Waitress Sees a Mother Struggling With Fussy Baby – What She Does Next Shocks the Whole Table
An Olive Garden employee takes the company’s “Italian Generosity” to a whole new level.
Every parent has been there: you’re at a restaurant for what is supposed to be a relaxing dinner out when your toddler decides to start acting like, well, a toddler.
Such was the case for mom Courtney Pedigo when she met up with her dad and stepmother at her local Olive Garden in Greensboro, North Carolina with her 18-month-old daughter, Harlynn, in tow.
While Pedigo wanted nothing more than to sit and enjoy her meal, Harlynn, not so much. True to toddler form, Harlynn wasn’t interested in sitting quietly.
How an Exhausted Mom Responded When Her Toddler Wouldn’t Sit Still
In a Facebook post that has gone viral with over 11K likes, Pedigo shared, “Tonight my family and I went out to Olive Garden for dinner, and per Harlynn’s usual she did everything but sit in her high chair and eat her dinner like I picture in my dreams.”
Instead of being a dream, it quickly turned into every parent’s nightmare.
Harlynn made it her mission to let all of Olive Garden “know she was in the house” (as toddlers do.) Pedigo tried to contain the tiny tot and offered to let her watch movies on her phone in exchange for some peace.
RELATED: Waitress Realizes Something Is Wrong When a Regular Customer Didn’t Show Up to Her Café
But Harlynn wasn’t there for peace.
Feeling overwhelmed and flustered, Pedigo finally admitted defeat. Not wanting to bother the other restaurant patrons, she decided to take Harlynn, and her meal, to go.
However, luckily for her, when Olive Garden says, “When you’re here, you’re family,” they aren’t kidding around.
How One Kind Waitress Served Up A Meal And Compassion
When Pedigo tracked down her waitress, Nianni Rudder, to ask her for a carryout box so she could eat in the car, Rudder refused.
Rather than have the single mom banish herself and her daughter to her vehicle, Rudder offered up an alternative – she said she’d sit with the little girl instead.
Pedigo told CNN, “[Nianni] flat-out said, ‘No, I want you to sit down with your family and I want you to eat your dinner. Enjoy your dinner and I’m going to go and occupy her and play with her.'”
RELATED: Busy Waitress Breaks Down Into Tears After Reading the Note a Widowed Customer Gave Her
Rudder was true to her word. She brought Harlynn a bowl of ice cream with caramel syrup and fed her while she sat in her mother’s lap.
“I ACTUALLY GOT TO EAT MY FOOD WHILE IT WAS STILL HOTT!!!!!” Pedigo wrote in her Facebook post. Which, as any mother will tell you, is nothing short of a miracle.
“Everyone at the table was like, ‘Wow! She didn’t have to do this,” Pedigo told PEOPLE in an interview. “She chose to sit there with my family and occupy my baby so I could eat … I’m a single mom and it’s hard sometimes. She calmed me, a total stranger just calmed me down.”
Why the Olive Garden Waitress Went Above and Beyond For Her Customer
While chatting with the family, Rudder shared a piece of her own story. Not a mother herself, she had a niece Harlynn’s age, so she knew how to deal with toddlers. She lost her mother a couple of years earlier and was waitressing to help fund her education to become an anesthesiologist.
Her story inspired Pedigo to write the now-viral Facebook post. Pedigo mentioned Rudder’s mother in her post, saying, “I know your Mom is looking down from Heaven with the BIGGEST smile and so incredibly proud of the woman you are.”
Pedigo went on to say that she admires Rudder and aspires to be like her. As for Olive Garden’s response to Rudder’s act of kindness? The restaurant management presented the employee with a silver star. And while the accolades are nice, they’re not the reason Rudder stopped everything to help a mother in need. Her actions all boil down to compassion and heart.
RELATED: Waitress Hands Soldiers a Note After Paying For Their Meal – What Happens Next Changes Her Life
In her own Facebook post (which has since been made private), Rudder wrote, “I did what I would want for someone to do for me if I was in that situation. People need to be more compassionate with one another. Anyone with a heart would have done the same.”
Parenting is an amazing journey but it can also be isolating and all-consuming. More often than not, you are sacrificing your own needs for your children and you do it willingly because you love them. But sometimes? You just really need a break where you can go and enjoy a sit-down dinner in a restaurant and actually eat a meal, hot.
Rudder took the time and care to give an exhausted mother a much-needed break. She was there for her and provided her with the community she desperately needed. A community that is so often lacking for parents, and especially mothers, these days. We should all aspire to be like Rudder. Let’s be that community for each other.
Waitress Hands Firefighters A Note After Paying For Their Meal – What Happens Next Changes Her Life