Police Chief Orders Crying Autistic Child And Mother To Leave Restaurant

Gail Martin was having a meal at a restaurant in Jackson, SC. when her 4-year-old autistic daughter Alyssa began crying, WIS10 reports. Gail then heard a man yell at her from across the room who told her leave the restaurant. This man was neither a callous restaurant employee nor a drunk bar patron, it was the Jackson Police Chief, Dennis Rushton. “He said, ‘You need to pick her up and you need to get out of here now,'” Gail said. Details, inside…

The article says,

Even though he knew the child was autistic, he said he did ask the Martins to leave.

Gail says she feels like Chief Rushton should have been more understanding about what was going on with her autistic daughter.

“We can’t just lock them up, they have every right to be out in public like everyone else,” Gail said.

Now Gail hopes her story will bring more awareness about autism.

Gail said, “I wasn’t embarrassed of Alyssa’s behavior, I was embarrassed of the way it was handled.” Chief Rushton did not make a statement but did say that he thought Alyssa was being extremely loud and bothering other customers.

Since then, Rushton has agreed to go through training with the South Carolina Autism Society “to help him better understand the condition.” Also, the Martins plan to meet with the police commissioner at City Hall.

Obviously, nobody wants to hear a screaming child while they are dining out, but has society become so intolerant that when a child cries we should expect the police to order them out of the building?

Family ordered to leave restaurant because of crying child [WIS10]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. apotheosis says:

    I’m old enough to remember a time when parents would’ve removed their child from that setting voluntarily.

    That being said…the commissioner has the same right to be annoyed at the parent’s insistence on inflicting their child on the public as anyone else, but he has no place using the authority of his position to enforce it.

  2. Dobernala says:

    I don’t know how bad the screaming was, but it sometimes does get bad enough to create a public nuisance. Some people do need to be considerate of others.

  3. Philthadelphian says:

    Wait, so you’re not allowed to lock up autistic kids and throw away the key? I’ll ah, be right back.

  4. edithmae says:

    How does the chief yelling across the room make the situation better? What a tool.

  5. Jubilance22 says:

    I’m torn on this one. I’ve witnessed a lot of children behaving badly, and the parents making no attempts to control them or stop their behavior, but instead telling everyone “he/she is autistic”. Autism is not an excuse to stop parenting and controlling your child. Its not an excuse to let your child run wild and do whatever they want and disrupt other people. If this mother was doing absolutely nothing to change her child’s behavior, then I see nothing wrong with what the officer did. Parents cannot use their child’s disability as a reason to stop parenting.

  6. lingum says:

    I would have just told him to mind his business.

  7. apotheosis says:


    sometimes does get bad enough to create a public nuisance.

    Undoubtably, but that’s one of those things I’d want a bit more rigorously defined if we’re going to start enforcing it.

    All kinds of things in public annoy me but I don’t expect the weight of the law to serve my crankiness, much as that idea appeals to me.

  8. forgottenpassword says:

    WHile I dont support the way it was done (yelling across the restaurant) I DO support parents of out of control children removing themself & their child from the immediate area so that others are not bothered. How much are regular patrons supposed to put up with?

    A crying child in a restaurant is like a cellphone ringing in a theater. BOTH should remedy the situation immediately as to not impose upon others.

    Note: just this morning… I stopped in my local Ihop to find a large group of loud, obnoxious state patrolmen (must have been at least 13 of them). Cracking jokes & laughing loudly. Suprisingly worse than construstion workers (I’ve found construstion workers are the worst when it comes to obnoxios behavior in the local diner).

  9. 2719 says:

    People need to pay more attention to their surroundings too. Nobody wants to listen to your kids screaming! Take them home. So your kid has autism or is just spoiled and he/she knows that screaming will get them what they want? I don’t really care! I don’t have to listen to your kid screaming no matter what.

  10. newlywed says:

    Hm. I’m torn. I recognize that the child has a disability, but like all disabilities, you have to adjust the lifestyle you lead to accommodate. OBVS, the bebeh wasn’t enjoying her night out on the town, and may have felt more comfortable/less angsty in her home environment perhaps with a special meal for herself, so why disrupt the people who have the potential to enjoy themselves without a kid screaming murder, for whatever reason? I do, however, acknowledge that it must be ridiculously tough for a parent of an autistic child and they *want* their kid to have every opportunity, but clearly this was a lose-lose situation – kid not enjoying night out, causing other patrons to not enjoy THEIR night out. and the mother can’t have been enjoying herself with her screaming kid.

  11. apotheosis says:


    Autism is not an excuse to stop parenting and controlling your child. Its not an excuse to let your child run wild and do whatever they want and disrupt other people.

    “Autistic license.”

    Yay for Punday.

  12. homerjay says:

    I understand that in this PC world we’re supposed to be accepting of every handicap and ‘disorder’ but I find it ridiculous that people feel entitled to do whatever the hell they want only to just use it as an excuse.

    If the child’s handicap was that she constantly peed all over everything then it would not be acceptable to bring her to places where she will affect her surroundings negatively.

    So where do we draw the line?

    Parents need to be more considerate of others instead of just making excuses.

  13. How long was the kid crying? The article says she “BEGAN crying”, which doesn’t sound like she was carrying on and on. An autistic kid does take some time to calm down.

  14. MikeB says:

    To me it just sounds as if this is a case of a police chief who didn’t want his dinner disturbed. The kid started crying and while it isn’t stated it is implied (at least that is how I take it) that soon after is when the chief yelled across the room. And all I can say is wow to all those that are blaming the parent here. While I have had little to no experience with young Autistic kids I do know that each kid is different and how you react to them needs to be different too.

  15. DashTheHand says:

    I’d think it depends on the length the child has been crying. If its continuous, yea, take your child outside and calm them down. I don’t care if your child is autistic or perfectly healthy and just a whiny brat, I really don’t enjoy the screams of children when eating out.

    Also on a side note to this story, when did it become acceptable to start bringing babies to movie theaters again? If I’m paying $20 to see a new release in a theater that I’ve been waiting a few months to see and your infant starts screaming and crying and you DON’T take them out of the movie, you should be shot on sight.

  16. katylostherart says:

    everyone i personally know with children takes them outside when they act up. i only ever knew one autistic kid in my life and he was very well behaved and he was severely autistic. as long as you didn’t touch him he’d be very quiet and just go on about whatever he was going on about. i think his mom was the only one that ever really interracted with him and she would still correct/deal with him if he threw tantrums or started screaming and rocking in like the middle of a grocery store or something (she used to babysit me and my brother so we spent a lot of time with her).

    the cop was a dick about it. how long was it going on before he yelled at them from across the restaurant? which is of course just as rude. he could have at least walked over. he should’ve been more understanding of the kid, she should’ve been more understanding of all the other restaurant patrons.

    and what’s with the explosion of “they kicked out my autistic kid thing?” i swear if i hear anything about vaccines next i’m gonna nuke the world.

  17. opsomath says:

    Am I not correct in assuming that unless a crime is being committed, the police chief (or any cop) has no more right to order her out than, say, I would?

    People being inconsiderate of others (screaming child, ringing cellphone, etc) is irritating. Policemen using their authority inappropriately is much worse than irritating.

  18. dequeued says:

    Does a parent really have the right to impose a crying child on us?
    Must we all be forced to share in the parental experience?

    I don’t want to be a jerk about this, and I wouldn’t hold it against a parent who was on a train, and couldn’t easily get off.
    But there is no reason for parents to take their screaming hellspawn into movie theaters, restaurants, and libraries.

    I don’t care if her child was autistic, it’s the mothers responsibility.
    The mother should have taken the child outside to calm her down or something.
    But then why should she when no one ever confronts her about it.
    Perhaps she should have also started changing diapers in front of everyone too — it’s a mother’s right!

    Kudos to that officer for kicking them out.

