An Indiana woman, who had been out to lunch at TGI Friday’s, was secretly photographed by a creepy stranger. He circulated the photo on Facebook, hoping to shame the woman for what he saw her do.
Unbeknownst to Conner Kendall, a man snapped a picture while he sat across the dining room at TGI Friday’s in Terre Haute, Indiana. Then, he called on the online community to weigh in on what she was doing. The incident sparked a massive debate, which ultimately backfired on the shamer when Conner found out and posted a scathing retort to his claim.
At the time of the incident, Conner was a new mom to a four-month-old boy named Carter. The two had stopped at the restaurant to grab a quick bite with Conner’s mother. It had been three hours since Carter had last been fed, so Conner did double dining duty, breastfeeding him as she ate her lunch.
An unnamed man across the dining room lost his appetite at the site of Conner’s breast in public. He snapped a picture and shamed her for it when he returned home. The keyboard warrior obliterated her in a rant about exposing herself in front of other children who were present, one of which was the disgruntled diner’s daughter. With rickety wording, he ended his post by asking why she can’t cover her breast.
Conner only learned about the shaming post when the photo and message landed in a local Facebook group for moms, according to People. Many had already replied to the man’s post, tossing the ridicule back on him for ripping apart a mother fulfilling her child’s basic need. But, Conner was about to light him up herself, with a point-by-point post countering his claim that she’s gross and inappropriate.
Conner Kendall posted an open letter on Facebook, which reads in part: “I just wanted to let you know that I am the mother who was breastfeeding my son at TGI Friday’s. I am also the woman that you felt the need to take a picture of while I was doing so. Then proceed to post said picture on social media in a shameful manner. As I was admiring how adorable your daughter was, you were posting pictures of me on Facebook and Instagram.”
The open letter continued, “While I in no way, shape, or form owe you any explanation I would like to clarify a few things. I did nothing wrong, I turned away to latch my son and pulled my shirt back up when he was finished out of respect for others in the restaurant. I do not use a cover, because my son fights them, screams, and doesn’t eat at all while under them. If he had been screaming because he was hungry then I would be a bad mom for not feeding my hungry child. I did not pump before leaving home, A-because my son does not like to take a bottle and B-because it is my right to feed him any way I see fit wherever I see fit.”
Conner Kendall said she’s not ashamed of breastfeeding her son in public and feels blessed to be able to do that for him since many mothers can’t. But, what this man and some others had an issue with was the amount of breast showing while she was feeding her son. She had a response for that too, however. “You see less while I’m nursing than some people show at Walmart, not to mention the posters of VS models in the mall,” Conner said.
TGI Friday’s corporate office provided the following response to the Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune-Star: “TGI Fridays respects a parent’s right to raise their child in a positive, healthy manner, free from unwarranted criticism. To that end, we fully support our guests in being able to breastfeed in our restaurants. It goes for this situation and all times a mom is breastfeeding her child.”
Mothers shouldn’t be cast-off to germ-filled bathrooms to feed their babies, but they do need to use discretion and adequately cover themselves during breastfeeding. Sure, breastfeeding is natural and everyone should accept that it happens, but perhaps Conner could have covered the exposed part of her breast a little better with a blanket, which would still give her freedom to feed and her infant would have still been comfortable eating uncovered.
However, the real issue here isn’t the breastfeeding; it’s that everyone is armed with a camera in hand and isn’t afraid to use it to shame a stranger on social media. So, for that reason, the man who posted the photo was wrong. Unless someone is clearly in the act of committing a crime, which Conner Kendall was not, nobody should humiliate another person for reasons that serve them personally. Some things aren’t what they seem and can easily be twisted online, ruining a person in the split second it takes to snap a picture and click “post.”