This weekend, my family and I were at a restaurant when my four-year-old started having a meltdown at the table because she couldn’t cut her sausage. I recognized that it had the potential of becoming a prolonged cry-fest, so I went over, picked her up, and took her over by the bar, where there were fewer people.
As I tried to soothe her, a male restaurant employee leaned over the bar and started repeatedly asking my daughter, “Is everything alright?” You will not be surprised to find that this did absolutely nothing to calm her. And furthermore, it annoyed me, as it always does when another adult tries to jump in while I’m comforting my kid.
I walked away from the unwanted parenting helper and tried to get my daughter to count to ten, which usually helps her calm down. It only got worse, and by that point, people were starting to stare at me.
Suddenly, I heard a voice right behind me say, “Is everything alright?” and I knew it was the bar tender. I wheeled around, looked him right in the eye, and curtly said, “Will you please let me handle this?” And then I looked down – the dude was holding an ice cream cone for my daughter.
“Um – look, I’m sorry,” I said, looking down. “I’m just trying to help my daughter and – anyway, I’m sorry. Thanks for the ice cream,” and then I took my daughter to the bathroom and gently force-fed her the ice cream until she realized how good it was and settled down.
Look, I know, I know. The guy should have let me handle it – I agree, but his heart was in the right place, and I copped an attitude with him before I even saw his face.
It’s a picture of so many other times that I’ve given myself permission to judge, to take a harsh tone, to assume someone’s motives before I know all of the facts. It’s so easy to do – and it’s foolish.
The good news is that after calming my daughter down, I went over and offered a real apology to the guy, who was very gracious. So it all worked out in the end. But my hope is that next time I have an opportunity to make a snap judgment, I’ll have the good sense to exercise some self-control and wait until I get all the facts first.