Mother at center of Maine diner controversy tells her side of story

Tara Carson with her husband. (Courtesy Tara Carson)

Marcy's Diner owner Darla Neuberger received praise from online commenters after defending her decision to yell at a mother and her crying child at her restaurant. Now, the mom is telling her side of the story.

Tara Carson shared her version of the recent encounter with Neuberger in a Washington Post editorial titled "I'm the mom whose encounter with angry Maine diner owner went viral. Here's what happened."

"Making national news was the last thing we expected on our quiet summer getaway to Maine this week," Carson wrote in her op-ed, published on Wednesday.

Carson then went into detail about her family's encounter with Neuberger at the restaurant.The mom said that her 2-year-old daughter was "getting antsy," but not having a meltdown, and she and her husband felt it wasn't necessary to leave.

Carson said that her daughter was still fussy when the food came so she and her husband planned to quickly eat their meals and then leave. That's when Carson says she was abruptly approached by Neuberger.

"Out of nowhere, Marcy's Diner owner Darla Neugebauer threw to-go containers at my husband and yelled, 'Either she goes or you go!'" Carson wrote. "We hadn't seen this woman before and didn't know who she was. She seemed so unprofessional that we didn't take it seriously. Our waitress seemed embarrassed by the owner's behavior too."
Darla Neuberger, owner of Marcy's Diner, says she's not sorry for yelling at a 2-year-old child for crying in her restaurant because it got the girl to be quiet.

Carson said that the Neuberger screamed at her child, saying "you need to shut the hell up!"

"My husband replied, 'Are you serious? Are you really yelling at a toddler right now?'" Carson wrote. "'As serious as a heart attack,' she said, with fury in her eyes."

The mom later expressed her dismay on the Marcy's Diner Facebook page, which Neuberger then replied to in an expletive-ridden rant. Carson and Neuberger's Facebook comments went viral, sparking a debate on whether the mom or the restaurant owner was in the wrong.

"All of a sudden, thousands of strangers were commenting on my parenting skills," Carson wrote in the Washington Post. "Am I a perfect parent? Certainly not. But I do know that these things happen."

"As parents, we sometimes rely on the kindness and empathy of strangers, who know we're doing the best we can. It's compassion I try to model for my daughter. I wish others would do the same."

Carson's editorial was received with both praise and opposition, similar to her original Facebook post, with some commenters expressing their support for the mom, and others suggesting that Carson was in the wrong by not removing her toddler.

"Scolding the parents is never helpful, and engaging with a mid-tantrum two-year-old on their level is an awful, awful idea," wrote one commenter.

"At least the owner showed some sense of awareness and responsibility about the way she delivered the message she felt needed delivering. I see no such responsibility about you and your family's role whatsoever in the situation," wrote another.

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