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Bob Evans Makes A Refreshing Public Apology To Breastfeeding Mothers

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BOB EVANS
An American flag blows in the wind at half-staff outside of a Bob Evans Restaurant, Friday, June 22, 2007, in Springfield, Va. Evans, whose quest for quality sausage to serve the truckers who filled his 12-stool, 24-hour-a-day steakhouse in southeast Ohio led to the creation of a restaurant chain that bears his name, died Thursday, June 21, 2007, Bob Evans Farms Inc. said. He was 89. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari) | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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An employee at a Bob Evans in Tampa, Florida embarrassed a breastfeeding mother by asking her to cover up in late May, but the restaurant redeemed itself by issuing a public apology that others could learn from.

Kristina Gray left a comment on the business's Facebook page after the incident. She explained in the post that she was breastfeeding her son while waiting to be seated at Bob Evans. A female employee approached her and asked if she needed a cover. When Gray declined, the employee persisted, saying that others complained.

Gray then told the employee that she knew her breastfeeding rights -- it's legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states -- but the woman kept on. "I feel completely disrespected for being accosted and I don't see how anyone could have nor why they would have complained, because there wasn't anyone near us that would've been able to even tell what we were doing," she wrote on Facebook.

Others responded to Gray's comment, urging the restaurant to inform their employees of a mother's right to breastfeed in public, so Gray organized a "Nurse-In At Bob Evans on Dale Mabry" Facebook event to raise awareness.

Less than a month after the initial post, Bob Evans' Senior Vice President, Brian Carney, released a statement on the franchise's Facebook page. He announced that the restaurant would host the nurse in, and breastfeeding moms would eat for free on that day. We've heard of many protests of this kind in the past, but it's unusual for the company to get involved.

BabyCenter blogger Sara Mcginnis applauds Bob Evans for their apology:

Sometimes (especially when you’re a restaurant chain with over 45,000 employees), things go badly. I worked as a waitress for years and have done plenty of trying to make amends. Whether it was I who forgot part of the order (baby brain, I blame it on baby brain), or the cook who slipped up or, as it seems in this case, an employee who wasn’t up to date on company policy, stuff happens. It’s what you do after it happens that makes a difference.

Gray is also happy to hear the news. "I am so glad that I spoke up," she wrote on her Facebook page. "This is DEFINITELY a step in the right direction!"

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