  19. boss_lady says:

    I remember my folks would threaten to take us home if we misbehaved in public. When my younger sister cried, one of my parents would leave with her until she calmed down, and if she didn’t, they would take her home.

    I do understand that the child in this story is Autistic, but for me, that changes nothing about what is acceptable of parents with children in public places. Take the child outside or to the bathroom (regardless of whether they’re handicapped or not) to try and calm them down so that they don’t interrupt everyone else’s outing

  20. Manok says:

    Judge not lest ye be judged. Or something like that. I feel for the mother..she probably just wanted a break. The office could have handled it a little more discreatly or offered to help.

  21. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    The police chief protected the child’s right to be taken to a quiet, safe place and soothed by her mother. Autistic or not, a crying child is a child in need who has a right to be attended to. The fact that the mother was too ignorant and selfish to quit stuffing her face long enough to pay attention to her screaming child is probably why the cop spoke up.

    Who are the adults here, anyway?

  22. Erwos says:


    “Does a parent really have the right to impose a crying child on us? Must we all be forced to share in the parental experience?”

    Depends on the circumstance. In a public park or other public area, yes, they do have that right. But in a private establishment, they most certainly do not. Technically, the officer was within his rights to evict them – they were trespassing, and he’s allowed to toss them out (or arrest them, in a real pinch). It probably shouldn’t have gone that far, though.

  23. lusnia says:

    i should not be forced to deal with your genetic abnormality on the rare occasion that my lady and i get to enjoy dinner out. frankly we are not the ones that inbred and made a tard baby. if you want to take you children in public, control them, if not next time you have that voice in your head, go ahead and put them face down in the tub.

  24. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @lusnia: I’m referring this comment to the moderators for abuse.

  25. MikeB says:

    @Erwos: How were they trespassing? Were they asked to leave by the Manager? If not, then they were not trespassing. You could argue for disturbing the peace, but then again, was there a complaint?

  26. CityGuySailing says:

    I think most of the posters here fail to see a large issue. That is the A.D.A. (Americans with Disability Act). Autism is considered a disability. That being the case, it is incumbent upon the owners of the restaurant to make reasonable accomodations for that child. The police chief was dead wrong. Under the law, it was a civil rights violation. And, while the restaurant is a “private” place, it is a business that serves the public, and may not violate state and/or federal law in operation of that business.

  27. forgottenpassword says:


    There are so many laws on the books… that a cop could conceivably FIND one to use agaisnt you if he so choose to. Disturbing the peace, public nusiance etc. etc..

    I remember one video clip of a man who was videotaping a traffic stop & the cop basically threatened him with tresspassing (because he was standing in the alley of an apartment complex) unless he moved on. He started to move on & then asked for the cop’s name & the cop arrested him. (the cop was later found in the wrong for arresting him after he asked for the cop’s name).

  28. tommyb0y says:

    As a person with 2 young kids, I’ve always hated listening to children scream in restaurants. Especially when my wife and I get a sitter. If my kids scream in a public place it’s straight outside until they get it together.

    That being said, this police chief was way out of line. The manager of the restaurant should be the person to ask her to leave if customers are complaining.

  29. fostina1 says:

    im sure it posed a threat to national security. the chief must read consumerist to know its ok to discrimate against handicap children.

  30. Manok says:

    Nice knowing ya. It is banhammer monday after all.

  31. failurate says:

    @CityGuySailing: What’s a reasonable accommodation for autistic people? Sound proof booths? Ear plugs or sound blocking headsets for other patrons?

  32. Womblebug says:

    And here we have the problem I’ve been seeing come up again and again.

    Idiot parents who use a child’s disability as an excuse for bad behavior have, in essence, destroyed any sympathy responsible parents might have received for legitimate disability issues. I suspect any time we have a story like this, the blame will be placed on the parent.

    And in a lot of cases, I’m sure it’s deserved. But damn, how would you like to be a responsible parent whose special needs kid acted up just this once? It’s why I get so damn mad at parents like that woman on the Southwest flight.

    And yeah, even IF the parent wasn’t doing their job, anyone yelling across the restaurant is obnoxious. I wouldn’t want to live in this guy’s town. If he feels he can throw his authorit-ay around in this circumstance, what happens when he pulls you over? Yikes.

  33. henrygates says:

    Having a disability doesn’t exempt you from common courtesy. If your child is screaming that badly, take them outside to calm them down and then return to your seat.

  34. spryte says:

    I keep seeing people comment about a screaming child – the article says the child was crying, not screaming, and there is a huge difference. Believe me, I’m not a big fan of kids and especially kids making noise, but exaggerating things to make the situation seem worse than it probably was is lame. I’m assuming this wasn’t a fine dining establishment – and in most “family” restaurants there are going to be children making some sort of noise. If you can’t take the disruption for the least amount of time (article didn’t seem to say how long the cop waited to yell at the mom) then perhaps you should be the one not going out to eat.

    Also, the article says that the cop “thought Alyssa was being loud and bothering other customers”. Well – was she? Were other people complaining? Did anyone ask him to do something about it? Or did he pompously assume that what HE thought was obviously what everyone else thought and he would come to their rescue? I cannot stand parents who don’t properly care for and manage their children, but we don’t know if that was the case here – and I certainly also can’t stand people who think they know what’s best for everyone and act like assholes because of it.

  35. bonzombiekitty says:

    @CityGuySailing: I don’t think that’s the purpose of the ADA. Yes, you need to make reasonable accommodations, but that’s more for things like handicap bathrooms and not out and out denying a handicapped person access to the establishment. It doesn’t really apply when the person is causing a disturbance to that level (there’s a difference between “I’m disturbed because that child acts and looks a bit strange” and “I’m disturbed because that child is screaming his head off”).

  36. Kaz says:

    I agree – kids crying in restaurants is annoying to most patrons, and they should be dealt with. Then again, I find people talking about George Bush in restaurants annoying, and it ruins my dinner, so they ought to be removed, as well.

    Oh, and religion. Talk about religion ruins my dinner out. Remove those people.

    Let’s not forget all those people who got the patio tables when I went out to dinner this weekend. I had to sit inside. Totally bummed me out. They should have kicked those people out of the restaurant for annoying me.

    And then there was that annoying police chief, yelling at the kid, letting the power go to his head…

  37. digitalgimpus says:

    “We can’t just lock them up, they have every right to be out in public like everyone else,” Gail said.


    Being in a restaurant is not “in public”, it’s private property, unless it’s a government owned cafeteria. The owner likely wants a quiet ambiance because it’s business that sells food and a dining experience.

    Autism or not, the parent has a responsibility to ensure the kid is behaving.

    Most parents take their kid outside when it cries in a restaurant, or to the bathroom, waiting area in the front, etc.

    This is just a selfish parent who got caught being lazy and eating rather than attending to her child.

  38. Televiper says:

    It really sounds like the police chief over reacted. There are no third person accounts to back either story up, but “began crying” seems to say a lot. Cause guess what, sometimes kids burst out and get upset for reasons that are far beyond a parents control. Even a normal 4 year old is unwittingly loud and obnoxious. Is this parent supposed to abandon lunch and leave in a situation where it takes a few moments to calm the kid back down? Should a parent starve because one of the kids is a little more excited than the jerks at Consumerist can handle? There are parents that have on controllable and unruly devils. But, this doesn’t seem like one of those cases. Personally, I would have ignored him and calmed my kid down.

    If you really want to get away from children when you’re in PUBLIC, stop being cheap and eat some place a little more upscale.

  39. mike says:

    Obviously, nobody wants to hear a screaming child while they are dining out, but has society become so intolerant that when a child cries we should expect the police to order them out of the building?

    Society is only “tolerant” when it’s convienent and it doesn’t bother them…which, if you think about it, is actually quite ignorant and intolerant.

    Autistic children are challenging. Parents deal with it everyday and sometimes, they want to try to do something nice, only to have it ruined by their child. I have several friends that have autistic kids and it’s not easy.

