Everyone's an Expert (except you)
I was walking home from the park with my 2 and 4 year olds. My 2 year old likes to pretend to talk on the public phone. I give her the receiver and push a few buttons. An old woman who was at the bus stop started yelling at me and told me that the phone wasn't a toy. I told her that I didn't think she was damagine the phone. I should have told her that it's hard enough to raise children without being yelled at for every little thing. What's your opinion?
Like all mothers I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Somehow no matter how hard we try there is always someone who knows better than we do. As usual, however, I can see both sides of the issue- part of me wants to tell you that people should mind their own business while the other side wants to tell you that if you let your kids pretend chat on public phones you really should bring along some sanitizing wipes because those things are FULL of germs.
Ahem, where was I?
Public pay phones are built to endure some serious abuse and I highly doubt your baby holding the receiver will cause any damage especially if it's you pressing the buttons. It's not such a strange thing either. I recall that when my brother was a little boy he had an imaginary friend who could only be reached via payphone and whenever we passed one we had to stop so he could ring her up! We once almost missed a flight because my mother couldn't get him off the phone and my father had to carry him crying onto the plane (he was three at the time, and no, he doesn't read my blog B'H.)
That aside, if the woman was WAITING to use the phone that would be another matter, but it she's just butting in I'd ignore her or turn and ask if she needed the phone. Letting this woman have it would probably be counter productive - your kids would see you getting upset and this woman would probably have a whole list of areas in which you could improve yourself.
From one mother to another I suggest you be open to good advice but don't let meddlers get you down- you know your own kids best.