It’s 1030AM. My kitchen crew is hustling to get set up and the days “priorities” finished. My opening server and bartender filling ice and cutting fruit for garnish.
I’m in the office finishing up some emails and instructions for the night manager when my prep cook opens the door sheepishly. She’s got her youngest of 4 boy’s principal on the phone demanding that she come pick him up.
She’s nervous as I often blow up at this all too often occurrence. She is a single mom trying to manage 4 boys of various ages. I think I’ve met them all. They are just growing boys….I remember how I was when my dad wasn’t around to lay down the law. I do get iritated by it though due to the massive disruption her leaving does to the flow of the restaurant.
I take a deep breath and say “just go get him and bring him back here.”. Letting the prep cook off the hook but the little man…He and I are gonna have a few words. I’ve calmly explained to him before how he needs to behave at school because it causes his mommy and I a lot of stress and makes her “sad”.
Upon returning and hour later with her dismissed son in tow. She tells me that he punched another boy in class. She sits him down at an empty table. He looks upset as I take a seat across from him.
“So I heard you punched a kid at school today”. I say sternly trying to sound tough.
“Yea..” he murmurs quietly trying to keep the tears back
“Because he was saying mean stuff about mommy and it made me upset. I love her”
My heart grows a few sizes as I soften. He can’t be more than 7 years old but No one especially a young kid should have to hear disparaging remarks made about their family.
“I’m proud of you for sticking up for your Mom. But next time, get a teacher. When you’re older…Take it outside. Don’t do that stuff at school. You’re a good kid”. He nods in agreement.