    I agree that the parents have the responsibility to control their children, no matter what. If a kid goes into the kitchen and starts playing with knives because he’s a “curious boy”, it’s unacceptable! But if a kid goes into the kitchen adn starts playing with knives because he’s autistic, it’s STILL unacceptable!

    Now the police officer, he’s a jerk. No question about it. Going through autistic training is a good thing and hopefully, will be required training for other higher ups.

    I do agree with the OP; more awareness is needed for autism.

  40. sleze69 says:

    To me it boils down to these two points:

    Autistic or not, you have to keep your kids under control. If you can’t then you shouldn’t take them out in public.

    The police chief should not have asked her to leave using his authority. The kid wasn’t breaking any laws.

    The parent was reprimanded by the chief so she is covered. He should be reprimanded by the department.

  41. thrillwill says:

    Is it me or does it seem like there’s a lot of people here who assume one has the ‘right’ to a good time in public? Because there is no such right or law that says your ‘good time’ has to be strictly defended by anyone.

    If you hate children that much you should stay at home. It will be your only protection from these mild annoyances that seem to take such a huge toll on you. Just because you feel proper parenting involves locking your kids up and away from society doesn’t mean the rest of us have to sign up for such silly, selfish attitudes. If parents can’t bring their kids out then the kids will never begin to learn proper social behavior anyway.

    Remember if it’s too much YOU can always leave the restaurant.

  42. Erwos says:

    @mbouchard: The implication here is that the restaurant owners asked him to do so. If they didn’t, and he just evicted the family because _he_ felt like it, that’s a serious problem.

    Then again, there’s no evidence that he threatened them with arrest, either. There’s no law against me yelling at you and telling you to get out, to be fair.

  43. prag says:

    Autistic or not a child screaming in a restaurant cannot be tolerated. The problem I have is I suspect the police chief abused his position to get the family to leave.

  44. Televiper says:

    Yes, it is a private establishment. But, more important, it’s open to the public, and it serves the general public. Last I checked, children were members of the general public. If you want to eat in a “Private place” stay home.

  45. dragonvpm says:

    @Dobernala: Some people do need to be considerate of others.

    Starting with the POLICE CHIEF… and probably followed up with a good chunk of the folks posting comments to this thread.

    @Erwos: Technically the officer was NOT within his rights to evict them. A charge of trespassing can ONLY be brought by the property owner (or his employee etc…). Some random jerk with a badge can’t arbitrarily decide that you’re trespassing without somehow being informed by the property owner that you are not welcome there.

    @All the anti-anything-that-remotely-annoys-you folks: Wow, you people need to realize that you do plenty of things that could annoy someone, somewhere. Have we really become so whiny that the mere prospect that a child could be crying is automatically met with whinging about how horrible a mother she has and how they should have gone home and let everyone else eat in peace? All we know is that the kid BEGAN to cry. We don’t know how long she was crying or why (did she trip and fall? get scared? bite her tongue? etc..) but based purely on the fact that some people are just to delicate to deal with a crying child the comments instantly side with the cop who was abusing his authority (because he abused it in a way that you approve of, this time).

    Come on, seriously, if you were in her shoes, and some random schmuck told you to leave you’d probably tell him to either f*** off or you might be more diplomatic and increase your efforts to soothe your child (what if you can’t leave because you’ve already ordered and you don’t want to leave the restaurant stuck with your meals, you’d at least have to be there long enough to get them done and wrapped up, easily 15-20 min) if the CHIEF OF POLICE tells you to leave or else, well you can’t really tell him anything, can you? Even if you’re right, he has the law on his side and if you don’t want to end up arrested or worse you do what he says (even if you file a complaint later). It doesn’t have to be legal, it doesn’t have to be right, he has the authority to make you comply with his orders so he shouldn’t be giving orders to a mom making her leave a restaurant because her daughter is annoying him during his dinner.


  46. Ben Popken says:

    @lusnia: Completely inappropriate. Banned.

  47. If I’m not mistaken, the police chief took the initiative and asked the kid to leave. Being that it’s private property (as has been so eloquently pointed out), doesn’t a complaint have to be made first? If the restaurant manager didn’t request his help then what was he doing?

    I dunno, there’s a lot of douchebaggery about kids in this thread.

  48. I spent 8 years working with the autistic population, in group homes, trying to help them integrate into their community and raise awareness of the issue. I had to deal with plenty of inappropriate behavior in social settings. But I’m appalled to think that so many people are of the opinion that the child should simply have been removed from the restaurant at the first sign of trouble. Restaurants are places of public accommodation — when you enter them, you are not guaranteed that they will be free of distractions, discord, or interruption. You have no right to expect that your local eatery will be as quiet as a church.

    Parents do the best they can with children in general; when the child is autistic, the problem is compounded by a lack of social identification and comfort in the environment. This leads to behaviors which are often socially disruptive, but can be controlled through the application of appropriate learning techniques.

    Given the noise level of your average restaurant nowadays, I seriously doubt that the child’s crying was so loud as to drive patrons away. The police chief’s shouting across a restaurant was probably an even greater disruption. I’m pretty sure the patrons would have made their displeasure felt more appropriately if the child’s crying were that disruptive. His actions show not only a lack of critical reasoning but a contempt for social norms which makes me doubt his effectiveness as a chief of police, a position which requires taking into account the situations of all parties involved in any problem, not just making snap judgments.

  49. CityGuySailing says:

    A reasonable accomodation means doing something that would enable the person with the disability to utilize your services. It does NOT mean doing nothing and tossing the patron out to the curb. Clear violation. The manager should have intervened, told the police chief to back off, and offered a private room. Like it or not, it is the law. There isn’t a sitting judge who would rule ANY other way. A person with Cerebral-Palsy, in a motorized wheel chair, might cause annoyance moving around a restaraunt, but, so what? He has a right, the SAME as the autistic child. As long as he wasn’t hitting anyone, his rights were clearly violated. Everyone else could easily leave if they didn’t want to be there with a crying child. the law says the owners are REQUIRED to make reasonable accomodations, even if it causes them to lose money in doing so. Check the court decisions.

  50. @Ben Popken: Thank you.

  51. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I’m sorry if your kid is autistic — I know it’s really tough — but why should I have to hear him or her (or any kid) scream when I’m out to dinner. My friend Hillary had a “spirited” child. Until he got to be able to sit quietly in a restaurant, they only took him to one inside a bowling alley, lest they disturb other customers. Too few people think that way.

  52. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @spryte: Know many autistic children? It’s not terribly typical for them to simply weep quietly and dampen a hanky when they get going. They are characteristically top-volume panicked and often nearly inconsolable. It was irresponsible of the mother to be so unprepared that she let things escalate to the point that someone had to step in.

  53. traviswalden says:

    Police Chief Orders Crying Child with Autism and Mother to Leave Restaurant. We should not let a disability to define a person. They have an disability, they are not the disability. It is called People First Language. Check out Wikipedia.

  54. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @traviswalden: What a politically correct flower you are. “Autistic” is an adjective used to refer to people with autism, just like “diabetic” is used for people with diabetes. Try learning to use punctuation and grammar properly first before you start reforming the language, OK?

  55. ThunderRoad says:

    Seems autistic kids are coming out of the woodwork the last 10 to 15 years.

    Sometimes I have to wonder if this is just a clever diagnosis for a bratty kid.

    // yes I’m going to go to hell for even saying it, I’m sure

  56. BoomerFive says:

    @homerjay: Exactly what I was thinking. I agree that people with disabilities should be treated with the same respect and courtesy as anyone else, but the reverse also applies. Just because someone has a disability

  57. wallapuctus says:

    Good for him. A normal customer walking into a restaurant and hearing a screaming child would turn around and leave, so he was helping the business.
    @ThunderRoad: I agree. When I was little, kids were brats, stupid, shy, mean… now there’s some bullshit diagnosis for all of these behaviors. Thank god I’m not growing up now, if I deviated from the norm in the slightest way I’d be all doped up.

