KATY, Texas -- Eli Gau admits his 3-year-old son Ryan and 1-year-old son Ethan are a handful at times.
"They're kind of active,” Gau said. “They act like children. They're not adults."
So he and his wife thought nothing of it when they brought their boys to an Applebee’s restaurant in Katy for dinner Sunday night.
Gau said everything seemed fine until his oldest boy began wandering away from the table.
"I went and grabbed him,” Gau said. ”As I was grabbing him and coming back, the manager was walking to me.”
He said the manager told him that the children were making too much noise, then called the authorities and told the entire family to leave. When they walked outside, they were confronted by a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy."
The deputy gave them a notice warning them for criminal trespassing. The children’s mom was stunned.
“I feel disrespected,” said Lillian Maliti. “This has never happened in my life."
An Applebee’s spokesperson profusely apologized for what happened and said the management team had mishandled the situation. The restaurant also invited the family to come back and offered them free passes for dinner.
But Gau said his family would be taking their business somewhere else.
"I feel heartbroken. I feel very sad," Gau said.
Statement from Applebee’s
"Our franchise owner-operator has apologized to the Guest and invited the party back into their restaurant to demonstrate the standard of service each of our Guests deserve to receive during every visit. As a brand, our focus is and must always be providing the best possible experience for all of our Guests at all times. When a disruption in our restaurants affects any of our Guests, it is the manager's responsibility to step in to resolve the situation. It is exceedingly rare that a situation requires the assistance of law enforcement, and our franchisee is using this instance as a teaching moment to better manage future disruptions in their restaurants."