Mom Gets Denied A To-Go Box For Screaming Baby


She Wanted To Relax

She felt tired as she sat at her table at Olive Garden. The only thing that was on this single mother’s mind was to relax and have a hearty dinner so that she could go back home with her 1-year-old daughter, Harlynn.

It was clear that her daughter was also exhausted, so when the waitress came to check on their table she asked if she could get a to-go box so that her daughter could finish her meal in the car. However, the response the waitress gave her stunned her. She stared at her and said “No” in a stern voice. She was taken aback by what she said.

A Long Day

Eat This, Not That

This incident occurred in an Olive Garden located in Greensboro, North Carolina. The woman in the story is a single mother named Courtney Pedigo.

Courtney was exhausted that day. She worked long hours and upon arriving home, she did not even get a second to sit down. She had groceries to do and contact her bank. After all this, it was 8 pm and she felt even more tired.

Nobody Was Available

Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Courtney’s daughter, Harlynn, accompanied her the whole evening while she was busy doing her errands. Unfortunately, there was nobody available to look after her daughter.

Her mother was on vacation and all her friends were occupied that evening. How about Harlynn’s father? That was not an option Courtney was willing to explore.


Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Harlynn’s father was named Marvin. He was Courtney’s ex-boyfriend.  Courtney did not regret meeting him, because without him she would not have her beautiful daughter. Harlynn was her world, and she was thankful for that.

But other than that, Marvin was a constant source of anxiety, stress, and discomfort for Courtney.

A Charmer

Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

When they first met, her friends told her to steer clear of him. He was an explosive man who had a terrible reputation with women. Initially, Courtney made sure to set clear boundaries to prevent herself from getting hurt.

However, there was something charming about Marvin. He made her believe that he was willing to become a better man if the right woman helped him. He told her that he outgrew his old habits and he was ready for a change. Courtney believed everything he said but unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst.

Stepping Up

Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

She stuck with him through lying, cheating, and abuse. When her baby girl was born, the only thing that mattered to her was that Marvin would step up and be a good father.

However, Marvin could not even do that. A few months after their daughter’s birth, Marvin left without a trace. She did not know if he left her for another woman or what he was doing. But, she did not care.


Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Courtney had to learn how to adjust to her new reality. Raising Harlynn was no easy task. She was always tired but it was worth it. If Marvin were in their lives Courtney knew that he would mess everything up.

When the situation occurred at the restaurant, Courtney felt tired and overwhelmed as she had an incredibly busy day. She had no idea that fate still had something in store for her.

The End To A Busy Day

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While she was sitting at her table, she thought that a nice warm meal would be a nice conclusion to a difficult day. However, it was the complete opposite.

And it all began when her child began to express her exhaustion. She was crying and complaining, and it was evident that she needed to get home and sleep as quickly as possible. As a result, Courtney made a choice.

A Strange Response

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When her waitress came to their table, she asked if she could get a to-go box. She wanted to have her dinner in her car so that she could take her tired daughter home. There was another long day in store for her tomorrow, and they both needed the rest.

However, the waitress had an odd reaction  “No,” she said after hearing Courtney’s question. She remained still, scowled, and glanced at an unidentified area near the single mom. She then turned and walked away.

Oh No

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That was when Harlynn began to kick her heels against the table. Courtney’s eyes shut for a second, she knew that something horrible was about to happen. She was mortified as her cheeks grew red. Other diners were starting to complain. She knew that all eyes were on her because of the spectacle her daughter was making.

She grew angry. This wasn’t the first time she had endured terrible service because she had a disruptive child, but this was really just too much.

Can’t Leave

Facebook – Nianni Rudder

But before she could decide what to do next, their waitress finally made it over to the table again.Courtney thought she might have changed her mind and had come to the table to collect their plates to pack their food up.

But the waitress once again refused them a to-go box so they could calm the baby down. And the frazzled mom was getting dangerously fed up with being treated so rudely.

“Sit Down”

Facebook – Nianni Rudder

Without batting an eye, 24-year-old Nianni Rudder restated: “You’re going to go sit down and enjoy your dinner.” Courtney’s eyes widened in disbelief. Was the waitress refusing to help her? This was completely unacceptable.

With Harlynn’s screeching scraping her nerves, she opened her mouth to give the waitress a piece of her mind. But the waitress just walked away.


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Courtney was taken aback by this. What exactly was going on? Was there something she’d done wrong? Was there animosity between her and that waitress? Was she even aware of who she was?

She kept thinking about all of these questions. It was completely overwhelming. Would it be best for her to leave? Should she approach another server? Courtney suddenly saw that the waitress who refused to assist her returned. She was carrying something, but it did not look like a bag.

What Was It?

Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

It was the meal she had asked for plus some ice cream! But Courtney was still confused: why had she refused to give her the to-go bag?

The waitress would have time to make her reasons clear to the single mom. She served her the meal and sat at her table. It turned out that the two women had a lot more in common than one might think, and they had plenty to talk about.

