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MONROE, Wash. - A mother is fighting back after she said she was kicked out of a Walmart for taking a stand on breastfeeding her baby in public.
Sarah Olson, 22, said she was breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter inside a Subway restaurant in the Monroe, Washington, Walmart store last Friday.
That’s when she said a Subway manager, someone she knows, asked her to cover up or breastfeed at the back of the store.
“He said if it’s my legal right then he could whip out his penis anywhere,” Olson said.
Shocked by what he allegedly said, Olson took her concerns to a Walmart store manager who later asked her to leave the store.
She recorded part of that conversation on her sister’s cellphone and shared it with KIRO.
“Where I am welcome, breastfeeding is welcome, that is state law,” Olson was heard saying on the recording.
To read the state law about breastfeeding, click here.
Then we heard the manager saying: “Understood, but if you are going to be a distraction or nuisance to people that work here, that’s going to be an issue.”
Then Olson went on to say, “That’s not my problem; they can turn their heads like this.” Then the manager was heard saying, “Or we can ask you to leave.”
“I was very frustrated,” Olson said. “I wasn’t trying to make a scene, but he thought I was.”
We went to Walmart to get their side of the story. The manager there said she could not comment on the incident and referred us to their corporate office.
This was the statement sent to KIRO:
“We welcome nursing mothers to breastfeed their child in our stores. We apologize to the customer for her experience and appreciate her bringing this matter to our attention.”
KIRO also talked to the owner of the Subway restaurant inside the Walmart. He said he called Olson to apologize and that he gave the Subway manager a warning and educated him on the state’s breastfeeding policy: Women can’t be discriminated against for breastfeeding in public, and the act is not considered “indecent exposure.”
Olson said she has since gone back to Walmart and Subway.
“Yeah, the next day, actually, because I know my rights. I know what I am allowed to do legally,” Olson said.