It’s said that children are one of the greatest gifts you can possess; they may give life a purpose and sometimes even complete it. But, on occasion, kids can still be a real pain. And thanks to the tantrums, accidents and endless crying, parenthood can be trying to say the least. One mother in particular knows that all too well.
Courtney Pedigo has experienced some of the drawbacks of being a mom to her daughter, Harlynn. As practically any parent will know, their little bundle of joy can be unapologetically demanding. And when Pedigo and Harlynn went out for dinner on one occasion, the young child seemed ready to test her mother’s patience.
In particular, Pedigo had chosen to head to a Greensboro, North Carolina, branch of Olive Garden with her daughter in tow. So, on October 1, 2018, the pair sat down for dinner at the restaurant – but the outing would be far from a peaceful one for the mom.
Yes, at one point in the meal, Harlynn started getting restless. She refused to sit still and did her utmost to break out of her chair in order to run around and explore the restaurant. And, needless to say, the little girl’s behavior began to frazzle her mother.
Pedigo would later speak about her time in Olive Garden to North Carolina-based station WGHP, saying, “I didn’t know it’d be that big of a disaster.” She also outlined how Harlynn had reacted to the venue, adding, “She didn’t want to sit in the high chair, and so I knew something was going to happen.” Sure enough, Pedigo had been proven correct.
Since her daughter seemed to be intent on creating chaos, then, Pedigo decided to get Harlynn out of the restaurant as soon as possible. To that end, she hailed a waitress and asked to get her food packed up in take-out boxes. The tired mother then got a firm answer that took her back, however.
You see, the server replied to Pedigo’s request with a simple “No.” But what could have prompted such a seemingly rude response? Well, Nianna Rudder had seen Pedigo struggling with Harlynn and just wanted her to be able to eat her meal in peace. And what Rudder did next was truly heartwarming.
Instead of merely boxing up the food, Rudder sat herself next to the pair, attempted to console Harlynn and was prepared to get them whatever they required. Speaking to WGHP, Rudder said that she understood Pedigo’s predicament, adding, “[Harlynn’s] a kid. They cry, they fuss, they want to run around. There’s no reason for you to have to go home because she’s being fussy. She’s a baby, [and] that’s what babies do.”
And Rudder did not stop there. She even came back to the table with some ice-cream for little Harlynn and proceeded to feed it to the toddler. While Rudder held Harlynn’s attention, then, the mom could eat her dinner before it got cold.
Of her act of kindness, the server said that she did what she did simply because she did not want Pedigo to feel like she had to escape from the restaurant. Rudder said, “[Pedigo] didn’t feel comfortable with [Harlynn] being fussy. I didn’t want her to leave, and I wanted for her to enjoy her family and the dining experience.”
And Rudder’s gesture meant such a great deal to Pedigo that it stayed with her for a while afterwards. When speaking to WGHP, Harlynn’s mother confessed, “[Rudder] has been on my mind constantly, because nothing like that has ever happened to me.”
Furthermore, Pedigo is a single mom, and a situation such as the one she had experienced in Olive Garden can be difficult to handle alone. Luckily, though, Rudder was there to help. And Pedigo would express her gratitude to the waitress, revealing, “It meant so much to me for her to take the time to sit down and to help me out so I could eat my food.”
In fact, Pedigo was so touched by Rudder’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, Pedigo went on to give Rudder considerable praise for her actions.
Pedigo wrote to the Olive Garden employee, “Girl, you will never truly know how appreciative I am for tonight. I seriously admire you – not only because you took the time to bribe my bratty little human with sweets so I could eat, but [also] because you are so, so strong!”
But that wasn’t all. Pedigo added to Rudder, “I aspire to be the go-getter you are. And like I told my dad on our way home, it has to take someone with a strong heart and mind to do what you do – because I know I couldn’t!”
Now, Pedigo’s post is somewhat of a viral sensation, with over 10,000 reactions and more than 1,600 shares. And it seems as if Pedigo isn’t the only one who has been touched by Rudder. One comment on Facebook read, for example, “[Rudder] is the example we should all strive to be… with this attitude, outlook and commitment.”
Meanwhile, Rudder was shocked to find out that her simple gesture had taken the internet by storm. Speaking to WGHP, she exclaimed, “I had no idea [my helping Pedigo] would blow up like that or anything. I didn’t do it for that reason, but it was absolutely amazing.”
And Rudder’s generosity didn’t escape the attention of her managers at Olive Garden. They rewarded her impeccable customer service with a badge of honor created especially for her. The footage of this moment shows the team crowded around Rudder and applauding her hard work, while one of her coworkers adds, “We’re proud to have you in our family.”
But Rudder herself has explained that she has in turn been inspired by her place of work. She told WGHP, “[Family] is what Olive Garden is all about. We’re here for family, that’s our motto. And I take that to heart.”
Then, while talking to the station, Rudder revealed that she hopes someone would return the favor if she were ever in Pedigo’s place. And thanks to the waitress’ story going viral, she may yet receive some help of her own someday.