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Dealing with Publicly Rude People

J0430935 It was long overdue, my precious Saturday morning out to Panera Bread.  I would have liked to sleep in on this wintry morning, but 'alone time' was high on my need list and I couldn't wait to cozy into a booth near the crackling fireplace at my favorite coffee place.

There I sat with my laptop, notepads, emails, school papers, a couple of books that might get read, my hazelnut coffee and low-fat blueberry muffin, listening to classical music in the background.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Suddenly my glorious ambiance was shattered as three young men came staggering in to order breakfast, obviously hung over from the previous evening.

Of the three, one young man stood out largely due to his prominent voice.  His inappropriate conversation transmitted across the dining room, as he bragged along with his buddies about the night before.  "Get it to go!!!" I prayed silently, "get it to GO!".   It was not to be.  All three jerks studs chose the table next to mine.  Ugh.

"Surely they didn't realize how loud they were while in line!" I thought to myself, "I'm sure they'll settle down when they notice all the people around them".  There was a group of older men having a Bible study in one corner along with a smattering of older ladies sharing and enjoying the quiet. 

These young men acted and spoke as though they were sitting in a bar somewhere.  One vulgar story followed another as these three compared their evening experiences, you can only imagine.  I was offended beyond my belief! 

I struggle to keep my 'SuperCitizen' cape in the closet, I'll admit.  Personal rights are one thing, but when they get in the way of everyone else's rights, I have a problem.  Indeed, I had a dilemma this morning.  Should I keep my mouth shut and try to focus, allowing this behavior?  Or should I correct these delinquents?

I looked over at their table and my eyes met the 'ring-leader's', I'll call him.  One young man obviously was the most aggressive of them.  If I could shut him up, the others would follow.  He looked at me, sensing my disapproval.  Yet, they continued on as though they just didn't care.

After about 20 minutes, the men finally finished their meal and began to clean up.  I waited for an opportunity to get the 'ring-leader' alone, mindful of the fact that if I said anything in front of his buddies, I would get a less-than-desirable response.

Sure enough, two of his friends headed for the trashcan as 'ring-leader' lagged behind.  I looked over and our eyes met.  "Son", I said loudly to make sure he heard me.  He looked at me, then looked behind him and then back at me with a questioning look.  "Yes, you" I said, pointing to the booth seat opposite me, "have a seat".  He gathered his pride and strutted over, flashing a grin and saying "Good morning" and sat down. 

"Good morning" I said.  "I am going to play the role of your mama this morning.  When you are at your apartment or out at a bar with your friends, you are welcome to talk any way you please.  But when you are in a place like Panera on a Saturday morning, where people are reading and enjoying coffee, I think you know that your behavior and language was inappropriate".  He nodded.  "You look like a nice young man (patronization) and I think you know better and are capable of making a better decision next time".  My eyes never left his, making sure he knew that I wasn't intimidated by his size or voice. 

"We're just a little hung over...if my mama were here, she would probably slap me" the young man confessed.  "If you were mine, I would slap you too!  You're excused, have a nice day".  I dismissed him with the authority of his parent.  He was in severe need of a parent that morning.

My business?  When it affects my morning in such a negative way, it is.  What if my children had been with me?  There were other children there that morning, having breakfast with Grandmas and such.  If my sons were ever acting like that, I would hope that someone would straighten them out.  You have my full permission.

Kelly Morris blogs at www.themorristribe.net

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.