  58. Xay says:

    @speedwell: How many autistic children do you know? I’ve spent the last 19 years around autistic children – spent 10 years babysitting only autistic children because of the asinine attiudes of people like some of the commenters on this post. I’ve dealt with children like the ones you reference who wailed when upset and others who softly cried or moaned (continuously, but not loudly).

    I would like to get more details on what happened because I have seen people flip out about so-called “screaming” that wasn’t loud at all while ignoring a tableful of loud, obnoxious adults.

  59. MayorBee says:

    I can’t help but draw a parallel to lusnia‘s comment above and the child crying in the restaurant.

    I am firmly of the opinion that the parent should be forced to parent the child and remove her from the setting if she won’t calm down. Obviously the police chief thought so, as well. The child is not old enough or able to control herself, so we depend on the parent to take care of the child.

    Lusnia behaved in this thread much as the child did in the restaurant. Inflammatory remarks where everyone reads them are much like a crying child in a restaurant. Again, Lusnia, like the child, was not able to control him/herself, so we had to call the parent to task. Thanks for that, btw, Ben.

    Yet where are the Lusnia defenders? I see many people defending the parent in this situation, “Remember if it’s too much YOU can always leave the restaurant.” and “Should a parent starve because one of the kids is a little more excited than the jerks at Consumerist can handle?” Well, then, why not say “if it’s too much, you don’t have to be in the thread” and “Should you silence Lusnia because it’s a little more than some people can handle?”.

  60. spryte says:

    @speedwell: Do you know this autistic child in particular? You can’t make assumptions like that. Yes, I know autistic children tend to react very strongly and it is possible that the child was being very loud, but that’s an ASSUMPTION. There are numerous differences among autistic children – they are not all the same, so you can’t say that you know for sure how one particular child is/was behaving based on how others behave.

    “…that she let things escalate to the point that someone had to step in.”

    We don’t know how far it “escalated” – another assumption. We don’t know how long the cop waited to start yelling. Facts not in evidence, people – don’t make judgments based on what you don’t know.

  61. Werrick says:

    There are a couple things that aren’t clear. How long was the child crying for? If it was only for a minute or two then I would say that perhaps he could have been more patient.

    But if the child had been crying loudly for longer than a few minutes then it’s simple, common courtesy to remove the child from the crowded restaurant and the fact that the child is disabled doesn’t change that.

    Secondly, the guy was in having lunch. Was he on duty? If he was out in his private time in his civvies then it’s hardly “the police ordering people to leave the building”.

    And finally, why are we assuming that he doesn’t know what autism is? I mean, he might not, but that’s hardly relevant. He probably had no idea at the time, how is he supposed to know that child is autistic? Did she come in wearing a sign? Did the Maitre D announce to the restaurant that the child was autistic? All he knew, from across the restaurant, was some obnoxious mother seemed to think that everyone in the world should have to put up with her child’s disruptive behaviour.

    Sorry… I’m with the cop on this one.

  62. @digitalgimpus: Except that it wasn’t the private property owner who was ordering the family out. It was a police chief acting on his own, according to the story.

    I really, really, REALLY have a big problem with all of ya’ll monday night parents commenting about how “lazy, irresponsible” parents let their kids cry. The fact of the matter is that kids cry, all the time. Sometimes there’s really nothing you can do to stop it in any reasonable amount of time. It’s even more probable if the kid has a developmental problem.

    The story doesn’t say anything about the length of the crying, what the parents did to address it, yet many of you are jumping to conclusions based on your closed minded prejudices. Asshattery.

  63. fostina1 says:


    fail. sure she should have took the kid outside, but the only person who had a legal right to make her was restaurant management, not some off duty pig.

  64. Televiper says:

    @MayorBee: The difference is no one is asking the adults (assumed) who didn’t say something extremely offencive to being quiet or leave. We are tolerant of the fact that people are going to say things we don’t like. We handle that with rebuttal. It seems that when it comes to children, many people here ignore the situation at hand, and immediately treat the situation as if it were an extreme case. No one here is defending a child that went on a tantrum and started throwing things. We’re defending children that act like children and the parents who handle them. Perhaps the problem is that people are holding 4 year olds to the same standards as 18 year olds.

  65. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @xay: @spryte: Whichever. I too would step in if I saw a child being neglected. If Alyssa’s mother was actually engaged in soothing her or in the act of taking her outside to do so, I would help them. But the mother in this case doesn’t even protest that she was busy attending to her daughter’s needs. She just screams that the police chief is a bigot. Maybe she’s the one who needs to be taken outside and soothed.

  66. fostina1 says:

    @fostina1: and on a side note it sounds like the officer was harrassing the woman and her child, if in fact the restaurant had nothing to do with his request. she should have pressed charges.

  67. Televiper says:

    @speedwell: To be honest, I think it’s pretty well assumed that she was attending to her child’s needs. The prejudice here is unbelievable.

  68. TheLemon says:

    Quoting Canino‘s comment on Big Pharma yesterday:

    This started as an experiment back in the early 80s. Remember when everyone and their dog was diagnosed with hypoglycemia? That was the start of it. They redefined the “normal” range for blood-sugar levels and made the upper range a new “disease” to sell drugs. The problem was that this was a medical issue that could be solved with diet/exercise, so they switched to mental issues.

    So then it was ADD, and then ADD/ADHD. Was there any such thing before? No, but all of a sudden everyone had it and it was a cash cow for big pharma. No need to discipline your kid when you can give them a pill – now your life can be discipline free!

    The new “disease” everyone has? That would be autism. You hear about it more and more every day even though there is no reason to think it is any more prevalent now than it has ever been before. For some reason now everyone has a kid with autism.

    Remember the trashy family that got kicked off the Southwest flight and the mother kept saying one kid had autism? I’d bet good money that kid has never seen a doctor qualified to make a diagnosis of autism. She saw it on Oprah or something and now tells everyone her undisciplined kid is autistic and can’t help himself. It pays off right? – already got a free flight out of it.

  69. spryte says:

    @speedwell: Oh, FFS. The mother did not use the word bigot and no where does it say she was screaming! Please, if you’re going to argue, try not to make stuff up to suit your opinions.

  70. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    The@Pixelantes Anonymous: Exactly. The restaurant owner would have had every right to remove the screaming kid, and I would have applauded him for doing so – but the cop had NO BUSINESS abusing his authority to tell her to leave.

  71. Womblebug says:

    @MayorBee: We assume Lusnia is an adult. Children do not have the same maturity and decision making capability that adults do, particularly children with certain disorders. Cruelty, in Lusnia’s case, may be a sign of a disorder, but generally we don’t allow sociopaths to act out, as they tend to kill people. =P

    Also, is IHOP really that fancy-schmancy of a restaurant that adults can eat there with the reasonable expectation of a quiet, child-free (or loud child-free) environment?

    If I go to Ruth’s Chris, I expect no loud children. If I go to McDonald’s with the same expectation, I am insane. I would consider IHOP to be more in the latter than the former.

    If you are dead serious about eating without interruption by children, avoid family-style restaurants. I don’t take my child to Chops, don’t complain about my child at Cici’s.

  72. AmbiUbi says:

    As an expectant mother, I have every intention of being as attentive as possible to both my child and those around me. If you’re coming to my house for dinner, that’s one thing. If I’m going out to a resturaunt and bring the baby, if they start crying inconsolably I don’t expect everyone else to have to put up with it too.

    But I would also like to know how much time went by before the cop ordered them out of the place. 1 minute? 20? I still think there’s a fine line between being reasonable and unreasonable. I mean, give me a minute to at least get out the binky to quiet baby down.

    And when did parents stop paying attention anyway and instead adopt this whole “my kid is also your problem” attitude? I remember when I was a kid going to places with my parents and hardly ever hearing kids scream for an indeterminant amount of time. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago when I really started noticing screaming children everywhere whose parents chose to do nothing about it.

