The mother in the middle of a social media parenting debate has explained her side of what led to a diner owner to yell at her toddler.
Tara Carson, who describes herself as a "mom and marketing manager in New York," wrote an op-ed article that was published online Wednesday in The Washington Post.
On Saturday morning, during a visit to Portland, Maine, Carson, her husband and their 21-month old daughter decided to have breakfast at Marcy's Diner.
"We figured it would have quick service and be family friendly," Carson wrote.
Her husband, who spent time in Portland with the Coast Guard, suggested it. But after the diner's owner, Darla Neugebauer, yelled at the toddler for crying, Carson wrote a post on the diner's Facebook page that led to millions of comments about whether the parents or the owner were in the right.
After a 30-minute wait to be seated, Carson ordered pancakes for her daughter, "which took 40 minutes to arrive," she wrote in The Washington Post. Though her daughter was "getting antsy" but "wasn't having a meltdown," the family decided to stay in the "noisy" diner's corner booth "rather than go outside in the rain."
"When the food came, my daughter was still fussing. My husband and I decided that we would eat our food quickly then leave. Out of nowhere, Marcy’s Diner owner Darla Neugebauer threw to-go containers at my husband and yelled, 'Either she goes or you go!'" Carson wrote. "We hadn’t seen this woman before and didn’t know who she was. She seemed so unprofessional that we didn’t take it seriously. Our waitress seemed embarrassed by the owner’s behavior too."
Carson said she continued to feed her daughter.
"A few minutes later, Neugebauer, now behind the grill, slammed her hands on the counter," Carson wrote. "She pointed at my baby’s face and screamed, 'You need to shut the hell up!'
Eventually, the couple paid the bill and tipped the waitress 25 percent, Carson wrote.
She also commented about the experience on Marcy Diner's Facebook page, including the comment, "You have a problem with a child crying then you are not suitable to run a business."
Neugebauer responded to that post with profanities including, "After your 4th attempt to shut her up I asked you to pack up either your rotten child or take the so important pancakes to go...but NNNNOOOOOOO you just sit there & let your [expletive] screaming kid go and piss off my staff and my patrons!"
The exchange has led to comments from around the world either siding with the owner or parents.
One Facebook commenter wrote to the diner owner, "We live in Belgium .... oh yeah the article has reached Belgian newspapers. And to my surprise you are getting a lot of support in our narrow minded country."
Carson wrote in the op-ed, "What got lost is that it’s never okay to yell at a baby, especially if you own a restaurant. You should care about providing good service to their patrons. Neugebauer could have come over politely and told us our baby was disruptive. She should not have thrown things or yelled or cursed."
Neugebauer wrote on the diner's Facebook page early Wednesday morning, "Wow! Who knew calling out sh**** parenting made you a bully? Whatever. For the record! I'm a foul-mouthed b**** with a short fuse! Sarcastic, blunt, brutally honest & real."
Carson did not respond to a request for comment. Neugebauer could not be reached for comment.