Last week, a pizza shop in Tampa Bay posted a sign outside the establishment – NO CHILDREN.
The sign caused outrage in the community, with a Tampa Bay Mom’s Group Facebook page exploding with comments. The sentiments were torn between “this is an outrage,” and “it’s [the business’] prerogative.”
Troy Taylor opened the Hampton Station pizza shop in 2015 and modeled the business as a family and hipster-friendly place complete with a patio courtyard and a number of action figures placed on the tables.
However, after incidents involving “a lot of people who couldn’t keep their kids under control,” Taylor had to take action. Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, he recalled an incident which became the catalyst for his decision.
"A kid was in danger and could have seriously been hurt," he stated. "It’s a liability and safety issue. After the incident, I thought, ‘this can’t happen again.’"
The restaurant is located in the Seminole Heights neighborhood, near a busy street. The restaurant’s patio is unprotected, and has access to the road.
He stated that with alcohol factoring in, the kids could always find themselves in dangerous situations.
With social media users split about Taylor’s decision, some Facebook users asked: “how does this not fall into some type of discrimination?”
One wrote, “This is a place that neighborhood families rallied around. I mean, this place literally uses action figures as their order markers.”
However, many supported the “no kids” policy, pointing out that there were plenty of places families could choose instead.
One Facebook user wrote, “Get over it. Go somewhere else it’s not that big of a deal lol.”
Another wrote, “Fine by me! I don’t have to take my kids everywhere with me and there's also plenty of other pizza places I can take them with me if I chose to.”
Others suggested a solution to the problem, stating that the place “should just ban kids after a certain time.”
Taylor said, "It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It’s been gut-wrenching. I’m not a big social media person, but I’ve stayed away from Facebook."
He did acknowledge a Facebook comment in the Tampa Bay Mom's Group that stated he might lose some long-time customers. However, he maintained that he "couldn't live with the fact that a child might get hurt at Hampton."
"We had a lot of great kids come in to Hampton and we are going to miss them, but this had to be done for everyone's well-being," his comment read.