Maryland family asked to leave Outback Steakhouse because son with special needs was too loud

Not a specifically Catholic issue, but interesting:

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Your link was kind of “jumpy” and difficult to read (it might have been my device’s fault), so I may have missed some of the salient points.

But this is an interesting question because it balances the needs of the parents of special needs kids to get out of the house once in a while, the kid to learn social skills and the reasonable expectation of the other diners not to listen to yelling while they’re trying to eat.

Some businesses are working with this issue (which is a growing one) by having certain times set aside where people with special needs are welcome.
Some amusement parks have a policy where kids with autism, for instance, can get to the front of the line and not have a long wait.

We weren’t there, so we don’t know what went down.

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I found the woman bitter and spiteful. She tried to harm the business when they treated her respectfully and invited her to return ($20 Gift Certificate). It sounds like it’s all about her enjoyment it seems.

Her side doesn’t mention how much noise her child was making but it’s completely appropriate to ask loud or disorderly customers to leave a business. On their past visits maybe nobody complained.

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Another version of the same article:

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Interesting question indeed.

I’m trying to see both sides.

The parents of special needs kids probably figure (1) it’s not their fault or the kid’s fault that they’re special needs, and (2) they should have the same right to go out to dinner as any other family.

But, I tend to side more with the other customers.

I never went to a nice restaurant until I was in my 30s, when I could afford it on my own. So, if I’m paying a considerable amount of money to go out to eat, I expect a certain atmosphere. That includes not having to listen to a child screaming, whether or not it’s the child’s fault.

And I don’t think it’s right, after the child causes the disruption, to not do anything about it, and then play the victim card.

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I have a child with autism, so I’m sympathetic to the parent, and it’s an Outback. I’ve been in a lot of Outback restaurants and I’ve never noticed one that is particularly quiet. I could understand some sort of fancy place where they don’t put prices on the menus, but Outback isn’t that. It’s not a place to go for a quiet dinner.

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For some things I am willing to pay more to not encounter children. I’m willing to pay for a nice experience.

This is going to sound cold, but I am sure the business owner considered the experience that other patron’s of the restaurant might be having. It becomes a business decision deciding what group that one will cater too. Not being there I don’t quite know what it was like, but I also find the sound of a yelling child to be quite distressing. I have seen some restaurant’s that have sections where people can be louder (such as large parties).

That said, I can only imagine what that was like for the parents. It might feel like the entire world is against you not being able to easily engage in the activities as others. Half a life time ago I watched small children at a local church. One of the children was a special needs child and the attention required for him was significantly higher than for the other children.

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It’s an Outback. A place where they have big screen TVs so people can watch sports. It’s not a place for a quiet dinner.

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Outback isn’t a fancy restaurant. It’s a chain restaurant, and they have children’s menu with crayons for the kids.

If one wants a quiet dining experience, maybe pick a different restaurant.

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Outback can be a nice experience, but it’s not going to be a quiet experience.

Ah, well I think I might have an acute case of hyperacousis. So it’s not the place for me. I sometimes put my ear buds in not to listen to something, but to reduce the intensity of a loud sound to a tolerable level.

It sounds like the child might have been a significant disruption as the manager seemed very reluctant to ask them to leave. People who’ve never been in business often times don’t realise how important it is for patrons to have a pleasant experience at their venue because return business is critical to turning a profit at the end of the day.

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Part of being a parent means having to give up your own pleasure while you are engaged in the task of civilizing (sp?) your offspring. Some children take longer than others.

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Agreed, although there is a certain threshold even at a chain restaurant. I was at my local one two years ago where a family of 12 was loudly getting into it with the waitress over wait times and it was clear above the normal din of people conversing.

Now that is not to say that this level of volume was what was occurring in the story the OP linked to (nor am I picking sides in the dispute), but I’m just chiming in that a noise that is both frequent and loud can possibly be a nuisance even in places like that.

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There’s a little bit of a difference between a high level of ambient noise that often happens in restaurants and the noise of a screaming child. I’m sympathetic to parents with children, but I’ve seen situations where a child starts making a lot of noise, and it’s not uncommon in those cases for a parent to take the child out for a short time to cause as little disruption as possible and out of consideration for others and then come back in once the child has quieted down.

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