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Restaurant Owner Helps Autistic Diner

Life Lessons From a Child Diner With Autism

Dining out with a child causes a certain fear within parents. They don't worry about the restaurant lacking a childrens menu or their child spilling something on their clothes. They worry that fellow diners will complain about their child being too loud and be asked to leave. Restaurant manager Tony Posnanski recently found himself in this situation, when a group of diners complained about a child who'd been "beeping" during their meal. As Tony approached the noisy table, the child's mother turned to him and asked, "Do you know what it is like to have a child with autism?"

"You were not rude when you asked the question," Tony writes in his open letter to the woman and child who sat at table nine. Rather, she and her daughter seemed scared about what would happen next. As a father of two, Tony knew the struggles that come with raising children and couldn't imagine how much more difficult that would be if one child had autism. So, rather than follow protocol, which would involve asking the child to keep quiet or even leave, Tony high-fived the little girl and paid for the family's meal.

"I did not want to be like other managers for one moment," Tony writes. "I did not want to tell you what you always heard." Tony adds that the moment taught him something that took almost 15 years of restaurant work to learn.


"Sometimes doing the right thing does not make everyone happy, just the people who need it the most."

For more on Tony's life-changing lesson, read the full story on Huffington Post.

Image Source: Shutterstock
Ann15373039 Ann15373039 3 years
Being a mother and grandmother of special children I applaud this manager. Too often strangers have no idea of what it is to walk even a block in our shoes, let alone a mile.
missnanny missnanny 3 years
I think each situation should be addressed individually. People who go out to restaurants that have child menus should realize that there is always the possibility of children being there. Now if you go out to some high end restaurant - I think you should be able to expect that things will go differently. Nothing worse than going out for a night on the town with your date, and being interrrupted by children that are not necessarily autistic or have some other disability, but by children whose parents don't care what the kids do.
RasheemaRhyne1389123108 RasheemaRhyne1389123108 3 years
Love this! I have one son who is autistic and a toddlerboy so eating out is very tough. It is like hhaving two toddlers and my autistic son likes to go under the tables, turn all around and watch people eating, and wants yo go to the bathroom every 5 mins. Its no picnic trust me! So thank you for the manager in this story for comforting the family.
JenniferRogers4136 JenniferRogers4136 3 years
Love this story. Although I do not have a child with autism, I totally appreciate the response Tony had to the situation. I have only had one incident when I first started taking my then 8 month year old to a restaurant, where I got dirty looks and stares from an older couple, it really bothered me. If a restaurant has a child menu, people should expect to possibly have some times where childs are a little less than quiet. They never know what is going on behind the scenes, or in this case, the autism and struggles the parents have at times.
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