The kid ban was meant to limit the spread of H1N1 virus, which had been infecting some patients and staff. But many out-of-town hospital visitors brought kids anyway, leaving them to while away the hours watching orderlies wolf down chicken vindaloo and pea curry.
"When we rolled that policy out, there was certainly a learning curve," explained UCSF food services director Dan Henroid. "Some people were traveling a significant distance and just didn't get the word."
Henroid responded to the idle kid crisis with another new policy: free Jell-O pudding.
"We instituted basically giving out gift certificates in effect to the café, where people can hang out in the event they need to bring a child, because they didn't have child care, or something like that," said Henroid, who says he's distributed 250 gift cards thus far.
Five bucks her kid, Henroid answered, adding "We have pretty reasonable prices, and we can stretch that pretty far."
Investigative reporters, we pulled up today's this week's menus, which feature adult-friendly items such ginger beef, dijon salmon, and cauliflower pea curry.
What kid's going to eat that?
"We actually have quite a few kid-friendly options, like Jell-O pudding and Horizon milk," Henroid said, in reference to a brand of sugar-fortified milk.