“Sit down! You’re not going anywhere!” the waitress shouted. “I need to get my daughter home…” Courtney tried to explain to her.
But the waitress wasn’t listening to her. “I don’t care!” she yelled.
One day, Courtney Pedigo, her daughter, father, and stepmother decided to have dinner at the Olive Garden.
She immediately felt the server’s eyes on her as she entered the restaurant. The waitress gave her a dirty look and whispered something to her coworker. Little did she know that she would be in tears by the end of the night…
A few minutes later, as Courtney and her family were looking at the menu, little Harlynn began crying. She didn’t want to eat her food or stay seated.
Patrons began turning around and rolling their eyes at them. At this point, Courtney just wanted to go home.
Courtney called the waitress over and asked if she could get her food to go. “Nope,” the waitress replied, walking away.
“Why not?” Courtney asked her. She had already paid for her food, so what was the problem?
“You’re going to go sit down and enjoy your dinner,” the waitress added.
Courtney was in complete shock. “May I ask why you can’t pack my food to go?” she asked.
Suddenly, her daughter began kicking her feet against the table. Courtney knew she had to leave.
Just as she was about to leave the restaurant with her daughter, the waitress approached their table.
The 24-year-old Nianni Rudder looked at Courtney and her daughter and said: “I will be there to sit with her.”
“But why?” Courtney asked her. She just wanted to leave the restaurant as quickly as possible.
Courtney was sick of patrons staring and whispering. She felt embarrassed for causing a huge scene at the restaurant. But Nianni didn’t want them to leave.
She sat down next to her daughter and offered her a spoon of ice cream.
“I actually got to eat my food while it was still hot!” Courtney wrote in her Facebook post.
“Nianni is just an awesome person,” she continued. “I was just in complete shock because nothing has ever happened to me like that.”
“I just wanted to shine some light on the person she is.”
It turns out that Nianni had plenty of experience with babysitting. She simply felt bad for Courtney and wanted to help her out. But what would her manager think of her behavior? Would she get in trouble for taking a break in the middle of a rush hour?
“My managers are great,” Nianni explained.
“Our motto at Olive Garden is, ‘When you’re here, you’re family.
“If that’s all I had to do was sit down and take a couple of moments to help this young lady with her baby, I’d do it every day if I could,” she continued.
Courtney was so touched by Nianni’s good gesture that she made a Facebook post about her and attached a photo of the waitress feeding little Harlynn ice cream. Her post had received thousands of likes and comments!
“Girl, you will never truly know how appreciative I am for tonight,” Courtney said in her post.
“Not only because you took the time to bribe my bratty little human with sweets so I could eat but because you are so so strong!”
Nianni said that she understood what the young mother was going through and felt like she deserved to enjoy a hot meal in peace.
“She came out to enjoy a meal with her family, and she should be able to do that,” she told Today.
“I didn’t think she had to leave or go sit in the car to eat the food because her baby was fussy. They’re little kids, that’s just what they do,” she continued.
Courtney and Nianni are still in touch to this day.