Most restaurants will try to accommodate people with specific dietary needs, but they are restaurants after all.
So, if someone has sensory issues and you need to bring your own food, calling in advance and making sure it doesn’t go against the restaurant’s policies is the polite thing to do.
Redditor outsidefoodanon encountered this very issue with his daughter. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for bringing outside food to the restaurant?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“This took place a few years ago but it had longer consequences.”
“My then 4 year old daughter had (and still has) major sensory issues, especially with food. At the time, she only had 3 safe foods that she would eat and we had just gotten her into therapy for her sensory/eating after a couple of years of being brushed off by doctors.”
OP explained the situation.
“My grandparents were celebrating their golden anniversary at a restaurant and the whole family was coming. At the time, we only left our daughter with family and since mine would be at the party and my husband’s were busy, we had to bring her.”
“The issue was, the restaurant had none of her safe foods.”
“The party would be pretty long and she’d get to see cousins her own age, so we made the choice to bring one of my daughter’s safe foods. Myself and brother were paying about $500 for this dinner (grandparents picked the venue), not including the alcohol, so I figured one dish wouldn’t be a huge deal.”
“It was time to eat and I gave our orders to the waiter. When the food came, I waited for him to leave and took out my daughter’s meal from her bag (ham and cheese sandwich with a side of berries).”
Then, the drama started.
“No one said anything until the waiter came back to check on us and saw it. He said there was no outside food.”
“I pulled him aside and explained the situation.”
“I didn’t want to be ‘that’ person but I did ask for a manager, explaining to her that her waiter did zero wrong but asking for an exception given how much we were spending and given, my daughter couldn’t eat anything off the menu.”
“She agreed and left, but my family was embarrassed.”
OP’s family was not supportive.
“They claimed it ruined the party.”
“Now my daughter is 7 and is a lot better with her sensory issues.”
She’s still what an outsider would consider a ‘picky eater,’ but she can eat so much more now and can eat at a restaurant no problem.”
“But my family won’t invite us when they go out to dinner, even seeing how well my daughter eats at parties/family events at people’s houses. They say I’ll ruin it by bringing outside food, even when I say I won’t.”
“Am I the asshole?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was the a**hole.
“We only have OP’s semi-vague description of how the conversation went, but from the sound of it, it went something like:”
“Waiter: Hey, no outside food allowed!”
“OP: Let me talk to your manager!”
“OP to Manager: We are spending X amount of money here, so we shouldn’t have to follow your rules, tell your staff to leave us alone!”
“In all likelihood, all OP had to do was have a conversation with the restaurant staff when making the reservation, or when they got there.”
“Instead of doing that, he decided to try and sneak the food in (deliberately waited for the staff to leave before bringing her daughter’s food out) which resulted in the eventual confrontation with staff, which OP then resolved by trying to justify her actions by throwing the amount of money they were spending in management’s face.”
“Which is a bad excuse, because everyone pays for food at a restaurant and is still expected to follow the restaurant’s rules.” ~ ghozztz
“This. And some families can be really conflict avoidant and genuinely have found the ordeal really embarrassing.”
“I eat my steak rare. When I would go out to restaurants with my family (so generally this was when I was under 20) and ordered it rare, I would end up getting a medium steak 75% of the time. I would usually not eat much until my parents convinced me to speak up since I was ordering correctly and it was getting paid for by them.”
“After having to send steak back X amount of times, my Dad just asked me if I could start ordering something different.”
“I don’t think either of us were AH’s. I was always polite, he was getting embarrassed.” ~ merouch
“We also don’t know that bringing outside food was an isolated incident…all OP said is that her daughter is much better with foods now, not that it was the only time that happened.”
“If it wasn’t the one time, I certainly wouldn’t want to invite someone to dinner who was going to cause a fuss every single time.” ~ emi_lgr
“Mild YTA for not checking with the restaurant and clearing things before the party. If they absolutely don’t allow outside food for policy or health reasons, you would’ve created a sucky situation.” ~ dbohat
But some argued ESH.
“I would definitely say ESH considering OP’s family’s out-of-proportion reactions to this single isolated incident.”
“Saying that OP’s daughter’s eating a ham sandwich and OP’s stepping away to speak to the waiter/manager for a maximum of 10 minutes “ruined the party”, and refusing to invite OP and their family to any events or dinners at restaraunts for three years now as a result is ridiculously petty.”
“You make a great point—OP should’ve called ahead and mentioned it to the waiter at the beginning of the dinner to make sure it was okay and avoid any issues—but their family is majorly blowing this one incident out of proportion and are definitely being AHs for their absolute refusal to let it go.”
“Especially since they both were and are aware of OP’s daughter’s sensory issues regarding food.” ~ DumpstahKat
Making arrangements with the restaurant in advance—rather than trying to be sneaky then asking for an exception—is the adult thing to do and a much better example for the child.