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Should The Maine Diner Owner Have Yelled at Screaming Baby?

dinerRobert Stitt

Darla Neugebauer is the owner and chief cook at Marcy’s Diner in Maine. She is the subject of a national debate on how restaurant owners should treat families with screaming or crying children.

Neugebauer was faced with a restaurant filled with nearly 80 patrons, three of them were a man, woman, and screaming 21-month old child. The child had been screaming for nearly 40 minutes and, according to Neugebauer, the parents did nothing to calm her. In fact, they had ordered pancakes for the toddler but did not attempt to feed the child. Having had enough, Neugebauer slammed her hands down on the counter and yelled, “This has got to stop!” The child stopped screaming, but the child’s mother, Tara Carson, was offended.

According to Madame Noire, Carson went home and posted her side of the story on Facebook. She said that “people should understand that crying is normal for children to do, especially if they waited a long time for food…’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.’”

After Carson’s rant on Facebook, Marcy’s Diner’s Facebook page was lit up with comments from people all over the nation. Many people feel as if Neugebauer truly crossed the line and should have talked to the parents. Many others have shown their support and cannot believe that parents would be so rude to the diner’s other patrons, or so insensitive to their child to let her scream for 40 minutes while they sat and ate.

Neugebauer’s take on the situation, “Life’s full of choices and you’ve got to live with all of them, I chose to yell at a kid, it made her shut up, which made me happy, it made my staff happy, it made the 75 other people dining here happy, and they left. They may never come back, other people may not come in. Their loss really.”

Many with young children may avoid Marcy’s Diner, others may go there with several crying children just to see what Neugebauer will do. We, as a nation, need to ask ourselves what we would have done in both of their situations. It’s easy to cast blame, but until you are in the other person’s shoes, solutions are never as easy as they seem.