What Should You Do?

Peter, Baylor, our friend Cameron and myself all met at one of our favorite restaurants, Orange Table for breakfast on Sunday. Peter and Cameron had been out “killing clay” (i.e. at the shooting range) so B and I met them there.

As we were sitting on the over stuffed couches waiting, a little girl about 4 years old and her parents walked in. When the girl saw Bay, she immediately made a beeline for her, ripped the sun glasses off of Baylor’s face and proceeded to rifle through Bay’s bag of books and other entertainment. Baylor’s immediate response was a look at me like “why would she do that?!”. Annoyed, but not wanting to make a scene, I said to the girl “these are Baylor’s toys. You need to ask her if you would like to play with them”. As I finished this statement, I noticed the girl’s parents were watching me say this to their daughter and yet didn’t do anything. Thankfully the hostess showed them to their table.

Just when I thought the coast was clear, the girl came running back over to retrieve a toy she had left. Baylor saw her coming and politely held up the forgotten stuffed animal. Again, the girl ripped the toy out of Baylor’s hand and then made a swipe for Bay’s bracelets (she was well accessorized). This time the father followed the girl and sat down to WATCH her repeatedly grab at, pull on and steal from my daughter. He said hello and introduced himself but never said anything to his kid. At this point I’m getting to incredulous and about to say something like “could you please ask her to stop since she is not listening to me?” when Peter walked in.

PW gave me a strange look which I answered with a “I have no idea who these people are and yes, they are making me crazy too” ¬†face. At the same time, he witnessed the little girl grab a book out of Baylor’s hand and shout “MINE!!” which Peter answered with “NO, no it’s not” and took the book back from the girl. All the time, her dad is sitting on the couch saying nothing, just smiling like an idiot. It was then that I noticed the mother was sitting right behind me, seeing all of this and also doing nothing.

We were finally shown to our table and got to leave the little terror behind. Sadly it didn’t stop her from running to our table at least 3 times to again try to take a toy, a phone or a bite of Baylor’s breakfast. And again, parents were right be hind her saying nothing.

Peter and Cameron were shocked. I was annoyed but this isn’t the first time we’ve encountered ill behaving children whose behavior is ignored by their parents. I hesitate to tell the parent’s how I really feel about these situations because I don’t want to run into these people later and learn that I burned potential clients for Peter or the family’s guest lodge or after I’ve accidentally¬†rear ended them and they decide to call the police instead of just exchanging insurance.

So I am putting this out as a question: what do you do in these situations? How do you handle it when you cannot get away from a kid who is being a demon? Do you say something to the parents? Ignore it? I welcome any and all comments and I will post a follow-up in a few days with some of the responses. Bonus points for the funny, ridiculous and best of all, clever responses.