  73. Xay says:

    @speedwell: Who said she was neglecting the child? For any upset child, it may take some time to identify what is wrong and calm them down. We don’t know how long the child was crying so you can’t assume that she was neglectful.

    @TheLemon: I’m glad there are so many medical experts on this board. Who needs scientists, psychologists, and doctors when we have armchair experts on Consumerist.

  74. MayorBee says:

    @Televiper: There was no rebuttal to Lusnia, only a swift reporting of the comment for abuse. Similarly, there was no rebuttal to the child crying (or to the parent’s supposed lack of parenting). But people are defending the parent for not parenting but not defending Lusnia for not self-censoring.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find the child at fault at all. A four year old child, autistic or not, is not responsible for his or her actions. The parent, however, I have a problem with.

  75. Maulleigh says:

    I gotta side with the police chief on this one. I overheard one of these crying jags once and it’s off the charts. It’s not like a normal kid throwing a tantrum. It’s bloody murder for about an hour. I’m not kidding.

    Mom should have known better and removed herself from the restaurant immediately instead of expecting everyone to understand. It’s a disturbance.

    That said, if he’s just out and about with his family, he’s no longer in police chief mode but civilian mode. So fuck him.

  76. coan_net says:

    I’m a parent – and my child is not autistic.

    But if my child starts to yell & scream, I will do the adult thing and take my child outside so others do not have to put up with it.

    Even though it sounds like this situation was not handled the best, I have to blame the mother who is using the child’s autism as an “excuse” to ruin everyone elses day by having to listed to the child scream & cry. I believe the mother should also have some classes to help her learn how to be a good citizen & neighbor.

    Sorry, not the most “pc” way to say it – but the parent needs to take responsibility for their own child’s actions….. and not blame a disorder and make it every other persons problem also.

  77. Gokuhouse says:

    Very disturbing how the police chief acted. I hope the town where that officer is, is very proud of him abusing his authority like that. He had no right to kick them out and should be relieved of his authority for the misuse.

  78. Elhigh says:

    I’ve always taught my kids to respect the rights of others in a public place. I don’t know the whole deal with an autistic child, but I wouldn’t tolerate my kids making noise and disturbing others’ meals in a restaurant. I just wish so many other parents would accord me the same consideration.

    I don’t let my kid ruin your meal, don’t let yours ruin mine. Autistic or not, that’s part of the social contract.

  79. TheLemon says:

    @xay: I’m not claiming to be an expert. I don’t know if Canino is/was either. Only offering an interesting opinion related to the matter.

    I do know that if my child were screaming and/or crying in a public place like a restaurant, autism or not, I would remove her. It’s courteous to the other patrons. I’ve done it many times with my own children. Life with small children is not the same as life with adults. You have to adjust, and it’s nice to take the general public into consideration at times.

  80. soloudinhere says:

    This is a common misconception about the ADA.

    It only requires that a person with a disability be physically capable of making use of the facilities. It makes NO statement that the person should be permitted to use the facilities despite behavior that would not be acceptable from a normally-abled individual.

    The restaurant did not refuse to serve an autistic child, that would be a violation of the ADA. They removed a distruptive patron, for which there are no lines of disabled or not.

    If your autistic child is screaming because they’re uncomfortable in a situation, then you need to remove the child for the CHILD’S sake, and it has nothing to do with the other patrons. In this situation the needs of the patrons (not to be disturbed) and the child (who needed to be removed from a situation that was not comfortable for her) agree and it’s not even an issue of disability or not.

    I don’t know what is up with this run on autistic kids though. I’m not that old (my insurance rates haven’t even gone down yet) and I do not remember knowing a single autistic kid when I was growing up. And only a rare few had ADHD. Now it seems EVERYONE’S got one of these developmental disabilities.

  81. TexasScout says:

    I’m not the least bit torn on this one. The restaurant management should have told her to quiet the child or remove her until she calms down. I don’t go out to eat in a nice place to have it ruined by some whiny brat (autistic or not). After the first 30 seconds or so, she should have done something about it. I’m with the Chief on this one.

  82. SadSam says:


    I agree, and that is the problem. Crying/poorly behaved kiddos have invaded many an establishment where they used to be off limits. I was out on Friday night at 11 p.m. at a bar and my husband used the f word. There was a family sitting in the bar area that complained about my husband’s language. The family had two little kids (probably two and four) sitting in a bar area at 11 p.m. on Friday, which in my opinion, is an adult area, and they complained about the adult behaviors (okay, not so adult behavior).

    There really is no kid free zone anymore and I think that is a big reason that folks with crying kiddos don’t get much sympathy (or in your words a minute to console the baby) these days. Kids should not be out at a bar on Friday night at 11 p.m. and they should not be at an R rated movie at 9 p.m. asking mommy why the man on the screen is bleeding from his mouth or at the ballet, etc., etc., etc.

  83. thesabre says:

    What the police chief did was completely inappropriate and I fully respect the rights of the family to dine in public with everyone else. With that said, I think it is time for restaurants to replace their smoking/non-smoking sections with children/non-children sections.

  84. forgottenpassword says:


    As i understand it…. some cities/towns have blanket agreements with business owners regarding police being able to charge others with “tresspassing”. But it could only apply when the business is closed (or when the owner/operater/person in charge is not there). Meaning a police officer could charge you with tresspassing for hanging out in a businesses’ parking lot after hours.

  85. MayorBee says:

    @Womblebug: I agree with you, different restaurants have different expectations of atmosphere. If I were at CiCi’s, I would expect kids to be running around and having a good time. That absolutely doesn’t bother me. I wouldn’t, however, expect a kid to be crying loudly enough to be heard across the restaurant with the parent not doing anything about it. At first I would be concerned for the kid, then annoyed at the parent for not taking care of the child. I tried doing a search on the Buckhead Cafe in Jackson SC, but I couldn’t find out what type of eating establishment it was. It doesn’t seem that crying children are the norm, however, because this is the only one we’ve heard of being asked to leave.

    I agree with the decision to ban Lusnia, as he/she is probably an adult and more than capable of monitoring his/her own actions. I agree with the decision to remove the parent and child from the restaurant because the parent should be caring for the child.

  86. ppiddy says:

    Wow, yeah, it’d be nice to know more here. My guess is the cop was one of those drunk-on-power types, but I also suspect the mom is a bit of a nutter. So let’s call everyone at-fault and move on.

    FWIW, as a parent and as someone that hates crying babies, I think there’s a happy medium here somewhere. Parents need to control their kids, for sure, and try to minimize their impact on others.

    At the same time, I don’t think you non-parents have a right to go out in public and never be exposed to a crying baby. Kids are people, too, and they shouldn’t be marginalized to the point where non-parents only come in contact with people over the age of 21. IMO, that’s no different from expecting to only see whites at the drinking fountain or to be free from driving behind slow senior citizens on the highway or whatever. Kids don’t learn how to behave by hanging out with other kids. They learn by the example that adults set. Flip side is that adults tend to get a little less compassionate towards others when the only people they’re in contact with are 33 year old professionals.

  87. thesabre says:

    @soloudinhere: I think part of the rise in these disabilities is related to the fact that many people are just diagnosed willy-nilly. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a developmental disability with these children, but I think in past generations it will just less likely to be diagnosed either purposefully (my child does not have a disability!) or just because of the lack of knowledge about them.

    Although, there are some children being diagnosed with disorders and given drugs because they don’t want to go to bed at their bedtime or they don’t want to eat broccoli with their dinner. But that’s another topic for another day.

  88. sleze69 says:

    @Televiper: Should a parent starve because one of the kids is a little more excited than the jerks at Consumerist can handle?

    That’s a little dramatic, isn’t it? No one is going to starve if they are asked to leave an IHOP because they can’t control their child. She can let the child scream all it wants with a home-cooked meal.

