A family night out took a turn for the bizarre when a restaurant manager called the police because of two “noisy” children.
Eli Gau and Lillian Maliti, parents from Katy, Texas, took their sons to local fast food restaurant Applebees – a chain which prides itself on being family-friendly – on Sunday night.
Gau admitted that his sons Ryan, 3, and Ethan, 1, can be a handful, but told local news station KHOU 11 that they’re no worse than any other children at that age.
"They're kind of active,” Gau said. “They act like children. They're not adults."
Gau said the family was halfway through their meals when three-year-old Ryan wandered away from the table.
"I went and grabbed him,” Gau said. ”As I was grabbing him and coming back, the manager was walking to me.”
The manager told the family that the boys were making too much noise, and asked them all to leave. He added that the authorities had already been called – and by the time they left the building, they were confronted by a deputy sheriff.
Gau was given a fine notice for criminal trespassing.
Maliti said she feels “disrespected” by the manager’s actions, adding, “This has never happened in my life."
An Applebee’s spokesperson apologised for what happened, and said the manager hadn’t handled the situation well.
“It is exceedingly rare that a situation requires the assistance of law enforcement, and our franchisee is using this instance as a teaching moment to better manage future disruptions in their restaurants," a statement read.
The family was given free passes for a future dinner at the restaurant, but Gau said he won’t be taking them up on the offer.
"I feel heartbroken. I feel very sad," he said.