Dad Slapped at Starbucks: Brooklyn Heights Justice or Just Plain Crazy?

This dispatch just in from a BHB tipster claiming that a Brooklyn Heights Dad got a schmack on the head from another patron at the Montague Street Starbucks. Allegedly, the smacker  felt that the smackee was not parenting properly by ignoring his fidgety baby while waiting on a latte.  Do we call it instant justice or is it past the legal limit?  Full eyewitness account after the jump:

I was in the Montague St Starbucks at 10:20 am today, maybe 10:25. A man outside had a baby in an upright-type stroller and was speaking with a woman who seemed very concerned. It seems that his child was fussing in the stroller while the man ( who I will call “Dad”) was waiting for his drink. When the baby kept crying another man complained to Dad: when Dad did not leave and stayed to wait for his drink, the non-dad man slapped Dad on the back of the head.

Now, I did not see this, but was there immediately afterward. Not only the woman outside with Dad, but the employees and other customers (including child-free individuals) were 99% on Dad’s side. (Only one man seemed to disagree, but he quickly demurred when reminded that one adult should not hit another over this, no matter how aggravating it should be.)

The police were called and the manager and an employee went out and spoke w/them and Dad. The Slapper was out of there by then, but I hope the store
security camera was on. I have seen frequent out-of-control behavior there, but this child was not crying, just looking cranky, when I saw him and he was in the stroller. Actually, I think the baby /toddler was in the stroller the entire time. Thankfully, Dad was very rational and saw no need to start the Thrilla on Montanilla. (It’s Monday, and I’ve had a lot of I coffee, so please pardon my literary excesses.) Slapper had left by the time I got there.

This did not seem to be egregious parental behavior. I have an elementary-school-aged child, and have been in situations like this. I always left the store if my kid got too cranky or loud; doing it once or twice seemed to alert the child to the consequences of misbehaving in an adult public place. One adult hitting another over this kind of thing like this is certainly egregious behavior to me.

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  • my2cents

    This is the best thread in a while, folks. keep it up! :-)

  • “the child”(seriously)

    Hey,I have only been cranky once when I was very young.Did the baby cry when the dad was slapped?Was it upset? I think you should have included that.

  • bklyn20

    I wish “Slapper” could stay in the neighborhod after his arrest (I hope) and for his public service could be sentenced to slapping all those who ask people for the time with malicious intent. Must channel that anger somewhere … and Lord knows the crime posts around Halloween honestly did make me nervous.

    But, actually, I do hope “Slapper” could have at least some comeuppance. Maybe serious time in the laundry room of an organic diaper service? I ALSO sincerely nominate “Dad” for inclusion in the BHB Ten for having the self-restraint to keep himself from punching said “Slapper.”

  • bkln

    were they both white guys?

  • Beth Heller

    Can you say…”Anger Management Classes?”

  • Jonesy

    I’ll take the risk of getting slapped on Montague Street if it means I don’t have to drink the bitter liquid that Cranberry’s passes off as coffee.

  • Kim

    I was going to pass this one by but feel the need to chime in…As a parent of a special needs child, my oldest who is 8 has been diagnosed with mild Asperger’s. He functional and an honor roll student on general ed. He does tend to have “moments” where he appears differently and I have been on the receiving end of many rude and hurtful comments from many adults. Now these adults have always been male. In the past I would gather my brood and leave but now, I stand up for my children. My children and I have just as much of a right to be in a public establishment as lets say dog owners. I’m an animal lover but I HATE having to walk past those little darlings chained up outside of businesses while their owners shop away. I also hate dog poop and my kids don’t poop on the sidewalks or pee in gardens.

    My husband and I respect those who have chosen not to have children and will only frequent restaurants that are child friendly. I’m not a Starbucks fan and I find their coffee rather bitter but I have been known to make a purchase because it has easy access with a stroller.

    Getting to my point, I’m sure most of you are kind people which is one of the reasons we have chosen this neighborhood to raise our children. I don’t expect everyone to like my kids but they have just as much of a right to be in public as dog walkers, smokers and the street vendors who clog the corners. My son has taught me a greater understanding of life. When I see a parent struggling with a child I no longer say to myself “what a handfull or I’m glad that’s not me”.

    I just want to pass along that sometimes it’s just easier to offer some assistance to the parent than to be nasty about their children. For the record, if my kids become upset I quickly remove them and many times have waited outside for our food to be boxed so as not to disturb other patrons. Kids are kids and we all need to set good examples for them. Hopefully this angry coffee drinker will be able to find a coffee house which has a no kids policy and can drink in peace.

    Kim and My Three Little Ones 8, 5 and 21 months )

  • AEB

    Well said, Kim.

