As I waited to be served at Subway in the Hyperdome, I watched with fascination as a child clambered atop the counter, leaned over the cash register and started pressing random buttons.
My main interest was the mother’s reaction to this. Nothing for a few minutes. Then, when she finally noticed my focussed attention, she whined, “Britney, get down.”
I think that was her name – it may have been Breanna, Chapelle, Bylynda or similar. Also note that the woman gave the word “down” about forty-three syllables, as in “dow-o-ow-o-ow-owwwn.” I am perhaps being a bit mean, however – she did have half a dozen other small charges, all of whom appeared equally well behaved.
Needless to say, the child did not get down until one of the staff members piped up in his breaking, fifteen year old voice voice, “Get down, please.” She then turned her attention to taking and unwrapping about a dozen straws, at which point I over-stepped the bounds and asked her what she thought she was doing.
She dropped the straws and returned to her mother, who in turn glared at me as if I had breached a fundamental code – thou shalt not question, berate or judge another person’s child.
What do others think?
Does a stranger have the right to object to the behaviour of another person’s offspring in a public place?