DEAR MISS MANNERS: While on vacation at a theme park in Florida, I was shocked to see a mother enter the not-empty men's room shouting for her son. There was no reply.
When I suggested/requested she leave, given it was a men's room which was being used by numerous gentlemen, I was informed that she had every right to be there, and she resumed shouting for someone who was not in the facility.
I have no doubt about what the reaction would be to my entering a women's restroom even if looking for my daughter. Instead, I would politely ask a woman entering/exiting to see if my daughter (using her name) was "OK." In this day and age, I cannot imagine putting a child in any scenario where their location is in question.
Was I correct in my request? Am I wrong in my view about how to handle locating my child?
GENTLE READER: Whether or not someone was singing "It's a Small World (After All)" in your ear while this was occurring, the reminder is relevant. The mother was rude, but it would have been preferable to focus on how to help rather than how to criticize.
You could have asked the child's name and said you would be happy to go look yourself to save her any embarrassment. Miss Manners hopes that this is what would happen if you were found hovering outside a women's room holding a pink backpack, a coloring book, a child's sweater and coat -- and a worried look.