  89. Cap'n Jack says:

    @Jubilance22: Agreed. Every little bratty kid seems to have autism anymore, which leads me to believe that there’s a lot of parents self-diagnosing their children to use autism as an excuse to be lazy and not raise their children properly.

  90. Youthier says:

    Plain and simple, this was not within the cop’s jurisdiction.

    Let it be said, that I don’t like kids and do not want to hear them crying. But loud kids aren’t breaking the law unless they hit a decibel above the local noise ordinance.

    If this were the restaurant management asking that the child be removed, I would have no issue. But this is an abuse of power and an act of intimidation. I’m sure his coworkers at the precinct are psyched about the damage to their reputation.

  91. lightaugust says:

    By my count, this is the third ‘autistic kid gets kicked out of/ off of…’ story in recent weeks. I think this is less about what that parent should have done than it is about the larger point that as autism continues to rise, our society is less and less equipped to deal with having these people out and about, and going to restaurants and getting on planes as is their right… Autism advocates have been saying for years that there is a wave of kids who are going through the school systems who, before long, are going to start reaching adulthood, and society should probably get a little ready.

  92. AmbiUbi says:

    @SadSam: I agree, they seem to be everywhere and at all times of the day/night. I remember when I went to go see The Sixth Sense in the theater and a few rows ahead of us there was a family: 3 adults, 5 children. Here’s a few points I noticed during the duration of the movie:

    1) No child was over 10 for this R rated movie that was playing at 10pm. K, not that big of a deal, I’m no moralist, whatever. If that’s what you want to show your 8 year old, it’s not my concern.
    2) The children kept loudly asking questions to their parents in Spanish, making me wonder if they understood the movie in the first place.
    3) The baby one of them brought started to cry because it wanted to get up, but instead of picking the baby up and swiftly removing it from the theater, she held the baby up by her hands and allowed her to “walk” herself out of the theater, while the baby was making noise the whole time.
    4) At some point during the movie, I guess the other baby needed a diaper change, so they proceeded to make one kid STAND, thus blocking the view of some, while they changed the diaper on the seat in the theater.

    On the way out I let them know I thought they were the worst family I had ever experienced at an outing. Even though I’ll be having a kid of my own soon, I’m all for there being places, establishments, flights, etc. people can go to and use that are child-free. As long as I can find a baby-sitter, that’s where you’d find me too.

  93. TheLemon says:

    @thesabre: Excellent comment. That was my point when copying Canino’s comment.

    @xay: Lots of armchair experts here. I doubt that many of them would condone letting your child scream and cry in a restaurant. Not because they are medical experts either.

    My problem is with the “But my child is autistic!” defense, as if that is a free pass for any and all behavior in public.

  94. lightaugust says:

    @Cap’n Jack: And, respectfully, autism spectrum disorders are NOT about ‘bratty little kids’, regardless of how the parents should handle them in public. This isn’t the ADD/ ADHD thing where getting the label/ classification gets you the good meds or some extra help at school, and I’d urge anyone starting to think of autism as a fad to look into it a little bit more, or better yet, talk to a parent of an autistic kid. Trust me, no one’s walking out of a doctor’s office hoping the results of the screening come back positive.

  95. Triborough says:

    This reminds me of a joke told to me by a Metro-North conductor about the railroad’s rules for unruly children:
    All screaming children shall be placed in the 11th car of 10 car trains.

    The good of the many often outweighs the good of the one. This seems like a very good case of it in practice. I’d even go the extra step and have ACS investigate the family, since it could be that they are not taking proper care of the child and issue the family a summons for disturbing the peace.

    People have to stop hiding behind the Americans with Disability Act to cover their own malfeasance.

  96. S-the-K says:

    This article reminds me of the “Petarded” episode of “Family Guy”. After Peter learns he is ..um.. mentally handicapped, he used it as an excuse to me a major league jerk.

    In this case, they’re using “autism” as an excuse to disturb the public peace. And because it’s a “disability” everyone is required or expected to suck it up and tolerate it.

    What’s wrong with taking a crying screaming child outside until they calm down before returning? Why does everyone have to suffer because someone can’t control their special little snowflake?

  97. MaliBoo Radley says:

    Why are we assuming that the crying was related to the child’s autism? Sometimes, little kids jus pitch a fit and cry.

    Anyway, when I was little, crying kids were taken out of restaurants by the parents. This benefits the child, parents and all the other diners. Nowadays, parents seem to just ignore the crying kid. I don’t get it.

    As to the parents who might complain that this interrupts their ability to go out to eat: tough shit. You had the kid, you had the inconvenience. That’s how it works. I work hard all week to be able to enjoy a nice meal out with my husband. Please don’t let your kid ruin my meal.

  98. Dr.Martha_Jones says:

    @ThunderRoad: Yes, cases of Autism have increased significantly within the past decade but that doesn’t make it a made up disease. It is worth remembering that although the first modern definition of Autism was written in 1938, “As late as the mid-1970s there was little evidence of a genetic role in autism; now it is thought to be one of the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions.” There are theories attempting to explain the increase, one of which being that there is a link to all the required vaccinations.

    Alzheimer’s has also drastically increased, but no one seems to referring to that as an over-diagnosed cash cow.

  99. Kvinna says:

    I see both sides of this. We don’t know anything about the volume or the duration of the episode – and the cop sounds like a zero-tolerance dick, esp. since he couldn’t get up from his table. But I also think crying/loud children need to be removed within a 2 minute window. In Mpls., there is an ongoing case being played out endlessly in the local TV news and newspapers about a family with an autistic child who has been banned from their church. Touchy subject, definitely.

  100. PinkBox says:

    I went to a restaurant recently with friends who brought their six month old baby along.

    The baby got fussy, and cried a bit – but my friend picked up the child and walked him trying to get him to stop, and he quickly quieted down.

    What amazed me was how many evil looks he got, and this was in a family restaurant! It’s like people expect babies to never cry, and that they should never be taken out of their homes.

    I could understand if the baby had been crying for a long time, non-stop, but this was literally only a minute or two.

  101. spryte says:

    @AmbiUbi: Just because I’m anal….that movie was PG-13. :)

    @radleyas: Okay, maybe it wasn’t the autism that made the child cry, but the crying is possibly exacerbated by the autism, and the calming down is likely more difficult as well.

    And what if during your nice meal with your husband, one of you brought up a topic that the people at the next table found offensive and it ruined their meal? Should you be asked to leave, and would you do it? It really becomes an issue of where to draw the line, but when you use the phrase “ruin my meal” that smacks of overreaction.

  102. MaliBoo Radley says:


    I’m sorry, but crying children ruin my meal. When I’m trying to enjoy an nice evening with my husband and a child is having a big fit, it spoils the mood.

    As for my conversation during a meal, never does a conversation rise to the decibel level of a child crying/screaming, never. For my husband and I, going to restaurant = date night. We tend to speak in slightly hushed tones.

    We have left restaurants because of crying children. And I’m not talking about places like Applebees. I’ve been in 4 star restaurants with crying kids. I don’t get it. Why on earth are people bringing their kids to a place where a meal 30-40 bucks a person? You folks know these kind of restaurants .. cosy booths, subtle mood lighting, no prices on the menu, endless wine list. In the midst of all that, someone has carted out their brood. One of them starts to cry.

    So yeah, in a situation like that, a crying kid ruins the my meal.

  103. Xay says:

    @TheLemon: I understand, but that opinion seems particularly uninformed. There are valid reasons for questioning the number of autism diagnoses, especially as the criteria has changed so much over the last 25-30 years, but none of those reasons are reflected in that comment. Also, the comment you posted had nothing to do with the situation in the OP.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t remove a crying child from a restaurant – I have done so with my son when he was an infant/toddler. My problem is with how so many people are assuming that the mother is lying/neglectful/making up her child’s autism based on an article that provides very little information – including how the other patrons and the restaurant’s manager perceived the situation.

