A Toddler, a Cell Phone, and One Big South Philly-Style Brouhaha

Even the police have gotten involved in an incident at B2 Cafe on Passyunk Avenue.

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia's B2 Cafe.

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia’s B2 Cafe.

UPDATE 2/12/2016 1:50pm: We watched the entire surveillance video of Francesca Depasquale’s 45-minute visit to B2 Cafe, and we call bullshit. For our full report on that video, click here.

We also got a copy of the video showing the woman who comes into the cafe and threatens the B2 Cafe barista with a bottle of spray cleaner. To view it, go here.

ORIGINAL:

In most places in these United States of America, an unpleasant experience in a restaurant is forgotten by the next morning. Maybe it leads to a bad Yelp review. Maybe. But in South Philadelphia, where shoveled-out parking spots are protected by an unspoken promise of bodily harm and where conflicts sometimes take the form of the “I’m funny how … like I’m a clown?” argument in Goodfellas, things are handled much, much differently. And so we bring you the story of what heretofore will be known as The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe.

On Tuesday evening, 26-year-old South Philly mom Francesca Depasquale visited Passyunk Avenue’s generally well-regarded B2 Cafe with her 3-year-old daughter, her sister and a friend.

The gals were sitting at a table, chatting about business and other subjects of zero interest to toddlers, and so Depasquale gave the girl a cell phone to keep her occupied, as 21st Century parents are wont to do. She played games. She listened to music. And the music, which was loud enough for others in the cafe to hear, was what prompted an employee to visit the table.

And that is where the undisputed facts of this story end.

According to a Facebook post that Depasquale made that evening, the female employee snatched the phone out of the toddler’s hands and said, “I don’t want to listen to your music right now!”

“Like, what?!!!!!” yelled Depasquale in her status update. “She’s fuckin’ 3 … I will never spend a fuckin’ penny in this place. This lady is lucky I was in such shock and din’t go off. I’m speechless.”

This being Facebook, a virtual vigilante army formed. The post was shared several hundred times, and people took to the cafe’s Yelp page as well as other review sites to express their outrage.

“Your staff is lucky they weren’t assaulted, as you assaulted a three year old,” wrote one irate Yelp user. “I’ll be boycotting B2 and I’ll be passing this story along to my friends as well as posting this review on multiple websites that u can’t delete..”

But B2 Cafe owner Nancy Trachtenberg says that her 7-year-old business is getting a raw deal here and that the facts are not as Depasquale alleges. According to Trachtenberg, the employee approached the table briefly and said, “You have to turn that down,” and then she walked away.

As the complaints grew in both number and volume and as the cafe’s phone was ringing off the hook with unidentified callers giving the employees some what fer, Trachtenberg checked her surveillance camera for footage of the incident. According to Trachtenberg, the group’s visit lasts about 45 minutes, and she says they stayed for a while after the server approached the table. She adamantly denies that the employee touched the child or the phone, and she released this clip that she says documents the server’s only interaction with the table:

She also published the following statement on the B2 Cafe Facebook page:

B2 Cafe respectfully submits this video clip for your review. We hope that this clarifies to the public that nothing rude or unprofessional transpired yesterday. Please note that the interaction was less than 2 seconds and that the employee touched nothing. Please feel free to direct any further questions to me, should any details need clarification.

It’s a little hard to see exactly what went down in that video, and the angry masses were not quelled by Trachtenberg’s evidentiary submission. “This proves nothing,” insisted one commenter. “How do we know this is even when it happened? Video is obviously edited.”

Trachtenberg retorts that she only published that part of the video, because at the time, she considered it to be the only relevant section, since it was, she insists, the only time the server went over to the group. She says that she’ll consider releasing the party’s full visit but that she has no idea how to download a 45-minute video from her system and onto the Internet.

As for the clip she did release, a quick Zapruder-like analysis seems to indicate that the employee did not touch the phone at that time:

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In fact, after the employee walks away, the woman sitting with her back to the camera extends her hand toward where the phone would be, but then, sadly, the video cuts off:

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In the end, it turns out that no one is quite sure what happened here. When we spoke with Depasquale on Thursday morning, she admitted that no one at the table actually, you know, saw the server touch the child or the phone. “It all happened so quick,” she says. “She was listening to a Pink song. It wasn’t even a cursing song. And all of a sudden this lady comes up, gets in her face and says, ‘I’m not in the mood for her music.’ As I looked over, I see the phone on the table, and I asked, ‘Did she just take that out of your hands?’ ‘Yes, mommy.'”

