Ranty McRanterson… you can call me that.
Sitting at McDonald’s – not Casa Fancy Pants – with my mom, my sister and all of our kids (ok, only four kids… that sounded a little dramatic) because my mom loves McDonald’s * ahem * anyway, at the table next to us there are three people speaking a foreign language – one man and two women.
After my son finished eating he came over to me and started talking to me about something or other. Now if you know any kids, some of them, when they are talking, don’t always keep their bodies in check… boundaries are a bit of an issue. So as my son is talking to me, he is wiggling his body around – not excessively, but enough to encroach on the man at the next table’s space.
My son’s leg made it into the man’s space… he didn’t kick him, his leg made it’s way under the man’s table… not kicking him or actually touching the man or his body. But he turned to look at us like we were second-class citizens and lifted his arm as if to somehow shield him from our beauty, or… er, uh, to shoo us away… when I said to my son,
“Watch it Andreas, looks like you’re in this man’s space.”
And my son said,
“I’m sorry.” And moved away from the man.
The man gave us what I would call a dirty look and just kept eating his fries and I — a little taken aback — said to him,
“My son said sorry to you.”
He then flashed me a quasi-disgusted look and lifted his arm again… very strange behaviour if you ask me.
So I repeated myself a little louder, slightly incredulous/outraged and with hand gestures,
“My son just said sorry to you.”
He looked away and said something to his female cohorts in their native tongue and my son moved back to his seat and said to me,
“Mom, I don’t think they speak any English.”
And we went on with our day.
People like that man really get under my skin. I get that you may or may not speak English. Maybe you feel somehow better than us because you are sitting at McDonald’s without children (why? Anyway…) but I am doing my best to teach my child good manners and hot damn it, society should help us parents out a little bit by leading by example.
When a child takes it upon himself to say “Sorry” or “Excuse Me” I think it is your duty as someone who shares the air with this kid to reciprocate with something. Don’t you think? A little smile, a simple, “that’s ok” or “thank you” or “no worries” goes a long way in teaching children how the world should work and what the best way to behave is.
So to that miserable man eating at McDonald’s: Shame on you for making my kid feel shunned when he actually did the right thing. Even if my son was right and you don’t speak English… you knew what was going on. I hope you get better at this life thing… because one day my son is going to grow up and help your sorry old ass.