    @NameGoesHere: That’s my problem with the assumptions made here – some people feel that children shouldn’t make a sound at all in public and blow the slightest things out of proportion.

  104. MaliBoo Radley says:


    It’s not hat kids should make a sound in public. It’s all about learning how to behave in a restaurant. In those situations, you have to think about how your behaviour affects others. We aren’t talking about kids at a zoo, park or Chuck E. Cheese for that matter.

  105. MaliBoo Radley says:

    Boy my typing is off today. I meant “It’s not that kids shouldn’t make a sound ..”

  106. AdvocatesDevil says:

    Can everyone please post where you live? From what you say, it sounds like every restaurant and theater in your communities are just packed full of screaming kids, and I would like to never visit there ever. How is it possible that hundreds of people on this site have to deal with screaming kids in their restaurants whenever they go out, and I’ve never had ONE meal ruined by an upset child (and I’m on the road 5 days a week, eating out 3 meals a day). 15 meals a week in restaurants, 50 weeks a year, for the last 5 years. 3,650 meals, not one ruined by a screaming child. It seems to me that maybe the posters in this thread are overstating the true nature of our national epidemic just a tiny bit!

  107. quirkyrachel says:

    I’m pretty sure the correct thing to do would be to remove your unruly child, disability or not. Heck, if autism is an ok excuse for children behaving badly (and for the parents to not remove them if nothing else works), then so is “they’re just kids being kids.”

  108. Xay says:

    @radleyas: But some people do feel that way and some people do get incredibly irritated about minor behavior. Check out some of the child free message boards if you don’t believe me. I’m not saying that’s what happened here – I’m saying that we don’t know what happened.

    Personally, I don’t take my child to non-family restaurants, R rated movies or other places that tend to be more adult oriented because he isn’t mature enough for that type of environment. But I’ve seen people complain about crying babies at a Waffle House – not an establishment known for quiet conversation or mellow atmosphere.

  109. Televiper says:

    @sleze69: The drama seems appropriate amongst the number of adults who’s days are ruined by crying infants. IHOP isn’t exactly the place to go for a quiet meal either. It’s not hard to find places in an urban center with good meals, where you will not find children. Also, what if the parent is traveling? What if the parent is running errands for the day and there is no time to go home? Why is it that parents and children have absolutely no rights here? You know the old saying “enjoy yourself.” That’s said because you can’t really expect to enjoy others.

  110. When I was a kid if I caused a disturbance in a restaurant I’d have been told to be quiet, if I did it again, i’d be outside, 3 times, and we’d have been on the way home where i’d have gotten a spanking and i’d sit in the corner. That’s how it was, you behaved, because if you didn’t you were punished. Autistic or not, this girl should be behaving, and if the parent is unable to get her to behave, then the parent should be asked to leave.

    That being said, the police chief was within his rights as a citizen to ask her to get the kid to stfu, but as soon as he used his position as leverage he was certainly in no-no zone.

    Bottom line here is that the parent should not have put herself in a position that she couldn’t handle.

    Had I been in that restaurant, i’d have spoken up before the police chief did, and I’d be the asshole.

  111. tmed says:

    Damn, I hate when I go out in public, and I find that out there, without calling first, is the public. A crying kid! the rest of my life had been perfect up till now.

    Kids cry, and when it becomes too much and the parent is not doing anything about it, or is unsuccessful in his/her attempts, the responsibility falls to the manager of the business to do something about it (hopefully politely and respectfully), not the police or another patron. If conflict ensues, then it may be appropriate to involve the cops.

    Autism likely had some part in the drama here, as did just having a kid in a restaurant when the kid wanted to be somewhere else. Parenting is hard sometimes, can we not find a respctful way to help with the problems we see, rather than piling on?

  112. meske says:

    @Jubilance22: Well said!

    Me being a parent of a 3yr old, I often take my ‘lil one out of an establishment if he’s acting up and behaving badly. Typically, just taking him outside calms him down enough and he wants to go back in, and behaves the rest of the time.

    As for autism, there are so many levels of the condition. Our pediatrician told us that “back in the day” there were 100+ conditions that are now all being lumped into “autism” (apparently there is a direct correlation to those conditions decreasing while autism is increasing).

    Anyway, even with an autistic child, you need to be cognizant of those around you and the environment you’re in. Be courteous and respectful of your surroundings. If others see you making an effort, then it goes a long way.

  113. AmbiUbi says:

    @spryte: You are SO right. I stand corrected. It certainly gave ME enough heebie-jeebies to be an R!! :)

  114. mrxcel says:

    Some Jokes are just not funny… i bet you would have not said that if you had an autistic children…


  115. bobpence says:

    Public nuisance laws are usually extremely vague, so the chief may have been within his rights, just as he would be to tell a purse-snatcher to let go of a purse he is trying to pull away from its owner. In both cases he is telling someone to cease an unlawful activity, obviously of different degrees, and although public nuisance laws may be overbroad, sometimes even easily-abusable laws legitimately apply.

    Did it apply in this case? This is a different situation than on an airplane, where the child’s misbehavior can endanger himself and others if he is not strapped in during turbulance.

    But autism is a continuum of conditions, and almost all autistic children will live in the larger society. Parents should equip them to do so, including behavior in different settings. As with non-autistic children, this is called “parenting.”

  116. soloudinhere says:

    For the record, this child is 4 years old, which means she is not a baby of the type that can get away with crying because that’s how they communicate. She is old enough to use words and to know how to behave. The disability likely hindered this but this was not the same thing as an infant or even a toddler crying. I can sort of see how the police chief might think it was a kid throwing a tantrum and that is more distruptive to me than a crying baby.

  117. Amy Alkon000 says:

    And what if during your nice meal with your husband, one of you brought up a topic that the people at the next table found offensive and it ruined their meal?

    If you talk that loudly, you should be fitted for a muzzle.

  118. CityGuySailing says:

    @soloudinhere: Sorry to disagree, but as with other disabilities, the apparent SYMPTOM was the crying, not the underlying disabilty, just as with a person with CP the symptom is the lack of mobility. Therefore an owner is REQUIRED to make reasonable accomodations to allow the person with the disibilty, whatever the disability, to utilize the publically available services. There are no exceptions as to the actual disability or the symptoms. Move patrons out of the way for a motorized wheelchair. Build ramps. Provide private rooms. There is nothing out of bounds. It’s a crazy law, but it is LAW. There is no law that requires an owner of a restaraunt to be able to show a profit. The ADA requires the owner to make reasonable accomdations even if such accomodations costs the owner dearly. The owner, in this case, made NO accomodation (it’s pretty apparent, since if there had been such an accomodation, this article would never have been here in the first place). The ADA is a big club with sharp spikes.

  119. impoftheperverse says:


    I’d like to put aside the discussion about the police officer’s actions for a bit, because we don’t know enough relevant facts — length of crying jag, whether others were complaining, etc. — to come to a fair judgement about his decision.

    I would, however, like to respond to some of your points, which I find to be completely beyond the pale.

    Cause guess what, sometimes kids burst out and get upset for reasons that are far beyond a parents control. Even a normal 4 year old is unwittingly loud and obnoxious.

    A child, especially at that age, should NEVER be “beyond a parents control.” That’s part of the definition of being a parent. This is why we, as a society, hold parents responsible for the behavior of young children.

    Taking the child outside to soothe him, or, in the worst case scenario, paying the bill and leaving IS exercising control. It’s what’s expected in a public place.

    Is this parent supposed to abandon lunch and leave in a situation where it takes a few moments to calm the kid back down?

    Spend those “few moments” (which is a relevant term) OUTSIDE, or out of earshot of others. Common courtesy.

    Should a parent starve because one of the kids is a little more excited than the jerks at Consumerist can handle?

    Wow. The mother was being asked to starve? Indulging your penchant for hyperbole makes it difficult to take you and your argument seriously.

    There are parents that have on controllable (sic) and unruly devils.

