By: Zac Papantoniou
While en route to check-off another item on my epic list of neglected errands thrown to the wayside while studying for the state bar exam I just took, I happened to catch a story being discussed on a local talk-radio station (yes, I listen to talk radio while driving . . . obsessively). They mid-morning show (The Buckethead Show) on 104.1 FM happened to be discussing a story involving two subjects I take interest in . . . protesting and breasts. Apparently, around noon today, a “nurse-in” was going to be held at a Chick-Fil-A not far from where I was; what’s a “nurse-in,” you ask? Well, hell if I know, but the back story goes a little something like this:
This past Tuesday, while breastfeeding her 6-month-old baby inside the Chick-Fil-A on University Rd. and Forsyth (that’s in Winter Park, FL, for those folks not familiar with my current stomping grounds), 27-year old mom Chylain Krivensky was asked to cover up, by the store’s manager. Krivensky explained, “The manager came up and introduced herself and told me she believed in what I was doing, but asked me if I could cover up cause there were children around.” Already feeling humiliated by the request, Krivensky’s feelings worsened when the manager handed her a kitchen towel to put over the feeding baby’s head. “My thought was, no one would put a towel over their head to eat it’s the same thing with a blanket I don’t put a blanket over her head to eat, covering somebody up to eat is ludicrous,” Krivensky exclaimed (on this point alone, I completely disagree with the young mother; on more than one occasion I have been known to play a little game I like to call “Treasure Hunt,” which involves a box of lucky charms, a bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, and a giant “American Tail” comforter I’ve had since I was the age of five, complete with life-size renderings of Fievel Mousekewitz on it . . . I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination). Krivensky asked the people sitting around her table if they felt uncomfortable with the feeding, to which she received no replies in the affirmative. Quickly thereafter Krivensky left the Chick-Fil-A, went home, and told her online friends about her ordeal. After complaining to Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office, the group of women organized what they decided to call a “nurse-in,” to quietly protest the wrong they believed had been done to Krivensky. (source)
Krivensky, was in the right; Florida Statute 383.015(1) states:
The breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values, and in furtherance of this goal . . . A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding. (source)
The First Amendment in action, babies and breast-feeding moms, what more could I ask for out of a lunch-time, first-person documented, Satyricon blog-post topic? I made a quick U-turn and proceeded to make my way to the Chick-Fil-A, so that I could be up-close and personal to what I thought was going to be the oddest protest these young eye’s had ever seen. I expected chanting women, screaming babies and a heated battle taking place, between frazzled moms on the receiving end of long nights spent awake created by the round-the-clock care needed to appease newborns and the cold-hearted fast-food corporate managers who always seem to have a psycho-analytical complex which can only be described as falling somewhere between the characteristics displayed between God and Napoleon Bonaparte . . . what I found upon my arrival at the Chick-Fil-A was anything but.
What occurred in my presence was a situation, rarely witnessed, when it comes to unhappy protestors and fast-food conglomerates; I saw the owner, managers, and employees of that Chick-Fil-A acknowledging that they were wrong and doing their darndest to turn a negative situation into a positive learning experience. Unbeknownst to me, after Krivensky complained to Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office, the same manager who offered her a kitchen towel on Tuesday invited her to fill the restaurant with mothers and babies this afternoon. “When I spoke with her yesterday she was mortified,” Krivensky said. “She had no idea there was a law. She’s the reason this has turned out so wonderful. It is not her fault that she was not educated about the law.” The manager said the idea to show support for breastfeeding came after the women complained. The manager and owner also offered to comp the women’s meals during the event, but most of the women did not accept.
The owner, managers and owner were walking around not only doing interviews with the local news stations, but also explaining the situation to other mystified patrons, who had no idea what was going on. I spoke to an Assistant Manager, while eating a delicious chicken sandwich, named Tonya who told me, “[we] were wrong, and we’re happy, to not only have been educated on the law, but to also be able to give these women a forum to express their fundamental rights. We’re now trying to do our best to educate all of our employees, working at this store, on the law.” This heart-warming moment was then cut short by a giant cow mascot handing out toys to kids, and other people needing Tonya’s attention. Tonya told me to have a nice day, and as I headed out the door, I smiled at the thought of at least one corporate store, who seems to be doing things right. That’s why, Chick-Fil-A on Goldenrod and University, in Winter Park, FL, gets my vote for “First-Amendment Bad-Ass of the Week.”