Darla Neugebauer, owner of Marcy's Diner in downtown Portland, says the girl's parents ordered three large pancakes for the child then wouldn't let her eat them when they arrived, causing a screaming fit that lasted almost an hour.
Horrified, the child's parents, Tara and John Carson, took to Facebook to say that Neugebauer's behavior was completely inappropriate. "I turned to my daughter and I was like 'Listen, this is how I'm raising you not to be as an adult. Like, you will never be like this when you get older,'" Tara Carson wrote, according to WCVB-TV. "I felt helpless as a mom that, you know, I couldn't do anything to help her, because I can't explain why there's crazy people in this world that behave like that."
The post has since been removed.
Neugebauer responded and the post went viral, sparking a global outcry with people sounding off on whether or not the business owner had the right to yell at a kid, when parents aren't taking any (or enough) action.
Neugebauer says she asked the family to leave, or take the girl outside – but when that didn't work, she slammed her hands on the counter and told the girl to be quiet.
"After listening to a child scream at the top of her lungs in my very busy restaurant, I screamed at her and told her it had to stop. Her parents didn't want to leave. They didn't seem to even notice that she was crying," Neugebauer told WCHS in her defense.
While the post appears to have been removed from the diner's Facebook page, things got heated when Neugebauer wrote: "After your third attempt to shut her up I asked you to pack up either your rotten child or take the so important pancakes to go... but noooo you just sit there and let your f------ screaming kid go!" then added, "you are lucky I didn't get really f------ nuts because being physical is not something I cower from."
Despite the media blitz, Neugebauer says in retrospect she's still not sorry. "Sorry isn't the right word. I might have used poor judgement. I wouldn't say I was sorry, because it stopped. When things stop, it's usually a good thing."