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My Open Letter to the Haters at Table No. 5

Dear Couple at Table No. 5,

Hi, it's me. One of the moms at Table No. 6 from Saturday night. The blonde one who didn't say much when we met, mostly because she was in a state of shock and stunned by the lack of human kindness and rudeness you displayed. I was slack-jawed and giving you that squinty-eyed stare (as if squinting helps one's hearing) trying to figure out what the hell you were saying. It was tough, primarily because the Beastie Boys song that Tacolicious was blasting was super loud. So, mostly I just saw the hatred in your eyes, the tension in your bodies and the angst that seemed to ooze from every one of your pores.

One of the few things I could actually make out over the blaring refrains of "so whatcha, whatcha, whatcha, want" was that you were apparently taken aback that families would dare to take their children out to dinner on a Saturday night. Actually, it wasn't really night. We sat down to eat around 5:45 and left at about 7:30 so, technically, it was more evening than night.

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But I digress.

Apparently in your opinion, as you stated, taking children out to eat on a Saturday EVENING was against the rules. Rules that, also apparently, we weren't privy too.

Now, I get that you were on a date. Well, I don't know if date is the right word — it was more like two people who were stuck with each other and decided to go eat out. Generally on a date, as least one person cracks a smile at least once, and there is actual talking between the two of you. But in your case, Table No. 5, it appears the only moments of conversation occurred when you were gesturing to our children and complaining about them.

The children! Our children! Let's talk about them!

The worst thing, by far, wasn't that we disturbed your dinner. It was that you disturbed our well-behaved kids.

I have to assume, based on your reaction to our very well-behaved children, that you:
a) Are visiting from Vulgaria, where children are illegal
b) Were locked up with the Mole Women in Indiana and have yet to assimilate back into society
c) You just hate children

Odds are, you've probably seen children before, and I'd guess that not many of them were more well-behaved then ours. My daughter and her friend sat there, generally quite still. They weren't running around. They weren't hiding under the table. They weren't playing tag down the aisle of the restaurant. They weren't pelting you with spit balls. They were sitting there, eating and chatting. Was it the chatting that was bothering you? How? How could that possibly overwhelm the sweet, sweet sounds of the '90s that screamed from the speakers. Was it because they were singing at one point? Yeah, they did sing a traditional song from Ghana that they are learning for their Spring Sing. But you know what? They were singing quietly and, if you did actually hear it, you should have counted yourself lucky — it was off-the-hook awesome.

Now, I could kinda see your point if we were at, like, Boulevard, Gary Danko or La Folie, three fancypants eateries in San Francisco. But we were at Tacolicious, a place that's not just known for their awesome tacos and killer margaritas but for their super family-friendly atmosphere. They have kids menus, crayons and, every Monday, 15 percent of all their proceeds go to public schools via the Tacolicious School Project; they've already raised $500,000 for local public schools.

Every single time we've been to Tacolicious (and we've been there a TON), there have been kids there. Every. Single. Time. This is not the kind of restaurant you go to in order to avoid children.

Instead, during the time we were sitting next to the two of you, you gave our children the stink-eye more than a half-dozen times. You shushed them approximately three times and then went off on us once saying "You need to learn to control your kids," "what are you doing taking your kids out on a Saturday night," "children are spawns of Satan" (OK, I made the last one up, but we could see that in your eyes). That's more interactions than were needed. You could have just sat there and waited until we left, asked the server to move you to another table or, instead, headed to Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey that attempted to "ban" children from crying or making loud noises (even our kids would have been OK there).

They did nothing wrong, but you still tried to deal them a hand of meanness.

Is it just that you are part of the new "entitled class" that is permeating San Francisco? Just 20-something techies waiting for stock options to vest? You have no patience for anyone besides yourself and you see families as a blight rather than the homeless issues that are right outside the door? Oh right, you're 33. You told us that when one of the moms called you out saying that "You're 23 and soooo entitled," when you corrected her saying you were a decade older. But you seemed to own the "entitlement" title proudly.

The worst thing, by far, wasn't that we disturbed your dinner. It was that you disturbed our well-behaved kids. They did not earn or deserve your behavior or reaction. They looked at us with wide eyes that asked, "What did we do wrong?"

Nothing. They did nothing wrong, but you still tried to deal them a hand of meanness.

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As the hostess said when we left, after we told her what went down, "They should have stayed home."

You should take her advice, because if you can't handle a couple of well-behaved kids, I fear for you — especially if you end up having any of your own.

Image via Toute le Cine

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