December 28, 2018

Olive Garden waitress helps feed fussy toddler so mom can enjoy dinner

Share this pen


Nianna Rudder is a waitress at the Olive Garden on 3000 West Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro, North Carolina.

On October 2, she was serving Courtney Ruth Pedigo and her daughter Harlynn. The 1-year-old toddler became fussy and didn’t want to settle down at the restaurant.

So her mother told the waitress to give her a to-go box but Rudder’s reaction shocked her. Courtney Ruth Pedigo couldn’t help but share her experience at Olive Garden via a Facebook post.


Her daughter, Harlynn was making a fuss at the restaurant and Pedigo was embarrassed and drained from trying to keep her calm.

So she asked her waitress, Nianna Rudder, 22, if she could just package her food in a box and she’d eat at home. However, Rudder’s answer to Pedigo was “No.”

Pedigo recalled how the conversation went:

"She calmed me down. She was just like, 'It's OK, she's not bothering anybody, you're OK.'"


The waitress told her:

“You’re going to go sit down and enjoy your dinner and I will be there to sit with her!”

Rudder insisted:

"She'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, that's what babies do.”

Rudder came back with a bowl of ice cream with caramel syrup for Harlynn. Even though the toddler wouldn’t let her hold her, Harlynn sat in her mother’s lap and allowed the waitress to feed her.


For a change, Pedigo got to eat her food while it was hot. Rudder explained why she had gone out of her way to help Harlynn’s mother on that day.


She said:

“I did what I would want for someone to do for me if I was in that situation. People need to be more compassionate with one another. Anyone with a heart would have done the same.”


In a similar incident in 2013, Sarah Hoidahl, then-22, served two soldiers when they came in and ate at her restaurant Ruby Tuesdays in New Hampshire.

The two women discussed how they had been furlonged during the government shutdown.


Hearing this, Hoidahl decided to cover their $27.75 meal. She left them a note that read:

“Thanks to the government shutdown the people like you that protect this country aren't getting paid. However, I still am. Lunch is on me! Thank you for serving ladies!'

Her good deed caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres who left her in tears after surprising her with a new car and $10,000. Goes to show that good deeds don’t go unnoticed.

For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa