Okay, so after the idiot who let loose pepper spray in Starbucks, I really believed that I was finished with stupid grown ups. Apparently not. Yesterday, I witnessed two grown women practically throwing punches in the McDonald's play area. I was sitting at a booth outside the play area, once again trying to get some writing done, with a friend of mine. My friend had brought her five-year-old daughter to play. Apparently, a grandmother tried to correct a little girl who had run into her granddaughter. At which point the mother of the little girl stood up and yelled, "If you have a problem with my kid, you come to me! You don't talk to her about it!" What ensued was the type of show that no one expects with their greasy fries. There was yelling, name-calling and cursing. Did I mention the room full of children that had front row seats to this show of adult misbehavior? Another mother tried to put herself between the two yelling women and remind them that there were children present. She got yelled at too.
Then came a mass exodus from the play area. Mothers hastily gathered coats and shoes and ushered their kids out the door. Someone else fetched the restaurant manager who interceded along with a burly guy who was working the restaurant's grill. The fighting women did not throw any punches but they threw enough insults to make a sailor blush. My only thought was for the little ones involved. If the women behaved this way in public, how the heck were they behaving at home?
There is an unspoken etiquette that applies to play areas which goes beyond the written rules on the cute posted signs. I don't mind if another parent steps in and admonishes my children as long as she isn't mean or malicious about it. I believe that it takes a village to raise children. If my children's behavior goes against our societal rules then I want my neighbor/friend/fellow citizen to step in and tell them in a kind way. Isn't kindness and respect for others some of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids? I don't think the two women at McDonald's have learned those lessons yet.