Parents Ignore Misbehaving Kids: What Would You Do?

Hidden cameras capture reactions as young children misbehave in a restaurant.

January 11, 2011, 12:24 PM

March 3, 2011 — -- People go to the American Dream Diner in Orangeburg, N.Y. to relax, grab a bite to eat and enjoy time with family and friends.

But on one recent day, some unlucky people were seated next to a family whose two kids were out of control. The family entered the restaurant and the two young girls, Lauren and Rebecca, immediately began to fight over a seat. They talked loudly. They played with noisy toys. They were disturbing to the other customers.

But what the customers didn't know was that these seemingly uncontrollable children were actually actors hired by "What Would You Do?" We told them to behave their worst, armed them with noisy toys and watched nearby with hidden cameras.

It's not uncommon to find loud children causing a ruckus at restaurants -- so much so that some eateries are banning misbehaving kids.

In our scenario, when seated near the noisy family, tables of people fled to the other side of the diner.

Watch the scenario unfold on 'What Would You Do?' Friday, 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Those who stuck around seemed to have nerves of steel. One of the rambunctious girls shouted at her mother that she wanted a cookie for breakfast.

"Mommy! Pretty please with sprinkles on top! Mommy! Please!" said Lauren.

Other patrons gave bewildered looks or smiles. Then the girls tried to knock off their father's hat with spitballs. In a feeble attempt to ward off the spitball attack, the actor playing the father offered up some video games and Barbie dolls. But the girls immediately began to fight over the dolls and run around the restaurant. Patrons exchanged looks, but remained quiet.

Parents Ignore Misbehaving Kids

"Mommy, I can entertain the while building by playing music!" said Lauren as she squeaked out a tune on a plastic flute.

One man with frayed nerves summoned the waitress and told her the kids were "freaking out," but he stayed at his table for the meal. Another diner confided to the waitress that she was so patient because she was a grandmother.

In one scene, Rebecca played with a remote-control toy that made noises. She chose to make "boo" sounds at her dad.

But nothing seemed to shake one couple. Even as the children stood up on chairs and pretended to fly airplanes, they remained calm. We decided to come out and see what made them tick. It turned out they were playing child psychologist.

"The kids were just totally out of hand. So we're trying to, we're sitting here trying to diagnose, 'Okay, what's the matter with these kids?' So we went through different versions of what was wrong with the kids, what was wrong with the parents, you know, why they were doing this," said Tom Grunstra.

We sent the family in again. A group of three female friends couldn't take their eyes off the kids gone wild, who screamed for food, fought over toys and booed each other with the boo toy.

When the "mom" -- also a WWYD actress -- walked away to take a phone call, one of the women shrugged. Later, she told us she was questioning why a mother walked away from her children.

Her friend confided to us that she didn't feel comfortable talking to the parents because she had a child with autism who would also act up, and she didn't want to tell another mother how to raise her child.

Parents Ignore Misbehaving Kids

In another scene inside the full dining room, it took less than two minutes for one diner, a woman who worked in social services, to speak up and ask the mom to tell her kids to stop.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the diner, a grandfather, father and grandson watched as the bad behavior continued: the girls fought with straws, ripped up paper, and ran around with toy guns.

When the Nerf darts started flying, the father called over the manager -- also one of our actors -- who tried to settle the girls. The patrons backed up the manager's request to calm the girls down.

"I would suggest you take them someplace and teach them some manners," one patron suggested.

Finally, the manager kicked out the unruly family.

"Is everybody happy now?" the manager asked. He was met with a round of applause.

We asked one group of diners if their kids would ever behave so poorly.

"Well, my father was very strict," one man said. "He used to give us just one look and that was it."

What would happen if we sent in a single dad with two obnoxious kids, Joli and Anthony?

This time, a victorious middle school basketball team and their coach witnessed the kids' wild behavior.

As the unruly kids blew spitballs, played catch with their dad's hat, fired off toy guns at each other and squeaked along on a plastic flute, the team watched in wonder.

We sent Anthony to bum a French fry from the team.

"Guys, I'm tired of waiting for my food. Can I have a French fry?" he asked.

The request prompted laughter from the team, but one player did hand the boy a fry.

Later, the team's coach later told his players that if they behaved like that, he'd kill every one of them.

After running across our rowdy family, two women at the diner took an extraordinary measure.

Watch the scenario unfold on 'What Would You Do?' Friday, 9 p.m. ET on ABC