Diners, Noise, and Autism: A Good Experience at Denny's in Kearny Mesa
I am hesitant at best to go to a diner with our boys on the spectrum. The noise is severe, they are often very busy, and the service is often very slow. Normally this isn't a problem, because it gives the patrons a chance to talk, gossip, and socialize. For people with autism, however, the noise is painful, the wait unbearable.
This past week we had some family visit, and at the end of their visit we went out to breakfast at Denny's on Kearny Villa Road and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. The diner was quiet, as it was early in the morning, with only a few patrons. We had a large group (10), so it took them some time to arrange our seats.
When we sat down, my oldest started to exhibit signs of a meltdown. We made our drink order, and shortly afterward our server came and got our food order. After making our order, I specifically asked that the boy's food be brought out first because they have autism and it would alleviate any problems with the wait. Our server, Andrea, took note and went away.
As the family talked, I took my oldest for a walk as we waited for our food. We walked to the rest room, he washed his hands, and we walked back. Shortly after returning to our seats, the food came for the boys! I was surprised, as this is the first time when I have asked for the boy's food first at a restaurant, and it actually came first. I was very impressed.
But there was a slight problem: the cooks made the breakfast with pancakes instead of toast. Andrea apologized, and said she didn't want to take the plates back, but would bring out the toast when it was done. This was also very impressive, as we were not charged for the pancakes. Andrea did her best to make sure our boys were comfortable.
When we left, I made sure her manager knew just how helpful Andrea was in accommodating our son's needs. She did a stellar job, and I hope she is commended for it.
As I said earlier, we don't often go to diners as they are perfect places for meltdowns. But this Denny's experience was perhaps the best possible experience we could have had, with staff that were understanding and willing to accommodate. I would recommend them to any family who have children with autism in the San Diego area.