Thirty-six year-old Tom Neijens, his breastfeeding wife, Roseline Remans, 34, and baby Luka went to the Metropolis Country Club in White Plains looking for some lunch. Despite the fact they weren't members, they were granted a table. Why not, I suppose. They seem like a lovely family. Neijens is even a Belgian diplomat though he didn't flash his credentials. I checked out the club online and it's your typical fancy spot, started in 1922, members only, tons of rules kind of place where they play tennis and golf and use words like aquatics instead of swimming. I've never been. I'm sure it's lovely. I'm fairly certain I'd never get seated. But this family did. But once Roseline began breastfeeding Luka, all hell broke loose.
They were told to leave immediately because they were "disturbing the members" and were treated like terrorists Neijens said because of a black backpack. Then the cops showed up.
Neijens is the first secretary of the Belgium Mission to the United Nations. He tried to calm the waitress who asked them to leave, but somewhere in the process, the Greenburgh Police Department showed up reportedly asking to cordon off the area. One officer was said to have one hand on his gun, the other one his taser. Geez! Calm down!
All because a little baby was breastfeeding. Oh, and we can't forget that black backpack. Super suspicious stuff there. Naturally all this commotion got everyone upset, and when the breastfeeding mom with tears in her eyes asked why people thought they were terrorists, one officer allegedly said, "In Sri Lanka, babies are used by terrorists."
Clearly the ritzy country club had never seen a breastfeeding mother before. Or a black backpack. Sure the family weren't members at the club, but someone let them dine there. But not baby! Baby is not allowed to eat out in the open. Take that child to the toilet where all the most delicious meals should be consumed! The cops called the incident a "cultural misunderstanding." The club has no comment so far.
Lots wrong with the world today. But what did we learn from this story? Country clubs have a stuffy reputation for good reason. Our society still doesn't accept breastfeeding as natural and not obscene.
What do you think of this story? Should the family been asked to leave the club because of the baby breastfeeding?
Image via Daniel Lobo/Flickr