So why did this erupt online instead of being quietly resolved in a conversation between adults? Depasquale said she was in shock and reacted by posting her message on Facebook, but the next day, she did talk to Trachtenberg on the phone, after much of the online damage had been done. Alas, that conversation went nowhere fast. Depasquale characterizes Trachtenberg’s end of the call as “rude” and “arrogant,” while Trachtenberg says that Depasquale and her friend (it was a three-way call) had no interest in talking sense. “They both started screaming at me in tandem,” she recalls. “It was a classic shitshow of a three-way. A lot of screaming and name calling.”

But wait, there’s more!

According to Trachtenberg, shortly after Depasquale posted her rant on Facebook, another woman — not one from the table — came in and demanded to know who the perpetrator was. “When she figured out who it was, she grabbed a bottle of spray cleaner and threatened to bleach her,” Trachtenberg alleges. “My male employee physically ushered her out.”

The cops were called, and the Philadelphia Police Department confirms that a report was filed, but they couldn’t offer specifics other than that there was a complaint made by a B2 Cafe employee of a verbal altercation. Trachtenberg says that the police have surveillance video of the woman in question.

(Philly Mag has dutifully viewed a copy of that surveillance video, which Trachtenberg asked us not to share. We can confirm a woman comes into the cafe and threatens the female employee with a bottle of spray cleaner and generally screams her head off, while the female employee never breaks a sweat and a guy reading nearby barely flinches.)

Depasquale says she has no idea who the woman was — after all, the post was on Facebook for all the world to see. But she insists that she harbors no ill will toward B2 Cafe. “I don’t want nothing to happen to her business,” she says, adding that she would like to receive an apology, something that doesn’t seem like it’s coming. “All I know is, my friends and I won’t be going there anymore. If something’s bothering you, you say something to the adults — not to my child. It’s as simple as that.”

It never is.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.

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  • KidsAreForGoats

    All this story really confirms is that people with children make the world miserable for all of the rest of us. Breed on, breeders!

    • JB

      Ummm, were you born? Or did you just appear on planet earth? I guess your life was miserable from the beginning? Must be a hipster.

    • B

      I <3 you KidsAreForGoats

  • Al Swearengen

    Don’t play amplified music in public places. And also don’t lie about your kid getting assaulted. That Mom is rude and a liar.

    • Johnny Domino

      I’d say take her down to Mr. Wu, but that’s as bad as the FB idiots.

    • Ender Bob

      I have two kids, cell phones and iPods are banned at dinner tables and never taken into a restaurant.
      If these parents are so weak they can’t even parent correctly, they shouldn’t even have a kid.
      It’s obvious the parents are liars.

      • fuggyouuuuuuuu

        yep – these are the kinds of kids that grow up and start doing heroin and become lifelong criminals, because their parents taught them that they can “do no wrong”

  • southphillybullies

    Death threats via Facebook

    • Matt Panetta

      Get a life

      • The Pig

        Hahaha! He’s exposing the numbskulls.

      • Ender Bob

        Truth hurts, huh Matt?

        • Matt Panetta

          ya im crushed

        • Matt Panetta

          ya im crushed

  • southphillybullies

    South Philly threats via Facebook

  • southphillybullies

    South Philly threats

  • southphillybullies

    Tasty

  • southphillybullies

    Classy

  • southphillybullies

    Ass Whoop

  • southphillybullies

    Jail time

    • tearcollector

      Gee, all of these posts are such a great example of good parenting!

    • usehisleg

      Haha, so her kid would need to play a cell phone game ON FULL VOLUME!! Makes sense. Gosh, how did the children from the beginning of eternity to the 2010’s ever cope?!

  • southphillybullies

    Face Smashing

  • southphillybullies

    No more hands

  • southphillybullies

    Face Punching

  • southphillybullies

    Lucky I wasn’t there

  • southphillybullies

    “Burn B2 to the ground”

    • tearcollector

      Wow, useless, violent trash! Hope the police are called and a report is filed.

    • AJ

      Same old SP trash…sounds even worse than when we bailed out of there for Jersey in 2002. Good riddance! NOW I see why my mom made sure I went to school in other parts of the city and not Thomas or Southern!

  • southphillybullies

    “I’d be in cuffs”

    • canaduck

      Haha the kid is named Vienna??

