Family Vacation

The other day I read a dear prudence article that put me in mind of a situation we regularly encounter at our hotel, due to the nature of our business being family oriented. The subject of the question were these parents who had taken their four year old very active son to an upscale restaurant. As soon as I read the words active four year old I started to cringe and think where this may be going, but nothing prepared me for where it actually went.

The gist of the story being these parents let their son wander around the restaurant, at first he was running and they told him to stop running, but allowed him to continue to roam around. Their waitress in the process of checking on her tables noted him walking around and directed him back to his table and asked him to sit down. The parents were upset about this, claiming the waitress should have talked to them instead of their son.

The next day they filed a complaint with her manager. The manager according to them sided with his employee over them, so they did the next logical thing and went on Facebook looking for support. Their Facebook community apparently lashed out at them and called them out, so then they turned to Dear Prudence. Needless to say Prudence was not on their side and had to explain to them that unattended four year olds and people walking around with big trays loaded with hot food don’t mix.

Working in a hotel we tend to find ourselves in similar situations, especially members of the front office, activities and security staff. We have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on our property from the youngest to the oldest. If we see misbehaving children, action must be taken. Obviously if the parents are close at hand, we try to address the situation with them, but if they aren’t to be found then we need to address the child directly before they hurt or injure themselves.

It’s the latter action that usually causes a negative or defensive reaction from parents. Some may feel that we aren’t trying to parent their child or we are picking on their child, but we are simply trying to keep them safe. We aren’t trying to be the anti-fun or anti relaxation police, but we’d rather be yelled at than having a child end up at the hospital.

We have parents who are fully understanding and cooperative, but there are also those who take offense and will like the above mentioned restaurant couple, be upset with the staff for the perceived slight. There are those who have yelled and told us their kids are allowed to do whatever they want. In these instances, we still have to point out that safety is our top priority and we will not compromise that for anything.

As they say it takes a village to raise a child and while on vacation, just consider the staff part of that village. Q

Aruban born and bred Shanella Pantophlet is passionate about tourism. That is the world she studied and works in, so we might as well call her a specialist. Luckily for Aruba Today Shanella also loves to write. And together with the fact that the majority of our readers are tourists, we found ourselves a perfect combination for a column: Hotel Hustle.