A Pizza Hut worker took one look at this woman and immediately walked over to her, looked her dead in the eyes, and told her plainly: You have to leave.
Paige Martin started her family young, but she was convicted about her parenting methods. At just 22 years old, the new mom headed out for dinner with her husband and their son, who was only a few months old. When her baby began to cry, she did what she thought was best, but soon learned that other customers didn’t like it one bit.
The Ohio woman claims a Pizza Hut employee told her to leave the chain restaurant after she began to breastfeed her sobbing son. While that sounds outrageous to anyone aware of the law, there’s more to the story, which would be revealed after the incident grabbed the attention of the local news. That’s when people began to see a problem with Paige’s recollection of the events.
Come to find out, Paige wasn’t immediately thrown out. When she started to nurse the hungry baby, the Pizza Hut employee in Wauseon, Ohio, did approach her, allegedly embarrassing her, but by her own admission, she wasn’t initially told to leave.
“I was approached by an employee there who asked me if I could cover myself up with a blanket, and I said, ‘No, it’s my right’ because he won’t eat with a blanket over his head,” said Paige. Most mothers in her position understand where she is coming from since not many people, babies included, care to eat under the heat of a blanket. But, this story doesn’t end there.
Next, the employee asked Paige if she would move to an area of the restaurant with fewer people for the sake of those parents “who don’t want to expose their children to that.” It seemed like a reasonable request. Instead of compromising, the young mother responded again that it is her legal right to breastfeed and refused to move.
“That’s when she said, ‘Well I’ll have to ask you to leave,’” Paige recalled as she demanded an apology from Pizza Hut. “Stick up for yourself, stick up for your rights. I’m not just doing this for myself, I’m doing this for all breastfeeding mothers,” she added.
“Breastfeeding is a constant emotional uphill battle. You are your child’s bottle; that’s a lot to ask because babies do nurse a lot,” she continued. “I think people need to be a little bit more compassionate about that and if you don’t like what you’re seeing your more than welcome to look away,” she concluded.
“Pizza Hut fully supports state law regarding a mother’s right to breastfeed in our restaurants. While this customer was not asked to leave the restaurant, but rather offered another table with greater privacy, we deeply apologize that this situation in any way upset her or if she felt mistreated,” an apologetic statement, sent to WTOL from Pizza Hut’s corporate office, said. “We will take this as an opportunity to further train our employees.”
Although Ohio law states restaurants are not allowed to discriminate against women breastfeeding in public, there is no legal consequence if they do, and it seems readers are torn down the middle on the issue, so businesses often find themselves in a tough spot when the two sides collide.
While Paige should definitely be able to feed her child, is it really too much to ask for a compromise? As one reader said, “This woman does not understand that her rights end when they infringe on mine! When the restaurant employee asked her to move, she should have. I am an 81 yo man, I have seen lots of tits in my life, but I do not want to have a strange woman blatantly expose her tits to me in public. I applaud breastfeeding, but I do not want to be exposed to it with people that I do not know.”
Meanwhile, others say it’s as simple as looking away. “So why were you pervs looking at her while she was nursing her baby?” one social media user wrote in a rebuttal to the complaints. “You don’t like it, don’t look. If she pretended to flash you while doing it, then I can see a bit of a problem. But, come on, leave the nursing moms alone!”
What this comes down to is showing common decency and respect when you know an issue is so divisive. Between my children, I breastfed for a grand total of 3 and a half years of my life. I breastfed publicly — a lot. I did not use a blanket. But, no one got a peep show. There are easy ways to be discrete. Simply use your own clothing and body to block prying eyes, and pick a private spot — no, that doesn’t mean a dirty bathroom. If you’re at a restaurant, ask for a booth away from prying eyes.
The problem isn’t figuring out who is right and who is wrong. The issue is learning to compromise rather than wasting energy asserting your rights where it’s not needed. Just because you are “allowed” to do something, doesn’t mean you should. Why would you want strangers to see your boobs anyway? Use a corner booth and be modest while others keep their eyes on their own table. Problem solved.