A Facebook exchange between the owner of a Maine diner and the mother of a screaming young girl brought the wildfire capabilities of social media to a classic – and divergent – debate over parenting in public.
Darla Neugebauer, who owns Marcy’s Diner in Portland, was unapologetic after yelling “That needs to stop!” and pointing at a girl who she said had been screaming for the better part of an hour.
“You have a problem with a child crying then you are not suitable to run a business,” the child’s mother, Tara Carson, posted to the diner’s Facebook page after the encounter.
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Neugebauer then responded with an expletive-laden post, which has since been taken down, that blamed Carson’s parenting, saying that the child had been struggling to eat a large order of pancakes, and that the adults at the table were ignoring the crying. She later defended her actions to a local news station.
Parents, people without children and restaurant industry veterans soon congregated on the page to share their thoughts on whether Neugebauer’s actions were out of line.
“Good for you!!!” wrote a user named Jill Brown, who gave the restaurant a 5-star rating. “I own a restaurant in NC and this is a universal problem.”
“Unprofessional business owner,” wrote a 1-star reviewer, Albert Lee. “Who screams at a baby?”
By Tuesday, the debate had crossed over to Twitter.
Perhaps hoping to avoid situations like this, many business owners around the world have bluntly refused children in their establishments. Last summer a restaurant in California barred children with a sign posted out front: “Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room.”
It is hard to say who won the latest round of a continuing parenting debate, but by Tuesday, Marcy’s Diner had netted an average rating of 3.6 stars out of 5 and more than 9,000 reviews on Facebook, with new posts arriving almost by the second.