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Restaurants

Maine diner owner faces backlash for yelling at toddler to stop crying

Is it okay for a restaurant owner to yell at a toddler?

That's the debate raging on social media after the owner of a Maine diner says she's not sorry for yelling at a 21-month-old child for crying in her restaurant because it got the girl to be quiet.

Darla Neugebauer, owner of Marcy's Diner in Portland, is defending her actions after a backlash on social media among people who say they'll never eat at the restaurant again.

Neugebauer wrote on Facebook that the girl had been crying for more than 40 minutes by the time she slammed her hands on the counter and told the girl to be quiet.

She told WCSH-TV that the parents ordered three full-sized pancakes for the child but ignored her, and she claimed they didn't feed her after the food arrived.

"Life's full of choices and you've got to live with all of them," Neugebauer said. "I chose to yell at a kid, it made her shut-up, which made me happy, it made my staff happy, it made the 75 other people dining here happy, and they left, they may never come back, other people may not come in. Their loss really."

The girl's mother, Tara Carson, wrote on Facebook that anyone with young children should understand that crying is normal after waiting such a long time for food.

"I turned to my daughter and I was like 'Listen, this is how I'm raising you not to be as an adult. Like, you will never be like this when you get older,'" Carson said. "I felt helpless as a mom that, you know, I couldn't do anything to help her, because I can't explain why there's crazy people in this world that behave like that."

The debate has taken a life of its own on social media where users are split and hashtags like #dinergate and #marcysdiner have appeared on Twitter. There's even a Facebook page, Moms for Marcy's Diner.

Others say business owners have no right trying to discipline other people's children.

 

Where do you stand?  Let us know.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.