  • KMotts

    The issue should have been addressed to the adults at the table in a cordial and professional manner. In the 6 seconds of video, you can tell that the waitress is addressing the child rudely. A simple apology from the waitress and owner would have gone a long way.

    • OkayMrsDepasquale

      I like how the argument goes from “OMG YOU DID SOMETHING TO MY CHILD EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO PROOF I WILL POST ABOUT THIS ONLINE AND ALL MY FRIENDS WILL HARASS YOU BECAUSE YOU DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO HAVE A BUSINESS” to “well, it’s the waitress’s fault because she didn’t use her manners.” Like, you blew this thing WAY out of proportion but it’s the waitress who probably forgot all about your sorry ass the second you walked out the door while you clearly continued to ruminate on it who needs to apologize. That’s a real good one.

      • KMotts

        Approach the parent and kindly ask the parent to turn down the cell phone. No one likes their child corrected by another adult. That’s basically the whole reason this crap is spiraling out of control. A lack of people acting like human beings.

        • kadomony

          Seems to me the mom and her cohorts are the ones completely acting out of line here.

        • Suzanne Theresa

          “No one likes their child corrected by another adult.” Too bad.

        • Phillygurl

          What ever happened to, ‘It takes a village.”?

        • tearcollector

          If the parents aren’t watching their children, someone has to step in and correct them. Last time I checked it was the parents responsibility to watch over their children not anyone else’s.

        • usehisleg

          “A lack of people acting like human beings.” – Yeah, like PLAYING MUSIC ALOUD ON A CELL PHONE IN A RESTAURANT!! I mean, come on, wtf, this is not socially acceptable nor should it be. If you need to be told to turn off your music you probably shouldn’t be going out to eat!

    • Katie S.

      The “adults” at the table shouldn’t have been so rude as to allow their child to play music on a phone and disrupt the other diners.

  • southphillybullies

    Face punch!

    • The Pig

      Haha! “[B]eat red . . . .”

  • southphillybullies

    “lowlife hippie dirty ass”

  • southphillybullies

    “Punch her in the throat”

    • Teri_A

      Classy.

  • southphillybullies

    beware of “whatever comes your way now”

  • southphillybullies

    Took the liberty of capturing a few comments left by the mother’s loyal friends – ranging from death threats to teeth knock outs to someone LITERALLY saying they plan to BLOW UP the cafe.

    If you know any of the people who left these hateful comments below, I’d advise you to sever ties before the poison spreads

    • RationalThinking

      Ever think about how you’re continuing to spread the poison?

      • southphillybullies

        You have to identify where the snake bit before you can suck out the poison

        • RationalThinking

          Typical, let it spread instead of helping to control it. Such a winning attitude.

          • southsillybullies

            Or you can put the snake in jail for making bomb threats

          • Essco

            Your an idiot South Silly Bullies 1 I would slap the tast out of your mouth for that name but this is way beyond what happened at the coffee shop these comments are on a whole nother level of disrespect talking about people you don’t know a little girl with cancer and simple as this everyone is really tough on social media and stupid as hell and extremely disrespectful, but on the street in the real world no1 would be saying half of this stuff and as for you with that name go outside and say that out loud then come back and tell me how many teeth your missing. Good day Sir

    • NDJ

      Amazing.

    • punkins

      Looks like she’s trying to glum up support for her kids’ go fund me campaign. I’m sad that that little girl has to endure such awful people.

      • SelectFromWhere

        A GoFundMe campaign? Because of THIS? Oh Christ, I am ashamed of my species.

    • DavidRauschenbach

      People like that need to be put in jail for that.

    • Lucy

      proves my point exactly! Thugs! I think they have had their 15 minutes, perhaps we should all ignore them now. Let them self implode.

  • southphillybullies

    Also, the Police Department is aware of these threats

  • Johnny

    Waitress could of walked up and asked the adults politely , i can see the waitress was a little pissed
    just by watching her actions which does imply she needs people and brain skills, a soft smile to the customers with a friendly tone would of been a lot better then zipping over with frantic hand gestures shows the waitress is out of line. Wrong Profession to be in Authoritarian. Cant mock a whole establishment over 1 rude waitress , could of left a tip of a penny and a note saying go F×€K
    Yourself.

    • hape2b

      You should not need to tell anyone to turn their music down. It should not have been on in the first place in a public venue. Common courtesy is a thing of the past.

  • pete

    Hey Francesca and friends: you all are a bunch of low life idiots. You all sound like trailer trash low life dirt bags.

    Grow up a bit.

