4.06.2010

Old Country Buffet is NOT family-friendly


Please take a look at Woman, Uncensored for her most recent post.

I encourage all of my readers to PLEASE contact the local police department and the corporate Old Country Buffet with a complaint.

The stories regarding this incidence can be found here and here.

My letter to OCB is as follows:
Old Country Buffet-

I was horrified to open my internet this morning and see the news that one of your "family" restaurants (in Maplewood, MN) removed a mother because she was nursing her baby. I read the follow up story that the 'true reason' was that the father was becoming agitated.

I have to ask, if your legal and civil rights were being infringed on, wouldn't you have become agitated as well to defend those rights? And yet, you are supporting the local restaurant and their decision to involve the police in this matter.

Do you understand that this is a violation of their legal rights? Minnesota law clearly protects a mother and child's right to nurse:

"Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure."

This incident is an embarrassment on your local management, the local police department, and your corporate business. I will be boycotting your restaurants and will be encouraging my readers and family to do the same until a public, official apology is made as well as employees in all of your locations are trained in local laws supporting a mother and child's legal right to not be harassed, embarrassed, or removed for breastfeeding.

As a friend and mother stated: "you can count my household as" seven "less customers until you are truly "family" friendly."

Sincerely,
Cole Deelah
My letter to the police department was as follows:
To the Maplewood Police Department,

I was recently made aware of an incident that occurred at your local Old Country Buffet restaurant. During this incidence, a mother was nursing discreetly, was told numerous times to cover up, and as such, police were summoned to escort the family out after the father allegedly became 'hostile' in defending his wife's right to nurse whether covered up or not.

I further understand that you sided with the restaurant rather than support the legal right of the family, who had every right to become upset - as would you if your rights were being infringed on.

Perhaps you are not even aware that Minnesota law states that a woman has the right to nurse her child in public whether she covers up or not?

"Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure."

Unfortunately, this breech in legal rights has been shown to support the wrong party and, sadly, you may find yourselves contacted by numerous parties throughout the United States that agree with the laws that you failed to uphold on that day and time.

I sincerely hope that, at this point in the story, your department makes a formal, public apology to the family so that they community knows that you will uphold their legal rights and are not supportive of this behavior from business in your area. I think that your community would like to see their law enforcement officials enforce the law.
Join me please, it only takes a moment. Change only occurs when the public raises it's voice!

8 comments:

KBH said...

Just sent a letter. I basically used what you had written and changed a few things! Thanks for letting us know about this!

Indie said...

It looks from their website that they also own HomeTown Buffet, Country Buffet, and Ryan's.

Brittany said...

I sent a letter!

Anonymous said...

They were asked to leave the restaurant because she refused to cover up or turn away from other diners and her baby daddy became loud and abusive to staff. You should thoroughly inform yourselves before you start sending letters to the company and the police department. No one asked her to stop feeding. They wanted her to be respectful of other patrons and for her boyfriend to behave in a civil manner. Her boyfriend has a long rap sheet, with several convictions for assault and domestic violence; do you believe that patrons and staff of a family restaurant on Easter should be subjected to his abuse or to her lack of privacy for herself or her child? If you think she should do what's best for her children, does that include living with a felon who beats women?

Nicole D said...

Hey Anon - thanks for your thoughts.

I would ask, as I always do, that I LOVE people to share their sides, but to be respectful..

SO... with that said... lets get the facts straight, shall we?

She attempted to cover up prior, but baby didn't want to be covered up and kept removing the blanket.

If you have ever nursed in public with a baby 3 months or older, some babies simply refuse to be covered up while nursing. AND, the law sides with mom that she does not HAVE to cover up to nurse in public. That is her legal right.

If you read the article in it's entirety, she was asked to LEAVE because the FIRST time because management wanted her to cover up or leave - and that threat is illegal.

The dispatcher's log even starts with the employees talking with the customers about breastfeeding and flashing.

The second time they asked/told them to leave it was because her fiance was "being rude and noncompliant" according to the mother or "yelling and swearing" according to OCB. Regardless of which was FACT (and unless you were there, you don't know which it was) their rights were being infringed on and they justified to become irritated.

If you were a black person in the 60's and were asked, then told, to leave an establishment in the south, you would have a right to hold your ground and it would be justified to become irate... regardless of the 'other patrons'.

It was not the families fault that the restaurant and management behaved badly and attempted to infringe on their legal right to nurse in public regardless of her being covered or not... and THAT is what caused the reaction and thus, the 'patron's enjoyment level'.

We knew all of this prior to sending out the letters, and stipulated it as thus.

Respectful of other patrons: the man sitting directly behind them had NO IDEA she was nursing and told her that - it was not a patron issue - it was an uneducated management and employee issue.

I am very familiar with the threads on the internet claiming to have found the 'scum' of Joseph Leroy Santos and his record. Unfortunately, there is no information confirming that this person and Joe Santos are one and the same. In fact, in the St. Paul/Minniapolis area, there is a Jose L Santos (who goes by Joe Santos), a Jose M Santos, a Jose N Santos, a Joseph L Santos (the one of record who goes by Joe Santos), a Jorge M Santos (that goes by Joe Santos), and a J Santos, who could be a Joe or not..

Fact remains, we are not sure if that is one and the same person and I, for one, do not move in the realm of assumption and speculation.

If I am incorrect in the above, I welcome and would like to know/see where you received your information on the fiance and his record. Feel free to share your sources and information more thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

The article in the paper was all based on what Bethany Morton said. The paper did not interview the man sitting near her; Ms. Morton says he said he didn't know she was nursing. All the "information" in the article about the incident is from Ms. Morton and is her perspective--with the exception of a brief and out-of-context reference to the dispatcher's log. What I mean by get informed before writing is to look at where the article comes from--are all parties' viewpoints and comments presented, or just one? A careful reader will realize that the article does not present balanced information--it was only an interview with the mother, who is the one who approached the media about this. No other patrons were interviewed by the papers nor was the restaurant staff or management. I highly recommend that you read the comments that follow the St. Paul Pioneer Press article, in which some patrons who witnessed this event tell a different story. They indicate that she pulled her tank top down, exposing her entire breast, and did not attempt to cover up. They indicate that she was facing out of the booth toward the entire restaurant, not in, as she told the paper. She was being "in your face" about her breastfeeding, as she had done just days earlier at a concert in a park. I know many mothers who successfully breastfeed their babies discreetly. This woman is looking for a big payday from a lawsuit. You do know that she's spoken with a lawyer, don't you?
I support breastfeeding, but please do it discreetly.
I do not support women who choose to put their children in a home with a convicted felon who beats women. How about you?

Anonymous said...

You are incorrect. It is not illegal for a business to ask a patron to leave because they will not cover up. The law protects breastfeeding women from arrest and prosecution for having an uncovered breast. It does not, however, protect her from being asked to cover up or leave if she refuses to cover up--which is what Bethany Morton did. A business has the right to refuse service to anyone as long as it does not infringe on their civil rights (your comment about being black is relevant as it applies to civil rights; however being black--something one cannot cover up or change--is not an "apples to apples" comparison to breastfeeding). Quote the law all you want, but you should understand what the law means and how it is applied. Clearly Bethany Morton, who "researched" the law, does not.

Anonymous said...

"A business has the right to refuse service to anyone as long as it does not infringe on their civil rights"

Breastfeeding is covered under civil rights. One and the same. The law applies to private or public places, including businesses such as OCB. It is illegal for them to kick her out for refusing to cover and she has wonderful grounds to sue in civil court for discrimination. Hope she does and sends a message.

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