Breastfeeding bus passenger upset over VIA bus driver's request

A VIA passenger is outraged after a bus driver to told her to "cover up" while she nursed her son.

SAN ANTONIO - Payton Garza wants an apology from the VIA Metropolitan Transit bus driver who ruined her son's breastfeeding experience.

"A year and half I've been doing it and never had any complaints until," Garza said.

August 29, Garza, her husband, sons Zavier and Christopher took the bus home following a WIC appointment. Zavier has a disability. The appointment was for him.

Her son, 16-month-old Christopher, started to tug on his mother's shirt soon after they sat down on a VIA bus. He was hungry. Garza nursed him.

"The only part that was out at all was the areola," She said.

Video from aboard Garza's bus shows a driver approaching her before they took off. VIA identified the man as Christopher Young.

Marvin: What did he say to you exactly?

Payton: To be considerate of those around me. If I didn't  have a small towel or blanket if I could just cover up.. And I was like okay. Thank. Just nodding my head so he could just go back up front to the front.

The 23-year-old wife and mother of two said she was shocked especially since no one had complained to the driver.

She gave Christopher juice in lieu of her milk. As she and her family got ready to exit the bus, Young came up to Garza again. He reportedly reminded her to bring some type of covering to nurse on the bus. He told her she was doing a good job.

Payton: All I said was thank you and walked out the back door.

Marvin: So how did you take his comment?

Payton: I felt disrespected. I don't see why I was approached when thousands of moms does this publicly.

Lawmakers gave breastfeeding mothers the right to nurse in public 22 years ago. Garza filed a complaint with VIA. They responded after KENS 5 followed up on her grievance.

VIA said the company does not have a written breastfeeding policy, but, in accordance with state law they do not prohibit nor discourage breastfeeding.

The transit company said Young was courteously following a VIA Code of Conduct rule that forbids passengers from urinating, defecating or exposing one's anus, breasts or genitals. VIA said it is reviewing this rule to make it clearer for their drivers and passengers.

According to VIA, Young is still an employee. He has been told not to address mothers who are nursing aboard VIA vehicles or at VIA facilities.

A customer service representative called Garza to apologize for the incident. She was told Young would no longer drive on the route she takes. That comes too late for a mother who said the incident was so embarrassing she hasn't been back on a bus.

"I mean I'm feeding my child," she said. "If you don't like it then look away. You don't have to see what I'm doing."

 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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