Learning the eating habits of children is often a very painful experiences. For one thing, you never know how the child themselves is going to react to the food. For another, you never know how the child’s body is going to react to the food. It’s a lot of trial and error.
So when Reddit user spam1424 noticed a pattern of trial and error in a recurring customer in her restaurant, she became worried that the child’s parents were not adhering to the clear pattern she was recognizing. She then took matters into her own hands to save the child’s stomach…and to save her restaurant’s booths.
After some serious blowback from the child’s parents, she turned to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some feedback from objective strangers.
“AITA… for refusing to let someone order an item off the menu?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about her place of work where this family comes on the regular:
“I’m a waitress at a restaurant chain know for their ice cream. (Do with that what you will) and I have a semi regular family that comes in every once in a while.”
“Every time they come in they order their youngest child Mac and cheese. The first time I served them, the child threw up all over the booth. “
“I didn’t think much of it, just that he was sick or had an upset stomach. I clean up the booth.”
This, however, continued to happen cyclically.
“The next time was the same thing. Mac and cheese then puke. Again in the booth and on the table.”
“This is an every time occurrence, the kid orders Mac end cheese then throws up. The kid never gets to the bathroom, and most the time he doesn’t even make an attempt to leave the table.”
“I believe once he started walking to the bathroom.”
After it continued to happen, OP put her foot down.
“This most recent time they came in and I was their waitress the child went to order Mac and cheese again, and I asked the mom.”
“’Is he okay to have that? He gets sick every time….’ the mom said ‘Oh yah Kraft Mac and Cheese makes him sick, but he wants it.'”
“I said ‘ma’am, I’m sorry but I don’t think your child should order this if you know he’s going to puke from eating it. And quite frankly I really don’t want to have to clean up vomit tonight.'”
Mom wasn’t happy, but eventually conceded the point.
“The mom threw a bit of a fit, but when I said, ‘why are you allowing your child to order a food that makes him sick, just to have someone else clean it up.’”
“And the manager had came over and was agreeing with me, she ordered him chicken tenders and fries instead.”
“Was I in the wrong for not wanting/allowing him to order the Mac and cheese that makes him sick?”
“I’ve shared this story with a few people and I’ve had some mixed reactions.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors agreed that OP was definitely the person with her head on straight.
“NTA I have never heard of such a ridiculous thing. I can guarantee the mother isn’t giving her child mac n cheese at home.”
“But since she doesn’t have to clean up the mess she doesn’t care.”
“What confuses me the most is that the mom knows that the Mac n cheese makes him sick and still lets him eat it. That sounds like bad parenting.”~Majestic-Meringue-40
“If the food *consistently* makes him puke, then he’s probably allergic to something in it, and repeated exposure is likely to aggravate that allergy.”
“Potentially to the point where it triggers not just puking, but a fatal anaphylactic shock reaction.”~DesiArcy
“NTA. That mother is atrocious. Absolute low life act to allow your child to eat something that makes him throw up repeatedly and expect others to clean up after him?”
“It almost sounds like child neglect to me. Appalling. You poor thing.”~V-838
“Definitely NTA. Even the thought of cleaning up someone else’s vomit makes me want to puke. 🤢”
“Next time, if the mom really wants to order the Mac n Cheese for her kid, tell her to bring in her own barf bucket (like my parents did for me as a kid who got carsick VERY easily).
“Or have the mom contractually agree to clean up the mess herself or else face a $200 cleaning fee. J/K, kinda.”
“I think for legal and liability reasons, it is a good idea that you guys don’t knowingly feed the kid something that makes him sick.”~smarteapantz
In fact, Reddit thinks that the mother is basically committing medical neglect on her child.
“NTA- what is wrong with this lady? This kid obviously cannot tolerate it. Honestly, I’m a mom myself.”
“I would have been mortified if my kid vomited in a restaurant. I know things happen, but to let this happen multiple times and think it’s not a big deal is beyond me.”~CAgirl17
“NTA. This sounds more than reasonable. The parents need a reality check and need to learn to say no to their child.”
“I’m glad your boss was on your side instead of being one of those scared the-customer-is-always-right bosses.”~Bennemans1984
“So many questions… Why does Mac and cheese make him sick? Is this a known allergy? Is the mom not concerned?”
“Is it a dairy thing? Why does he want it if it makes him sick? Why does the mom let him order something that is going to make him sick?”
“Who brings their child to a restaurant to puke? Why does she expect you to clean up after he keeps puking?”
“Do they sit there after he pukes or is that the cue to leave? Does she not have to clean his clothes? Does she have to feed him again if he just puked his dinner up? But mostly… wtf?! NTA”~yovakcans
“NTA. If something makes your child sick every time they have it, then you shouldn’t be giving it to them. It’s obvious that they are having a reaction to it.”
“And what tackiness to do that at a restaurant where the waitstaff and all the other diners get to deal with it. Blech.”
“Good for you and your manager not allowing that bs to continue.”~Thriftyverse
Such a strong, immediate reaction to the food denotes a likely food allergy–something that could kill the child if gone unchecked.
“NTA. But if you have their names, a call to CPS might be in order. That child needs to be checked for milk intolerance/allergies whatever.”
“And then put on an appropriate diet. It would be the parents‘ job to teach their child how to eat so as not to make himself sick.”
“But they have obviously not talked to a doctor about this, yet, and that looks like neglect.”~Jollydancer
“The mom: What do you mean you won’t let me make my kid sick?! That’s so not fair! You should be honoured to clean up his throw up!”
“But no- op, NTA. You just did a better job at parenting then those parents ever could.”
“Stand your ground and pray that the next time those parents enable that child’s Mac and cheese desire that he throws up all over them.”~GiveAPennyToKenny
“NTA I’m an EMT. Cleaning up vomit is NOT a part of your job, legally, unless you are trained in appropriate Body Substance Isolation.”
“As others mentioned, allergies grow increasingly sensitized after each exposure, and if they don’t have an Epipen and this kid goes into anaphylactic shock, which is more and more likely, he will die.”
“If I responded to this call, I would be mandated to report potential child abuse. ‘Let people parent,’ only applies to when they’re actually doing it.”
“It doesn’t extend to ‘let people medically neglect their child.’ I’m literally stunned that some people you talked to thought you should participate in this abuse.”~fallowferal
“NTA but you shouldn’t be the person who had that conversation with the customer. Your manager should have taken their table and refused to sell the item.”
“You set yourself up for corporate to potentially fire you depending on how uptight they are.”
“Managers get paid to do the refusals. Make them do it.”~normanbeets
While yes, it is true in some cases that butting into people’s parenting is a bad idea, that does not extend to things that directly impact you or the safety of the child.
Or in this case, being exposed to potentially hazardous bodily fluids, such as vomit, during a global pandemic.