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Robin Garr

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Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happened

by Robin Garr » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:40 am

This Should Never Have Happened

By Marsha Lynch

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It’s Derby Week, and I should be writing a pithy column about how to score the best reservation and where to get the best box lunch to take with you to the track. I should be schooling you on how to sneak your liquor into the infield, via fake breast implants and/or false-bottom cooler magic.

However: a five year old child died in an Atlanta restaurant last Friday. The child and his parents, vacationing from a nearby state, came in for a late lunch. The restaurant they chose for their meal famously gives a 360 degree revolving panoramic view of the city from its perch on the penultimate floor of a tower hotel.

We have a revolving restaurant in Louisville. Many years ago I dined there with a friend and set my purse down by my feet when we were seated. Half an hour later I realized my purse was missing, and I freaked out, only to have a server calmly walk across the dining room and retrieve it from underneath someone else’s table – I’d set it on the non-moving ledge while the dining room floor spun away. It’s a funny story I’ve dined out on for years, but it doesn’t seem so funny this week.

By all accounts, the little boy was only out of sight for a few moments. There are many articles claiming the kid was literally only 4 or 5 feet away from his parents when he somehow got wedged in the 4-inch space between the revolving floor and the stationary rim of the dining room. Hold a finger out; your index finger is probably about four inches long. The revolving floor mechanism had a built-in emergency feature that was supposed to stop the revolution instantly when any resistance was detected. And it did eventually stop, at which point employees and other diners made heroic efforts to free the child, which they finally did. But it was too late. This child died soon after at the hospital he was transported to by emergency services.

Many thousands of internet comments on news stories have weighed in on who is at fault for this tragedy. Some blame the mechanical engineers who designed the revolving floor system. Fair enough? Four inches seems like a pretty big gap that any munchkin determined enough could get their hand into. Some are mad at the emergency stop feature that perhaps didn’t stop soon enough to save the child’s life.

Some blame the parents.

There are hundreds of articles each year about whether and when children should be brought to restaurants. “When they can behave properly,” say some. Others say “How can you teach children how to have public dining manners if you don’t bring them out in public to eat?”

I am childless. I am firmly in the “don’t bring them to a restaurant until you’re pretty sure they can behave” camp, but I get a lot of shit from my mom and dad friends for this stance. Naturally, it depends on the restaurant and level of service. If they’re going to go wild at Chuck E. Cheese’s, probably nobody will look askance. But even at Chuck E. Cheese’s, it’s dangerous as can be to let your kids do a walkabout, even if they are not running amok.

Imagine you look away for a few moments and your child wanders into a restaurant kitchen – a place chock full of sharp knives and hot pots of steaming liquid. Or picture your kid just running a few feet from your table and colliding with the knees of a server carrying a tray full of beverages in breakable glass and plates filled with screaming hot entrees.

I have the utmost sympathy for the parents who lost their child in this freak accident. They’ll probably never wake another morning of their entire lives without thinking what they could have done to avoid it. The unfortunate truth is, they could have done something to avoid it – they could have kept their child at their table or taken him to the restroom or the lobby if he was so insistent upon getting up.

I know parents want their children to have a spectrum of experiences during their development. I get it. Please teach them that if you go out to eat, part of the experience is that they must stay seated and never, ever be out of eyeshot. If they can’t manage that, then perhaps you need to keep them at home or in the loving care of a child sitter when you do want to dine out yourselves.

Marsha Lynch has worked at many Louisville independent restaurants including Limestone, Jack Fry’s, Jarfi’s, L&N Wine Bar and Bistro, Café Lou Lou, Marketplace @ Theater Square, Fontleroy’s and Harvest.

Read it on LouisvilleHotBytes:
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/this- ... e-happened

Read it also in LEO Weekly’s Food & Drink section today:
http://www.leoweekly.com/category/food-drink/
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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Carla G » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:40 am

Excellent article Marsha and I was so happy to see it addressed.
I work with children everyday, kids not my own. I worked with hundreds by this time. I had my own child as well. As she was growing up we visited dozens of restaurants ( her father was in the restaurant business at the time.) Never was she allowed to leave the table unescorted ...period.
When I work with other people's' kids part of their training is how to behave in a restaurant. I never allow them away from the table. I do take a small bag of quiet , hand held toys, puzzles, or books so they can learn how to entertain themselves while seated. It is my belief that if a dog can be trained to sit and stay then kids can be trained as well. It does take a willingness on the parents part to invest the time and that's when the ball get dropped.
"She did not so much cook as assassinate food." - Storm Jameson
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Marsha L.

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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Marsha L. » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:43 am

Thanks for weighing in as a parent/child care veteran, Carla. I'm always suspect of whether I'm saying the right things when addressing an issue like this, especially one involving a death (which is rare, but there are many injury stories in this vein).
Marsha Lynch
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Suzi Bernert

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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Suzi Bernert » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:15 am

Our children were all taught to sit during a meal, EVERY meal, until told they could leave the table. They were taught to ask "May I be excused?" at home and for a specific reason to leave the table when eating out. Even at McDonalds. I was out once with our youngest at McDs and he asked to go to the PlayPlace. I told him to finish his food and we would go. A mom at the next table turned around and said her kids never ask to go play and seemed amazed that mine did. My first thought was "and whose fault is that?". I still wonder why people let their children run wild in a restaurant or any public place that is not a playground, it is so dangerous for the child and those around them.

I am not saying that the death of that child is the parents' fault, we don't know all the circumstances. Kids are slippery, fast little people and they do get away sometimes. I will pray for those parents, they have a terrible path to walk.
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Heather L

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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Heather L » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:20 pm

I have to be completely honest - I think that LEO didn't do you any favors by tweeting this out using the text that they did. Yes, they took a piece of a sentence from the article (assuming it was altered to be within the character limit) but it's not a direct quote and the way it comes across to me makes the article seem much more harsh than the feelings that I got when I when read your article this morning. I think using the headline itself would have been much more appropriate. I don't know if I am explaining myself clearly - but it just struck me as trying to stir something up. When the push back is at you and not the LEO.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:41 pm

Heather L wrote:I think that LEO didn't do you any favors by tweeting this out using the text that they did.

I don't know about Marsha, but I didn't see the tweet. Now you're going to make me go look! :mrgreen:
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Robin Garr

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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:42 pm

:shock:

Yes, Heather, I think you hit the nail on the head.
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Re: Marsha’s Industry Standard: This Should Never Have Happe

by Joel F » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:40 pm

It's been posted to another group on FB and the comments are not well tempered (for the most part).

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