A Calgary family's surprise experience at a local restaurant has exploded online and sparked a debate about the behaviour of children in restaurants.

Alicia Welsh and her husband took their one year-old daughter Evie for brunch on Mother's Day at Carino Japanese Bistro  a small eatery in northeast Calgary.

When it came time to get the bill, the family received a $5 reduction on the tab. It was listed on the bill as a "well-behaved kids" discount.

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"I'd never seen that before," Alicia Welsh told the CBC. "It was a really, really nice surprise to top off a really nice brunch." 

Restaurant owner Toshi Carino told CBC News he has had the "well-behaved kids" policy for about a year.

"We are so tiny place, only 35 seats. So between table and table, it is very close," said Carino.

Welsh's husband Daley was impressed by the restaurant's gesture and posted a picture of the receipt on the popular website Reddit.

From there it hit Twitter, and the story has been picked up by news organizations in the United States and U.K.

The small Calgary eatery's policy is getting widespread attention, but the story has also prompted a debate online.

Welsh doesn't think all restaurants should start offering discounts for well-behaved kids, but believes they should consider ideas like "family-friendly" times for diners with children.

But either way, she plans to continue dining out with Evie.

"We're just really lucky parents. We have a happy, seems to be well-adjusted little girl. Every time we take her (to a restaurant) she seems to be a bit of a hit," said Welsh.