I was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a quiet Sunday morning breakfast with my husband. The server seated a family of four next to us. They were a mom, a dad, and two kids about 7 and 9 years old. After they were settled in the young son began acting out by shouting and screaming aggressively which quickly increased in volume and intensity. It was impossible to carry on a conversation and the restaurant patrons in the surrounding tables were all focused on this developing scene.
Then the child leaned forward across the table and brought up a fist and slammed it into the mothers’ face, cleanly connecting with her nose and mouth. There were gasps throughout the room as we all looked on in horror. Amidst the ear shattering screams and flailing arms and legs, the dad managed to wrangle the kid out of the restaurant. The mom was crying and I brought some ice wrapped in a napkin to her.
I felt utterly sick for the parents, and for this child, who apparently had some type of disorder that was beyond just bad behavior. It was clearly some sort of illness that I am sure would impact all their lives for a very long time.
I called the server over and asked to pay their bill. I still felt helpless.