A café has banned a customer after she complained to the owner that her “lunch was ruined” by a female staff member using a breast pump.
The mother had recently returned to the Veg-Box in Canterbury, England, from maternity leave and was discreetly pumping in the corner of the establishment.
But the customer was offended by the incident and swiftly left the eatery — returning the following day to file a complaint.
The owner of the café, Liz Childs, immediately defended her staff member, who admitted to feeling “shamed” and “humiliated” by the experience.
Posting on the café’s official Facebook page, Childs wrote, “Everyone should feel comfortable breastfeeding, and in any form this takes, everywhere. The member of staff had just returned from maternity leave and was pumping in the corner.
“It was very discreet, she was covered and no one could see anything,” she continued. “But the customer complained it had ruined her lunch and walked out.
“She came back the following day, when I told her that we would not tolerate our staff being humiliated like that and asked her not to return.”
In a second post, the boss warned the offended customer not to return to the café.
“Sadly one of our lovely members of staff was shamed by a rude customer for very discreetly pumping the other day,” she wrote. “This is not OK, and we continue to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.
“If this was you, please don’t come back,” the post concluded.
Members of the public were quick to show their support of the café’s decision via social media.
“Thank you for upholding the law and protecting your employee from discrimination,” a customer wrote.
“It’s such a shame a customer has behaved in such a disrespectful way to a parent just feeding their baby,” read another comment.
“There is nothing more natural than a mother feeding their baby — just like adults need to eat, so do babies,” another Facebook user added.
But amid the support came some criticism of the café’s decision to ban the customer.
“OK, is it OK if I take a piss anywhere too? Hey, it’s only natural,” one commented. “Nope, there are toilets for that kind of ‘natural behavior’ and that’s the respectful way to live in a society.”
“Bodily fluids don’t belong where other people are eating. Wasn’t discreet enough if a costumer [sic] was able to see them/notice,” another argued. “Do you not have a staff room?”
Actress and new mom Rachel McAdams recently raised eyebrows after posing for a fashion shoot while pumping milk from both breasts. A photo from her shoot accompanied the café’s Facebook post about the incident with the upset customer.
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