A local restaurant owner in Portland, Maine, snapped after two parents wouldn’t calm their screaming toddler while they ate inside her diner.
“I was working on the grill. I had my back to the child. I listen to the child scream for probably close to 40 minutes,” Darla Neugebauer told WCSH-TV. “Went over with boxes and asked them to either package up the goods for everyone to leave or if they would just take the child out. And they acted like I had three heads.”
Neugebauer said the child’s parents had ordered three full-sized pancakes and then didn’t feed them to the girl, causing the child to cry loudly.
After attempts to get the family to leave or to take the girl outside, the diner owner said she slammed her hands down on the counter and told the girl to be quiet.
In response to a reporter asking her if she feared backlash for yelling at the toddler, Neugebauer said, ”Life’s full of choices and you’ve gotta live with all of them. I chose to yell at the kid. It made her shut up, which made me happy. It made my staff happy. It made the other 75 people in the restaurant happy.”
WCSH contacted the parents, Tara and John Carson, who were on vacation in the area when they went to the diner and were appalled by the owner’s actions.
“I turned to my daughter and I was like ‘Listen, this is how I’m raising you not to be as an adult. Like, you will never be like this when you get older,’” Tara Carson told the news station. “I felt helpless as a mom that, you know, I couldn’t do anything to help her, because I can’t explain why there’s crazy people in this world that behave like that.”
However, while some people have sided with the parents, many others have stood with the diner owner.
Cari Canales Martinez wrote in the comment section of WCSH6 and said, “Good for you .. Parents need to learn how to be parents.”
Kathy Rearick added to the sentiment, saying, “Good for you. I would definitely eat at your restaurant. Kids are a pain in the a** (censored). Parents are a bigger one. I honestly wish there was a no kids section in restaurants.”
Katie D. from Holbrook, Massachusetts disagreed on Yelp. “Absolutely unacceptable response from this establishment after a complaint of a 2 year old child crying,” she wrote.
When asked if Neugebauer felt sorry about her actions she replied, “Sorry isn’t the right word. I might have used poor judgement. I wouldn’t say I was sorry, because it stopped. When things stop, it’s usually a good thing.”
“It’s not that I don’t enjoy children,” Neugebauer, who is not a mother herself, told WCSH. “I enjoy good children.”