Big Love From Little Barn

Dining out with a 2-year-old is never easy.

For Joy Mermelstein — the mother of a non-verbal, autistic boy — it’s particularly tough.

But Little Barn advertises itself as “kid-friendly.” They’ve got high chairs, special menus, and a patient staff.

The other day, Joy’s family — with her son Charlie — headed to the popular Post Road restaurant. He acted out a bit. A couple nearby — with their own young child — did not mind.

But another diner did. And said something.

Joy sat down. She teared up.

What happened next is remarkable. The wait staff, the manager — everyone — went waaaay out of their way to make Joy and Charlie feel welcome.

I won’t tell you exactly what happened. Joy describes it far better than I can.

And she does it on a video she posted to Facebook and YouTube. (Be sure to watch it to the end!)

It should go viral.

And if it does, Little Barn should add plenty of seats and tables. Because they deserve to be packed — every meal — with the kind of patrons who appreciate a good restaurant, run by and with great people.

(Hat tip: Peggy Lehn)

23 responses to “Big Love From Little Barn

  1. An extraordinary tale, and what a wonderful manager and staff must be at the Little Barn. Unusual to get tears in one’s eyes over 5a.m. coffee, but it happens.
    Thanks for giving us the video.

  2. Best way to start the day! Thank you for sharing. Go Little Barn. Go Joy 🙂

  3. Stephen Szilagyi

    This is what we all need Just be kind Little Barn Rocks

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Kudos to beautiful Mom and to Little Barn!

  5. A truly wonderful way to start the day. I look forward to making Little Barn my next meal out. And Joy – parenting is never easy, but you have a special challenge. And you’re killing it, girlfriend! Sending hugs and strength for whenever you need it.

  6. Kudos to Lil Barn! Always smiling and welcoming staff…(Special shout out to Alex B.!!)…Favorite “go-to” place…

  7. Great place to go eat and have a drink

  8. A wonderful story –and the comments are equally uplifting…we carry on…

  9. We will be going to Little Barn even more now. THANK YOU!

  10. Theresa Bairaktaris

    As I watched this video, I myself teared up, hard not to. I am a mom of Triplet boys… When our boys were young, it was challenging to take the 3 then babies out to eat. The stares you would get…. hoping that we wouldn’t be seated too close to you…This story was beautiful the way the restaurant handled the situation. No one knows what is gong on in someone’s life. Everyone, Mom & Dads need that little break to get out & enjoy a meal not cooked by themselves. Kudos to the Little Barn to make this family feel welcome and to go beyond…. The restaurant truly made a difference in that little boys life, while he walked out of that restaurant wearing a huge smile.

  11. Very heartwarming. Good people, which are needed more than ever.

  12. This is such a feel good story and especially nice that it happened right here in Westport. What a special staff and manager at The Little Barn. A little kindness goes such a long way. We all need to remember that.

  13. Elizabeth Thibault

    We all have challenges in our lives, some more visible than others. We need to ask ourselves if our behavior towards others is constructive or helpful. If not, keep it buttoned up. The woman’s actions were clearly intended to shame a young family, with no positive purpose. The behavior of the staff and other patrons is to be applauded and I’m very happy that Dan was able to bring this to our attention.
    Be a light in the world, like these people. Kindness costs nothing.

  14. As the father of an autistic boy who has behavioral issues and has tossed plates in restaurants or shrieked or screamed, I appreciate this wonderful story.

    I particularly liked that she explained she would NOT give him a lollipop and encourage his outburst even if that made the current situation more tolerable it would just make the next outburst worse.

    Little Barn responded wonderfully. It definitely makes me consider taking my boys there the next time I’m in town but, most likely, you’ll find us at Shake Shack or Burger-Lobster.

    I would just like remind any person who wants to speak up when they encounter a disruptive child that they are welcome to step out of the restaurant until the urge passes.

  15. Claudia P Shaum

    Amazing story – and especially with all the mean-spiritedness we see around us these days, it restores your faith in humanity. I guess we’ll be eating out a lot because we vowed to go teh the Black Duck at least once a week and now we have to add Little Barn!

  16. Sharon Paulsen

    Wow, wonderful!!!

  17. Shannon McArthur

    This is so heartwarming!!! Well done Little Barn, and well done Mom! You did the right thing. You’re an awesome Mom!

  18. Robert Mitchell

    Thank you, Dan, for posting. Love Little Barn!

  19. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    As a mother of a young man with autism, this brought back similar
    memories for me..a mix of sadness re people’s ignorance, but Also grateful for other folks’ kindness-empathy in stressful situations.
    Joy Mermelstein says it best: ‘She’s just doing the best she can as a mom.’

    Thank you,Dan, for posting this.

  20. I have never posted anything in mylife but this warrants a change to that. I am.very proud to call Scott Beck, the owner of Little Barn, one of my best friends. As good as a restaurant owner he is, he is an even better person. The is reflected by the people he hires and how he treats them and others. It’s no surprise that the staff acted in the way they did. It starts from the top. This is how things should be. Always. Well done Little Barn

  21. Alexis D. Senoski

    Thank you for sharing. I hope Joy sees that the Little Barn as well as the community stand behind her. Bravo, mama!

  22. How many of these will you send?

    Steve Clarke


  23. Alex L. Mermelstein

    Went back this past weekend. Same great level of service. Chris said that they have received a lot of business from this blog. There were a lot of kids there and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Thanks, everyone. Keep spreading the word.