The Lady With the Pink Hat

About a week ago some controversy was spurred over a trend that is growing across the country, that trend being the No Children Allowed Restaurant.  More and more, restaurant owners are responding to the complaints of clientele who would prefer to eat their meals in peace, rather than have it ruined by some bratty kid whose parents are entirely hands-off on the discipline.  On the surface, this seems vaguely reminiscent of the old “one bad apple ruins the entire bushel;” although, to be fair, those without children at the dinner table have just as much a right to eat in peace as those with them have to let their kids run the show.

Some varied responses have been made to this.  Some have agreed, even those with kids, because they recognize the fact that parents these days just don’t believe their child should be disciplined (or, possibly that their child can do no wrong).  Some have disagreed on the basis that, while they recognize children can be completely out of control, it seems inherently wrong to refuse service to people just on the basis of the fact that they happen to be in a particular group of people (dare I call them:  the birthers).

We’ve talked about this before, the notion of people acting as though they are the only people on the planet, and so everyone else should cow-tow to their desires.  And, in fact, it seems to be happening more that people in society feel a sense of being entitled to do whatever they want, even if it means that they and their children are infringing upon the rights (and even safety of others).

Today I was at the library with my father, who happens to be a candidate for full hip replacement surgery.  Nearing his seventies, his bones have become so brittle that even the slightest fall could result in a fracture of his hips.  He even has a handicapped placard for his car.  While at the library, a child was running around and screaming while his mother was nowhere to be found.  Inevitably, the child ran into my father, nearly knocking him over.  My father looked down at the little boy and said “watch where your going, where is your mother?” and the kid ran off without another word.  Five minutes later, though, this lady in a pink hat stalked up to us and started yelling at my dad – in the middle of the library – for daring to respond to her son, who can clearly do no wrong.  After calming the situation down (although I did say that she should learn to be a parent as she walked away), she went off with her bratty toddler and we went about our business.

Despite the fact that the situation was calmed down, though, and the kid and his mother eventually got kicked out of the library because the little terrorist was ripping books off the shelf and screaming, this raises again the issue of the No Child Restaurant.  Had my father (or any other older person that spends a fair amount of their time at the library) been knocked over, he very likely would have broken a bone at the hands of a little boy that was allowed to run all over the place.  And had my father broken a bone, the only people that would have been liable for it in the end would have been the library.  Worse than him running all over the place, though, was the lady in the pink hat:  his mother.  Without knowing the situation or the health or the beliefs of other people, that woman has taken the position that so many other parents today take, which is that the safety and happiness of others is of no matter as long as they can do whatever they want.  That poor, little boy is on a surefire course for destruction later on in life and his mother has done nothing but teach him that he can be a monster, and to raise his voice if anyone questions that.  One day, that little monster will hurt someone in a place other than the library, where the only one liable is him; and then they will all have to pay the price of a mother that simply doesn’t want to deal with an unruly child.

When considering how to act in any public place, it seems we need to remind ourselves that public means that other people will be there, with entirely different situations than ours.    Not everyone thinks a screaming and destructive kid is the cutest thing next to teddy bears.  And sometimes, it can even be dangerous.  To those that still don’t understand why some restaurants have chosen to have a policy that no children be allowed, consider the actions of the lady with the pink hat.


  1. The Return of the Lady With the Pink Hat « B(itch) Log

    […] stopped going to them last summer after there was an altercation between my father and a psychotic lady in a pink hat. It went something like this: my father was walking into the library to meet us, where we were […]

  2. Loud Mouth Lady « Heather Christena Schmidt

    […] – just like that ridiculous woman at the library over the summer had every right to let her idiot kid run wild through the library, Loud Mouth Lady tonight at Mimi’s had every right to be a loud mouth.  Interestingly […]

  3. Rellik

    Your dad should carry an electric cattleprod.

  4. Heather Christena Schmidt

    Well, you got me on the misanthropic part – I pride myself at being so (it’s even in my Twitter description), although I will clarify that it isn’t really a matter of inconveniences that I am talking about, but outright “assaults” (so to speak) on a person’s basic liberties in being a functioning member of society. Whether a person is young or old, agile or feeble, one of their basic rights as a citizen is that they can freely move within society without having to worry about being injured. As feeble as people such as my father (and he’s not actually that feeble, just needs a hip replacement) may be, the whole purpose of law and *order* in society is that *every* tax-paying citizen not have to worry about getting hurt in a situation that could have been otherwise preventable, the key words there being *otherwise preventable.* When a drunk driver hits someone, they are sued because they have infringed upon the personal safety of others. When a restaurant handles food improperly, the person that comes down with salmonella poisoning goes after the restaurant. There are laws that protect people from such irresponsibility on the part of others. Similarly, when a public place – open to all tax-paying citizens – has a rule that children cannot run around and scream, if someone gets injured as a result that public place is held responsible. Beyond just the average customer complaining because some bratty-assed kids are screaming in the back of the establishment, I can see why some places would be concerned enough to avoid the entire situation altogether. The other point is really just that it’s people like that little monster and his mother – the lady with the pink hat – that really have ruined it for everyone, which is unfortunate.

    Other notes: no, you are not a birther. If you had read one of my earlier blogs (before we met even, I believe), you would know that the “birthers” (in my little, blog-o-sphere universe that is) are the people that act like they are the first people on this planet to ever have a baby; the ones that act as if their experience is wholly unique and special and beyond anything anyone else will ever experience; the ones that act as if their children can do no wrong, and that can have the run of the house all they want; and, most importantly, they are the ones that are constantly talking about themselves and their experience, rather than taking advise and guidance, and sometimes letting others share their experiences or have the limelight so to speak, in an effort to grow and experience together. I guess the birthers are those that argue in the face of everything also, even science, sociology, psychology – that will argue on the very principle that they did X and therefore X is right, even though others suggest that Y may be better.

    Also, I don’t know where I hang out that I run into all these bizarro situations, just around your average places here in good ol’ southern California! I will say I attract crazies, though … maybe that’s it haha!

  5. Mark

    To be fair, “Without knowing the situation or the health or the beliefs of other people, that woman has you and your father have taken the position that so many other parents people today take, which is that the safety and happiness of others is of no matter as long as they can do whatever they want.” I could just as easily argue that your father, infeebled as he is, has no business being in a public place where my hard-earned tax dollars would be at stake should he – god-forbid – bump into another human being and take a fall. I won’t because a) I’m not THAT big of an asshole, and b) I don’t believe it. But, I could, and there are people out there who are and do.

    For every person who argues that they should never have to be inconvenienced by the sight or sound of kids there’s going to be another person who argues that the world isn’t here to keep you from getting your feel-goods hurt and if you’re that sensitive, stay home. I am one of your “birthers” who will argue that both sides of that argument are namby-pamby zero-tolerance misanthropes who need to grow up and realize there’s a whole lot of people in this world and you’re going to get inconvenienced every once in a while.

    And a final thought: where in the sam hell do you hang out that you keep running into all these crappy parents? I’ve heard more tales of horror from you in the last 3 months than I’ve seen in my entire life. Maybe you really should just stay home. Either that, or call me so I can have something to write about.

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