A Modern Day Hero Against Bad Parenting

6 years ago

Friends, I have a new hero. He’s the star of one of the most amazing stories I think I’ve ever heard, told to me recently by my friend, Erin. So settle in, maybe pour yourself a glass of sherry (who drinks sherry?). You’re really going to enjoy this one.


Bagel Saturday

Erin’s dad was at the Manhattan Beach Bagel Company -- one of his usual haunts -- spread out with his breakfast and the newspaper, poised to enjoy a lovely morning.

Then the wrecking crew came in. A tattered, wits-end-looking couple and their two little terrors, trailing a veritable monster truck rally of plastic vehicles. Which they proceeded to race around, bumping into other patrons and causing a general ruckus. Meanwhile, the parents sat enjoying their breakfast in a dreamlike state of oblivion.

Erin’s dad gathered up his things, dragged a chair right up to the parents’ table, sat down, and returned to reading his paper. The following exchange then took place:

Parents: “Um, hello?”

Erin’s Dad: [Folds the paper down to get a look at them. Smiles.] “Morning!” [Folds paper back up.]

Parents: “This is our table.”

Erin’s Dad: “Oh, I know.”

Parents: “Then what are you doing here?”

Erin’s Dad: [Folds up paper slowly for maximum dramatic impact. Sets paper down. Leans in conspiratorially. Lowers voice.] “You know, it’s the weirdest thing -- there’s these two little shits running around, wreaking havoc through this entire restaurant. Slamming into people with their toys. Yelling, screaming. But oddly enough, this seems to be the one table they’re not bothering. So I thought I’d take shelter and join you.” [Wink.]


Wow. I want to be Erin’s dad when I grow up. And I must say, I admire the creativity of his approach -- it even earned him (allegedly) a round of applause upon the offending family’s departure. Me? I’m generally fond of the withering stare to the parents, then a quick glance over to the kids in question (just so we’re all on the same page with what this withering stare is about). But in the shadow of such a heroic story, this just seems like the coward’s way out.

My husband Drew goes straight to the source. He’s a magnet for kids with wheeled toys when we’re out and about, and they’re perpetually running over his feet. He’ll lean down, get right in their grill, and shout “Watch it!” directly at the kid -- no matter the age. He’s a strong believer that confronting parents is pointless. If they had any sense, they’d have been embarrassed by their kids’ behavior ages ago. But yelling at the kid just might scare some manners into them. Hell, it scares me.

So what do you guys think? What’s the best way to fight bad behavior in public? Confronting the parents, or the little perps themselves? Or just being a straight-up badass like Erin’s dad?

PS, if you have any stories of heroism against bad parenting, send them my way -- I just might have to start a page on this.


Maybe Lady Liz

Want to read more? Visit my blog at: www.maybebabymaybenot.com

Photo Credit: noe_pagan.

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