our small son with us.
What lessons have we learned from this dinner?
Having a high chair doesn't make your restaurant kid friendly
Don't allow one person to ruin your evening
A child that is "seen & heard" does not equate to an unruly child
In the future we will carefully consider our choices to ensure our entire family is welcome and we are comfortable being ourselves.
Tell us what you think by sharing your stories of "kid shaming" and how you've dealt with it.