I was extremely hungover from cheap draft beer while on my lunch break at my part time job, and it seemed as if it was Bring Your Screaming Kid to Work Day. They were all playing off each other like the most perfectly awful orchestra of all time. The worst culprit, of course, was seated (more like standing in his booth) directly next to me. This young man looked to be around four years old and was just yelling away, and not in the way of an angry fit because he was smiling. No, this rapscallion was bellowing to his heart's content just to get his jollies, and what really bugged me is that the parents didn't say anything as he did this over-and-over.
You have to understand, after dealing with the public for all those hours, I just wanted those 15 minutes to be somewhat quiet. I realize parenting is difficult, but if you don't say anything to the kid screaming for no reason, the kid gets the message that he can do whatever he wants. Why don't you just let him drive home if that's how it's going to be?*
After the seventh or eighth howl, I let out one of my own. If he did another, I did another. If he banged the table, I banged the damn table. As this continued, I started to get odd looks from the surrounding patrons, and some moved away from me, but I could get no reaction from the family I was trying to annoy. At long last, the kid's mother said to me, "Could you please stop doing that?" I said to her, "Gee. That's something I thought you might want to say to your kid, since he has been carrying on like that for my whole damn lunch break, but you feel it easier to ask a perfect strange to stop doing it, even if in my case it was just to make a point?"
Zing! I had this awful parent right where I wanted. Nope. This is when she told me that her son has Autism and can't help doing that. "Oh," I said. "That's a rough one. God bless you." Then I got the hell out of there and some tables booed me, some threw fries, and I narrowly missed getting dowsed in a Jamba Juice.
*The events in this story stop being true after this point.