WATCH ABOVE: A southern Alberta mother says she feels violated after being asked to leave a local restaurant, adding it happened because she was breast-feeding her two-month-old baby. Quinn Campbell has the details.
LETHBRIDGE – A Lethbridge mother says she was thrown out of a Walmart McDonald’s by an employee after breastfeeding her seven-week-old daughter.
“We sat down in the far back corner and we started eating, and little Miss Hallie decided she needed to eat,” said mother of two, Kayla Pontorolo. “Everything was fine, a couple sat down beside us, another guy behind us…He left and they started nitpicking. Next thing I knew, a guy came over to me and told me I needed to leave.”
Pontorolo said she was doing her best to be discreet: she said she had her back to the other people in the restaurant and was covered.
“Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough, apparently. What do you want me to do—go sit in my boiling hot car and feed her?” she asked.
The owner of the restaurant issued a statement in response to the incident, saying as a McDonald’s franchisee and parent, he supports “a mother’s right to breastfeed in a public area, including in the dining area of my restaurant.”
“That one of our guests may have been asked to leave is unacceptable and I am looking into this matter,” said Lethbridge franchisee Dan Brown. “I pride myself on operating a family-friendly destination and on providing exceptional guest experiences. However, in this case it would appear that we may have fallen short of delivering on that and I am very sorry if that is what happened.”
Breastfeeding advocates said the incident is a reminder of the importance of education and why businesses should have policies in place.
“Any public place should have a written breastfeeding policy and educate their staff, and make sure that policy is followed through,” said doula Michelle Maisonville. “Even consider putting up some signage to say, ‘hey, we are a breastfeeding-friendly facility.’”
With files from Erika Tucker