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For those with disabled children...

I've worked in a restaurant as a waitress for many years and occasionally a family will come in with a disabled member. I tend to talk directly to the disabled person rather than 'over' him or her because I think it's rude to say "and what will he have?" unless directed otherwise. Anyway, one day a family came in with a boy who was obviously very disabled--I don't know the name for what he had, but in a wheelchair with a high neck, mouth twisted, eyes half open, etc. When I took the food order, I looked at him and said "And for you?" (It seemed pretty obvious that he couldn't talk, but like I said, I think it's rude to talk over him) and his mother gave me the biggest attitude saying: "Can't you tell he can't talk or eat?" (More was said, but I'm summing it up)

So my question is, if you were in a restaurant with a disabled family member would you prefer your server talk directly to the disabled person or is it strange?

Answer Question
 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 9:42 PM on Jul. 28, 2009 in Kids' Health

Answers (8)
  • I would much rather address the disabled person first & then risk the chance of being corrected...rather than completely underestimating that disabled person & bypassing them completely. But it is tough when you can't survey the severity of their handicap.
    paige8608

    Answer by paige8608 at 9:48 PM on Jul. 28, 2009

  • I highly appreciate when wait staff addresses my blind son directly. It is clear he cannot see a menu and he is 80% deaf. Still at 13 it is important he be addressed directly. If for nothing more than courtesy. When he was 8 a jerk in Florida at a restaurant took everyone elses orders and ignored my son was there. He still had about 60% of his hearing then. I stopped him and said "my son will have..." He looked at me and said "Oh the retard?" I have never wanted to slap the sh*t out of someone so badly in my entire life.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:53 PM on Jul. 28, 2009

  • I like for them to address my son directly. I think it's nice. I think you just caught that lady having a really bad day.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:09 PM on Jul. 28, 2009

  • The mother may still be upset about the situation. A little oversensitive, don't worry, you did the right thing. It must be hard for her especially if he cannot even do simple things. I go through moments of anger about dd's condition and it doesn't even affect her nearly that badly (autistic) so I can't even imagine what that momma feels. I always try to think of things in this light rather than just think of the person as rude. Just imagine how hard it must be to know that your child will NEVER be able to order food for himself or even feed himself.
    Petie

    Answer by Petie at 10:09 PM on Jul. 28, 2009

  • I prefer that my son be addressed directly, especially now that he can eat regular food, has learned to order for himself & prefers to do so. When he wasn't able to speak up for himself, I would either give his order before mine or would inform the server that he wouldn't be eating (he was 9 & NPO at the time), so the awkward moment could be avoided. I considered it a courtesy to our server b/c there wasn't really any way for him or her to know my son couldn't eat & wouldn't be ordering for himself.

    The customer you had sounds like she is sensitive to her son being disabled, perhaps b/c of past experiences with rude folks while out in public, but nonetheless, her behavior was very rude to you and completely uncalled for. You were being nice and taking her child's feelings into consideration, treating him like a regular person instead of an "it" and that's about the nicest thing anybody can do for someone who is different.
    mom2aspclboy

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 9:00 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • I feel that you were being very respectful to that young man and keep on doing what you are doing. Do not let one bad attitude ruin all the good you are doing
    justgrape723

    Answer by justgrape723 at 9:00 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • I think you are doing the right thing in addressing the disabled person first. Kudos to you for remembering to respect every person you wait on. What may have happened with the mom is that she was feeling the sting that a mother feels when she knows that he can not answer and other kids his age can. There is really no way for you to know this in advance and I'm sure deep down she knows that.

    pixie_stix

    Answer by pixie_stix at 1:29 AM on Jul. 31, 2009

  • Yeah, I think you did good. I think that would be the nice to do.
    incarnita

    Answer by incarnita at 9:59 AM on Jul. 31, 2009

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