    If a child is truly uncontrollable, they shouldn’t be in a restaurant. Again, common courtesy.

    No one here is defending a child that went on a tantrum and started throwing things. We’re defending children that act like children and the parents who handle them.

    “Children that act like children?” The majority of children that I see in public on a daily basis are well-behaved. Your point is, I think, dangerously close to the women who were kicked off their flights because their children were out of control; they both publicly admitted that the kids were uncontrollable, and they both seemed oblivious to the fact that this is clear evidence of their failure to perform the duties and obligations of a parent.

    Perhaps the problem is that people are holding 4 year olds to the same standards as 18 year olds.

    Nope. People are holding the parents to the same standard as other adults.

    To be honest, I think it’s pretty well assumed that she was attending to her child’s needs. The prejudice here is unbelievable.

    I didn’t read anything in the article that would lead me to that assumption. I think you’re being predudicial, because you don’t have any evidence to justify that assumption. Perhaps it’s just as likely, if not more so, that the mother simply decided to continue eating and wait the child out, forcing everyone around her to do the same.

    Yes, it is a private establishment. But, more important, it’s open to the public, and it serves the general public. Last I checked, children were members of the general public. If you want to eat in a “Private place” stay home.

    Yes, it’s open to the general public, with the understanding that the expectations of behavior are different than they are at home. As someone pointed out above, that’s the terms of the social contract. If you can’t or won’t adhere to those terms, you don’t get to share a public space. Period.

    If you really want to get away from children when you’re in PUBLIC, stop being cheap and eat some place a little more upscale.

    This is, to me, the most ridiculous of your statements. Following your logic, it’s only the patrons of expensive restaurants who are allowed the expectation of eating their meal in peace.

    How about this: If you really can’t control your children in PUBLIC, stop being selfish and eat someplace a little more isolated, like at home.

    If not, get used to a faceful of hostility from those around you, who DO adhere to the rules of the social contract.

    Oh, and…grow up.

    Lastly, before you ask: yes, I’m a parent. And yes, obviously, I was once a child. So I DO have a frame of reference here.

  120. AmbiUbi says:

    @AdvocatesDevil: Well, the place I personally lived where it was the most noticable and prevalent was in Orange County, CA. Since I’ve moved to the east coast in 2004, I haven’t noticed it nearly as much, and I go out to eat/see movies more often that I did when I lived on the west coast.

    Of course, that may have something to do with population discrepancies? But I don’t agree that this problem is overblown. It’s not just public places where parents can’t seem to take responsibility, either. My hubby has worked in childcare for 15 years and he has seen the quality of parenting has gone way down overall. God forbid you tell some parent their kid did something wrong or didn’t behave properly.

  121. BlondeGrlz says:

    @NefariousNewt: Thank God you’re here.

  122. TheLadyK says:

    I think it depends on the restaurant. Children, all children, need to learn at some point how to handle themselves in public. Learning can involve periods of not getting it quite right.

    I consider IHOP, Denny’s, and their ilk as “practice” not high cuisine. They are family restaurants, which are the proper arena for children to learn how to behave – and occasionally fail at that.

    If you want to be far away from any screaming kid, go to a place that scrapes the crumbs off the linen between courses. (If you get a screaming kid there, yes, kick them out. They need more practice.)

  123. MaliBoo Radley says:


    You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.

  124. Gann says:

    An unrelated-but-related article on Autism:


    Also, for all the people claiming Mr. Rushton abused his authority as police chief, read the article again. Nowhere does it say he even used his position in any way. If he had, there would be a lawsuit. The women even claims that it was embarrassment (well deserved embarrassment, probably) that made her leave in the end, with no mention of abused authority.

  125. opedog says:

    As a parent to an autistic child, I’m fairly amused by the insensitivity shown here. It’s hard enough raising an autistic child, but it’s even tougher when you realize how callous people are with regards to going out. Apparently quite a few posters here have little compassion when it comes to that sort of thing.

    Sometimes myself, my wife, and our 2 children (1 autistic) need to get out some. Keeping our autistic daughter cooped up inside all day so she doesn’t disturb anyone is very bad for her, as she is extremely destructive. So getting her out to a park or for some fries in a restaurant is good for everyone, and helps us as parents center ourselves for the coming days of trying to help her.

    I think a lot of people here take their perfect lives and perfect kids for granted.

    Of course we don’t want our child crying in public… and of course we prepare for that scenario should it arise. We’re armed with soothing M&Ms and as soon as we sit down at a restaurant we immediately order fries before any of our meals so that she’ll have something to eat (as she pretty much only eats things made out of potatoes). If she does begin to cry and we can’t stop her, then we’ll take her out and hope she stops. But get this: she often squeals when she’s happy too! So we’re damned if we do.

    Regardless of our struggle, many of you would be a lot happier if you complained less about things out of your control. We do everything we can to quieten our daughter when she’s having a hard time, but if we have to also deal with other glaring people when we try and go out once a month, things are even more difficult.

  126. bdgbill says:

    Here we go again. Once someone says the word “autisim” we must all grin and passivly put up with anything a child is doing.

    Kid having a fit and rolling around on the floor of a plane trying to take off? “Leave him alone. He’s autisitic”

    Kid screaming at the top of her lungs non-stop in a restaurant? Too bad. 50-60 other people will just have to be miserable so that one autisitc kid and her mom can go to a restaurant like everyone else.

    Is there any behavior we could complain about an autistic child doing in public without being treated like heartless monsters? What if the kid squatted down on the floor and took a dump? What if she started throwing food? What would the acceptable response to these behaviors be?

  127. Sollus says:


    Excellent points.

    Everyone else shouldn’t have to suffer because of some stupid “parent” who isn’t parenting.

  128. ARPRINCE says:

    @spryte: Thank you for the voice of reason. Reading some of the comments here show you how intolerant and badly informed some people are on autism.

    No one will know how it is or how it’s like until (God forbid) they have their own child or personally know someone close afflicted with autism.

  129. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I think this all depends on where you’re taking your child for a meal. Are you going to family restaurant? A place where they serve pancakes? If so, I don’t care if your kids cries. It’s a family place, it’s sort of expected. But are you taking your kid to a more adult establishment? Is there a bar? If so, you might want to rethink your decision.

  130. theBIG says:

    It seems to me that autism may be the new ADD.

    Since there is no absolute test for diagnosis – everything is getting called autism. Now I’m not saying their arent kids with autism, but it seems like its getting pretty prevalent.

  131. MaliBoo Radley says:


    Let me ask you this as sort of a devil’s advocate: Why should I, who has no child, have to be informed about your autistic child? I don’t know you and certainly don’t know your kid is autistic. You really expect the world as a whole to stop on a dime for you and your child? Are you and yours more important than the rest of the population as a whole? Do you really want you child to be treated as special or disabled? Don’t you want your kid to be treated just like any other kid?

    Seriously, why should it be incumbant upon me to learn about the minutiae of your family? How am I supposed to know? Or do you enter every public place with a bullhorn announcing that you have an autistic child?

    All the rest of us see is a parent and a child. We can’t see the illness. How can we be sensitive to it if we don’t know it’s there?

  132. christoj879 says:

    @apotheosis: You made my punday.

    I wonder if I created a restaurant designed specifically for parents with screaming brats? They could come and scream ALL they want, hell, they’d get money off their check if they screamed the loudest! You know who would go there? Nobody, not even the parents of these little assholes, because nobody likes screaming kids.

    Disability or not, the onus is on the parents to ensure their child is quiet during the meal. If it were my kid, I’d (and I know it’s harder with an autistic kid, but still possible) tell them we’re quieting now or we’re leaving. Tell it to them once more then remove them. Once they can maintain composure they can come back in.

  133. Chaosium says:

    @Magnakai Haaskivi: Saying she “began crying” does not mean that she wasn’t carrying on and on. It was a choice of the writer of the article and doesn’t factor into the timeline.