A client and I had a meeting at a local Vietnamese restaurant. It’s a beautiful restaurant, mature atmosphere, not really family friendly, yet families enjoy it as well. As I waiting in our booth for my client to join me, I hadn’t noticed the family of three behind me – a mother, father and 18-month old little girl. I can describe them now because their images are etched in my mind.
My client joined me and within five minutes of ordering, this little girl let it be known how terribly unhappy she was to be in this restaurant. She was inconsolable and very loud. Her father did nothing but get mad at the demure mother who had no control of this child. They also seemed completely unaware of everyone around them attempting to enjoy a business or social lunch over the noise of their unhappy child.
My client was losing patience and tact rapidly. As the host of the meeting I should have immediately, and discretely, asked the wait staff to move our table to the other side of the restaurant. Normally, that is what I do, but in this instance my client beat me to the punch. As he rose to find the staff person, he had to pass the family. I was grateful he didn’t make an extra stop.
We were moved to the other side of the restaurant where the child’s howls were still heard, but more like a distant caw of a crow through the misty morning. The meeting was a success and we left before the family had finished their meal. I am not sure how the other customers faired who remained around the family, but my client and I were happy we spoke up.