  • Judge Elihu Smails

    Hey Parents! Control your damn kids.

  • Juicebox

    Giving a 3 year old free reign on a phone is lazy and could have disastrous consequences, like signing up for a human trafficking ring.

    • ES

      100% on the mark.

  • Steve

    I live not too far from B2 and figured I’d look up this Francesca DePasquale woman on Facebook. I instantly recognize her from my neighborhood and I’ve seen her in other places near East Passyunk. I’m not surprised at all that she is causing this issue. From what I’ve seen of her in the neighborhood, I wouldn’t believe a word of what she’s saying.

  • Matt Panetta

    Yuppie writer defending a yuppie coffee joint.

    • Juicebox

      Says the guy whose last name ends in a vowel defending his paisan!

    • Leegles

      As a yuppie resident of the neighborhood in question, I am very much offended by your comment but I will not threaten you with physical violence because that is not the yuppie way!

      • Matt Panetta

        As i was offended by majority of the comments talking about a 3 year old. But i also never made a threat.

        • Leegles

          Peace + love (+ strewn South Philly Reviews + ACME circulars and cheesesteak-related litter) in the 19147, yo

  • Bill Craig

    Very naughty

  • Pesca215

    Sounds like parent is brat. WTF is with people get a life get over your spoiled self! And..BLOW UP the café.? death threats? How childish! .sounds like 3 toddlers made a big stink rather being inconsiderate and lot of thugs piling up getting all worked up. There are BIG problems in life..and bullies talk murder & threats over absolute silliness. I think mommy needs some big time shamming she how she likes it.

  • Lucy

    Having been born and raised in South Philly, this is typical SP mentality. I said this on face book when the story was first shared, “perhaps the music was too loud for a public place”. Several things are wrong with this picture. If the mother was discussing “business” why was the child there? Perhaps a sitter would have been a better choice! If this truly did occur why didn’t the mother discuss it right then and there, instead of being a child and blasting it all over social media using foul language? What kind to f example is she setting for her child? Hopefully the intelligent people of south Philly will frequent this establishment and the volatile idiots will grow up and stop terrorizing this establishment!

    • Denise Doyle

      Lucy, first I was born and raised in SOUTH PHILLY AND THIS ISNT OUR MENTALITY !!!

      • Lucy

        Denise, My Apologies to you! But it is for some. I am sure you have witnessed it your self. My last sentence mentions the intelligent people of South Philly. My comment wasn’t to offend you or the normal people of SP, just the thugs and the person who showed up with a bottle of Clorox to spray in the face of the servers. That is the mentality I am referring to. The unreasonable thugs.

      • fuggyouuuuuu

        HAHAHAHAHAH says the yelling screaming font warrior. LOL

      • AJ

        I was born and raised there and for a lot of SP natives, YES IT IS the way they are…esp. those Two Streeters. Ugh

  • Red Dawg

    @ southphillybullies – You seem to be under the misguided impression that your responsibility in life is to repost comments made in response to this incident. You criticize the immediate, emotional reactions of family and friends who believed a three year-old girl was assaulted, at least verbally, by a rude waitress. From your tone, you’re not likely a South Philly native, so you don’t understand the ride-or-die mentality of this community. Tell you what, if I’m ever in a jam, those are the folks I want in my corner, not a whining, tattle-taling crybaby like you. Get over yourself.

    • Chris

      If anyone’s reaction to my hardships is physical violence or threats, then I wouldn’t want them in my corner because obviously they can’t control their anger and aggression.

      Also, posting on social media shouldn’t be a ‘reaction’ – it’s a publicly displayed, permanent comment. Immediate, emotional reactions should be relegated to personal communications.

    • usehisleg

      So how would you feel if someone asked for you help, you followed thru, effed with the person who you heard ‘wronged them’ with your ride-or-die lifestyle (as you put it Tough Guy). Then you came to find out the day after they were COMPLETELY LYING TO YOU!! It was all a ruse, a setup, a complete fabrication. Would you be proud of yourself, or would you feel like the small man that you really are?

  • ES

    The mom is pure trash. Nice mouth she has. Our five-year-old has been going out to restaurants with us since he was a few months old if the iPad comes out it’s kept at such a low volume not even the next table could hear i’ve never been to B2 but I’m going now to support them. She’s the one that should’ve been embarrassed instead of screaming like a maniac

    • usehisleg

      the iPad should be at “no volume”, not “low volume”.

