While out running errands with her 6-month-old baby Clark last week, mom Karissa Riddle popped into a nearby Qdoba to get a quick lunch. It wasn't too much longer that baby Clark followed suit and started to get hungry —and fussy, too. So Riddle says she did what any mom would do — she started to feed him. Well, she started to breastfeed him. Yes, she did it right there at her table, and yes, she was not necessarily wearing a nursing cover. But Riddle says this is all within her rights. After all, North Carolina does actually have a law that states moms can breastfeed whenever, wherever — covered or uncovered.
Unfortunately, though, not all are in agreement on this one. According to Riddle, an employee quickly walked over to ask if she could cover up, citing that other customers had complained she was exposed. The employee also added that it was company policy to ask her to cover up, and that if she refused, she would be asked to leave. And what's more, if Riddle refused to leave, the police would be called.
In an email to the Huffington Post, the Gastonia, North Carolina, mom later said that the whole incident left her feeling "angry, sad and confused." Before leaving in tears, Riddle asked for information so she could get in touch with the general and district managers, but the employee refused to provide those.
"I was told that the manager was also backing up the claim this employee had made regarding Qdoba's policies," said Riddle, who noted that "I was also told that many women breastfeed their babies there modestly with no complaints."
"I forgot for one second that being a woman, a mother, and breastfeeding my baby could ever be seen as inappropriate," she said. But in the end, she says she just wishes others would understand that women who choose to breastfeed in public aren't doing it for shock value or to incite arguments. Instead, she says simply: "They do it because their baby is hungry."
Though Riddle has yet to receive any sort of direct response or apology from Qdoba, the restaurant chain did respond to inquiries from the Huffington Post, and responded with this written statement:
"At Qdoba, we absolutely support a mother's right to breastfeed in our restaurants. We've been looking into a recent incident that occurred at one of our locations that made one mother feel otherwise. We genuinely and sincerely apologize that she felt this way, and have made attempts to speak to the guest to work with her directly to resolve the matter.
"As a brand, we welcome and support nursing mothers and want to make sure they feel comfortable in our restaurants at all times, as we do with any of our guests. We want to make it clear that we do not have any company policy in place that would not support that. We are always striving to create the best possible experience for our guests and assure you that we are using this as an opportunity to educate all of our employees of this right and our best practices."