  • Tim N.

    Sounds like the kid was the best behaved of the bunch. Did anyone catch what these two MENSA candidates said to each other? Might provide a clue as to why things got real hot real fast.

    Karma’s a boomerang, friends. One of these days Slapper will deck the wrong guy and will end up face down in the pavement dog poop with stroller tracks across his back.

    PS: Love the thread.

  • John Wentling

    Oh for goodness sake – this isn’t about kids, it’s about being assaulted.

  • pankymom

    Yay Kim and thanks for mentioning that our little darlings (aspy or not) actually have a couple human rights coming to them. Hitting is not one of them, which we all work on daily and pay taxes to DOE to insure gets into the curriculum as well. May slapper get punched in face by next parent he “smacks” — you know he’ll do it again — and lose some expensive dental work. When i was pregnant with my second, I would have LOVED any excuse to punch a jerk in the mouth. But i’m over it now … a little.

  • tb

    It kind of is about kids.. or how adults act around them. Lighten up John

  • ABC

    I would respect Kim more if she didn’t somehow equate how she treats her kid with how I treat my dog.

  • Kim

    Thanks fot the support guys! John, this is about the kids first and second about the assult. But if it hadn’t been for a fussy child, the assult may not have happened.

    Face down in dog poop LOL! I’ve stepped in enough of it…no slap to responsible pet owners. You guys are great!

  • Kim

    Thanks pankymom!

    ABC Forgive me if I don’t understand what you mean about treating my kids with how you treat your dog. Sorry, but I don’t get it. I was just kind of shooting from the hip.


  • tommyboy

    Dogs AND children ought to be banned from public places. No argument here on the equal treatment question.

  • Billy Reno

    “Hey, hey, we don’t hit. We use our words. We use our words.”
    “Okay! Now we use our LAWYERS! We use our LAWYERS!!”

  • Editman

    I’m still trying to get over the Elvis Costello reference

  • Homer Fink

    Edit – i hear they beat him up until the teardrops start.

  • lockdown

    Living in a mega stressful society with people computing and scheming all over trying to megacharge you, arrest you, take away your home and other horrable, I can see why people might snap once in as while.

  • Kim

    To snap and yell is one thing to snap and slap is wrong. You don’t hit people…self defense maybe. Just because someone doesn’t like what is going on or the line is too long at the coffee house is not grounds for smacking someone. I’ve run into many people I would love to backhand and they probably deserved a good whack. This uptight gentleman sounds as if whatever was bothering him may have been pre-existing and he was just looking for an excuse to unload. I don’t know if words were exchanged but, I walk away from time bombs and I teach my children to do the same.

  • health

    If there weren’t so many people in this world that made me want to throw up, the stress levels would go way down.

  • health

    tommyboy, I agree. Little tykes do not belong in Starbucks or any tiny adult venue. Also, I wish more parents would raise their tykes to be mre respectable adults, even if it means turning off the idiot box.

  • nabeguy

    Perhaps, as health suggests, he should have just thrown up on the dad. Certainly would have been a more passive-aggressive approach and, given the involvement of an infant, has a certain poetic justice to it. BTW, health, what is a “tiny adult venue”? Are you talking about the size of the venue or the adult?

  • health

    the venue :)

  • head slapper

    The “Dad” (I use the term loosely) should have taken his kid out of Starbucks. Better yet, discipline his child. Is that too much to ask of parents?

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I’m sorry, if dad was ignoring a petulant or otherwise problematic child, the dad deserved what he got. If it were legal to slap AHoles, this would be a kindler gentler society… Just look at those small towns in the south that allow public carrying of firearms… Now, it’s all heresay as to whether the child was being obnoxious, and if it was I support the slapper!

  • mrman

    Why is everyone overlooking the obvious? The slapper should have slapped the KID.

  • nabeguy

    Are you reading the story? It was an infant. Perhaps you may have had your own head slapped too many times to post a comment like that. This whole non-breeder-never-will-be-can’t-stand-children-get-them-out-of-my-face-cuz-I-never-was-one stand makes me want to go target hunting for a few good heads of my own.

  • NJSkimLatte

    You people are pansies. The baby is this man’s responsibility. Don’t have babies if you don’t want to take care of them and that includes waiting for your selfish overdramatic coffee to be made at Starbucks. The baby fussing is YOURS. Take care of the child. If your coffee fix is TOO important and you CAN’T be interrupted to take care of another human being (yours, the baby) then use birth control you selfish prick. You and Tiger Woods—no difference. SELFISH. Discipline the baby??? Are you nuts? Discipline the Father! The baby needs care, not a coffee you dimwit! The baby has no means to fight back. Numbskull.