  • inigojonze

    This place sucks (dirty, dirty cigarette-petting dogs-taking cash-hands never washed, super rude attitude, barely mediocre food), but I don’t think they’re at fault here.

    • phillyMEANIES

      and how would you some of that..you work there do u follow them into the bathroom? what ridiculous people..you must be one of the bullies trying to sound all sweet..hahaha

      • inigojonze

        That was *almost* legible, good job! Nah, i’m not a bully, just a paying customer who has been grossed out watching employees make my sandwich, without washing their hands or using gloves, after smoking cigs, petting slobbering dogs, and handling cash.

  • Justthetruth

    Where’s Kathryn Knott when you need her – she would have gotten this situation under control. (Oh that’s right – she’s in jail).

  • Rose52

    Disgrace!! Sooo actually the 3 yr old is the most intelligent of this crew & mommies facebook bullies! Story should begin these morons walk in a cafe …. lmfao

  • Juicebox

    Nah, apparently the little girl is sick. Cut her some slack, bro.

  • schnapster

    Not a fan of B2 but I am definitely on their side. I was on a plane and some woman had her smartphone on high volume and every time she pressed a button, it would freaking chirp. I told her to please put it on mute. She did. 3 people thanked me. I could only imagine how that situation would be magnified by some out of control kid and terrible mother who will let her kid annoy everyone. I read her Facebook posts and she is selling herself as the victim. No lady, the victim is anyone who has to deal with you. I might actually stop into B2 and give that employee a tip for standing up for the other customers.

  • The Pig

    Hahaha! These women are probably the type who partake in this dumb new “Mommy Challenge” I keep seeing on Facebook. The one where young mothers “challenge” each other to basically post their mom-child pics and then pass the “challenge” on to more of their friends. As if posting mom-child pics isn’t what they’re all already doing multiple times a day every day!

    (Props to all the nice, good moms out there, though!)

  • rechill

    There’s not enough popcorn in the world. Mmmm. Clash of cultures.

  • ME123

    Class act.

  • Essco

    You yuppies are ruining philly your in our neighborhoods go back to where ever your from, talking about a girl who has cancer she can listen to her music on her phone she’s a little girl, if someone did this to my son I would of snapped out, obviously the lady didn’t go to the mother like a normal person she went to the little girl it’s in the video and her motions where less then nicely asking her to lower it or turn it off, but you tell the parent you don’t go to someone’s child maybe you yuppies that are on here saying that it was right what she did are the same people that will talk all crazy on here but are scared to death to talk to someone in person

    • Al Swearengen

      what’s your address?

  • AJ

    It happened in Soufilly, is anyone surprised? REALLY?
    YEARS ago when I had the great misfortune to have lived there, I stopped at a Mickey D’s with my then-2 yr old son (Front and Oregon). A filthy looking little girl wanders over and starts taking French fries from my son’s food. I must have had a look of absolute shock on my face, because this child’s mother at the next table (a toothless red-haired wonder with a dirty T shirt that said, “On Saint Patty’s Day everyone loves green beer!”) stood up and said to me, “YOU GOT A PROBLEM? SHE’S JUST A CHILD! YOU WANNA MAKE SUMTHIN OF IT?” The manager came over and intervened, but I had not even said a word. It doesn’t take much to set off a lot of short fuses down there.

    • Al Swearengen

      you are a liar

      • AJ

        Nope!

  • BobSmith77

    The manner in which a lot American parents behave in public places with their kids is deplorable.

  • More people who are slandered or libelled on Facebook need to step up and file lawsuits against the posters. Lying about a business can cause real monetary damage, which is really all the courts will accept as “harm.” Same with Yelp, it seems like that’s where the REAL crazies hang out.

  • Essco

    You yuppies are ruining this city of ours your in our neighborhoods u don’t like it leave go back to where your from, I see a lot of people talking crazy on here, basically if you have a problem with what someone’s kid is doing you go to the parent not to the little kid and she has cancer honestly if she wants to watch videos on her phone and that makes her happy then that’s fine with me, I dunno how you people can talk this crazy about a little girl with cancer, this is where I say you yuppies are very opinionated on social media but in real life you won’t confront someone face to face and half of the stuff that is being said on here you wouldn’t dare to say out on our streets cause you know you would have to back your words up. Most people are replying saying crazy things with fake names cause you too scared to speak your mind and have people know who you are my name is Giuseppe Romano and to you heartless F__ks get out of our city please thank you and have a wonderful day

    • Al Swearengen

      I’ll talk to you face to face anytime