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Restaurant Owner Issues Apology Following Facebook Flap

It started when the co-owner of Bloomington’s Le Petit Café posted a note on the restaurant’s Facebook page complaining about two women who’d brought their young children to dinner.  Marina Ballor-Fiore’s note says she tried to dissuade moms Amanda Field and Brea Carlson from having dessert, and when they did anyway, she overcharged them because their babies made some noise. 

When Indiana Public Media caught up with Ballor-Fiore, though, she realized she’d made a mistake and apologized on tape to the two women, saying a free meal for Field, Carlson and their families seems in order…

“Oh, it’s the least I can do," she said. "And their husband, and the babies – I want to have those babies.  And Amanda was funny about it. She said 'Well, you know, my three-year old is a handful, are you sure you want to go for that?’  I said yes, it will be my public mea culpa.  I want to go for as many screaming babies as possible.”

Field said she’s exchanged messages with Ballor-Fiore and considers the apology accepted and the matter settled.  Most upsetting, she said, may have been internet message board posts which subsequently popped up chastising her parenting skills…

“There was a lot of negative things and they were either saying like 'the moms are morons, the moms are selfish, the moms should have known that they were being so rude,’" she said. "They didn’t know the whole story, they weren’t there, they just assumed that we literally sat there and let our babies scream. They said things like ‘why didn’t they hold them, why didn’t they nurse them, why didn’t they take care of their children?’”

But will Le Petit Café’s clientele be turned off by the public anti-baby fervor?  Ballor-Fiore says she accepts that business may suffer.

“Quite frankly, had I thought more about that I probably would not have done it that way…what a stupid thing to say…but I knew some people would be very angry with me and I always thought I may lose a few customers,” she said.

Field said she plans to eat at the restaurant in the future and hopes to accept the offer of a free meal as a final apology.

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