Waitress’ Words

Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

“You’re going to go sit down and enjoy your dinner and I will be there to sit with her!” Nianni told the frazzled mother. Courtney was lost for words. Harlynn wouldn’t sit for her mother, she was hardly going to do it for a complete stranger.

Courtney wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. She was sick of people staring and whispering. But Harlynn was smitten. She sat giggling away with Nianni. Courtney couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

It Was Like They Knew Each Other

Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

It almost seemed like little Harlynn and the waitress had been friends forever. Courtney was amazed at how easily she had been calmed down by the waitress’ presence.

Courtney was glad that she didn’t have to go to her car to eat. But she was still asking herself what could be the reason behind the waitress’ generous gesture.


Facebook -Courtney Ruth Pedigo

The answer to this question was simpler than one would think: the 22-year-old waitress could tell that Harlynn wasn’t feeling too well and Courtney was quite stressed.

She felt sympathy for the single mom’s situation, as she was a single mom herself. The two women spent a while talking about the hardships of motherhood but also about its joys.

Life Stories

Facebook – Nianni Rudder

Courtney and Nianni spoke about the challenges single moms face when raising their children alone. Nianni told Courtney that she was raised by a single mom herself because her father had not been a part of her life. And, sadly, her mother had passed away ust two years ago.

“I’m just a college student with no parents trying to make ends meet,” Nianni said. “It was great to get some time to sit down and talk to [Courtney].”

Big Dreams

Facebook – Nianni Rudder

Nianni also told Courtney that she’d been working at Olive Garden for around two years – she had to get a steady job after her mom died from cancer.

Although she picks up as many shifts as she can, she’s was also studying at Durhan Technical Community College and pursuing as associate’s degree. One day, she hoped to become an anesthesiologist.


Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Courtney told Nianni that she had also worked as a waitress, so she understood how difficult it must have been for the waitress to take the time to help her out. After chatting and entertaining Harlynn until Courtney had finished her meal, Niannai finally left the table to go and get the check.

When she came back, the two women embraced each other wholeheartedly. But after Courtney left, Niannai noticed that she had something in her apron’s pocket.

What Could It Be?


She had taken her apron off to sit down with Courtney and Harlynn, and it had stayed there while she went for the check. And aside from the meal’s price on the table, Courtney had left a $50 note in Niannai’s pocket as a tip!

Niannai’s gesture meant a lot to Courtney, and she wanted to show her appreciation somehow, within her limited means. This story is a prime example of solidarity and how each of us can do something to make others’ lives better – that’s why Courtney had to share it.


Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

“I actually got to eat my food while it was still hot!” exclaimed Courtney in a now-viral Facebook post. And that’s not all she had to say.

“[Nianni] is just an awesome person,” Courtney said. “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.” How could someone who is already under so much stress from rush hour take the time to sit with her baby girl?


Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Nianni is no stranger to the mood swings of young children. Her niece has just graduated from the terrible-twos and has now been accepted into the terrifying-threes.

She knows how irritable children can get when they’re hungry, tired, grumpy, sad, happy, afraid, or confused. Her shift was nearly over anyway. And there was plenty of other staff on to help bustle tables. But what would her manager think of her taking a break?

“You’re Family”

Facebook – Olive Garden

Apparently, Nianni’s managers are more than understanding. “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 moments to help this young lady with her baby, I’d do it every day if I could.” And Nianni’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Facebook Post

Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Courtney was so touched by Nianni’s gesture that she dedicated a Facebook post to the server and her kindness – accompanied by a sweet photo of Rudder feeding Harlynn ice-cream.

And after outlining the incident, Courtney went on to give Niannni considerable praise for her actions.



Courtney’s post on Facebook has gained thousands of likes and comments. The online community has raved about Nianni’s kind gesture.

Mothers, sisters, and aunts have shared their appreciation for understanding a mother’s plight. But was everyone in the restaurant that night as understanding?


Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

“Girl, you will never truly know how appreciative I am for tonight,” gushed Courtney of her experience.

“I seriously admire you. 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!” But as far as Nianni is concerned, she was just doing her job.

True Compassion

Facebook – Courtney Ruth Pedigo

Nianni, who has a three-year-old niece, understood what Courtney was going through and felt like she deserved to stay where she was.

She knew raising a child isn’t easy – especially when there’s no father in the picture. She knew this because her own mom had raised her all alone. She understood exactly what the stranger was going through.

“That’s Just What They Do”


“She came out to enjoy a meal with her family, and she should be able to do that,” Nianni 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.” A little compassion can go a long way.

It Takes A Village

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The old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is one that still rings true – even if we’ve moved away from that concept in modern society.

Single moms, in particular, need all the help they can get. Next time you see a mom struggling with her child, instead of getting annoyed, see if you can help out. Nianni’s help meant the world to Courtney!