In case you haven’t noticed, most men’s bathrooms don’t have diaper changing tables. This can be problematic, because...well, it is 2018 and dads change diapers too. One Canadian father is determined to improve the diaper changing game for men, and is totally succeeding after a series of his tweets inspired an international chain to take action.
Chris Webb first learned about the lack of changing stations for men at his local Tim Hortons on Don Quichotte Boulevard in Montreal suburb of Île-Perrot. The father of two had taken his 14-month-old son, Owen, for a meal while his wife was getting her hair cut. Eventually his baby needed a diaper change, but when he walked into the men’s bathroom he noticed something missing: a changing table.
"It's 2018. Dads change diapers," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
He explained to the station that friends have suggested he just use the tables in the dining room if the restaurant doesn’t accommodate diaper changing dads, but a supervisor at the restaurant advised him what is typically suggested: to use the lady’s room.
"She told me, 'Oh the women don't mind,'" he said.
But apparently, some of them do. He asked a female employee of the restaurant to make sure the women’s restroom was empty, and even propped open the stall door with his stroller as he changed his son’s diaper to avoid any potential awkwardness. Then, a woman entered the washroom and was startled to find him there. He explained that she “clearly felt awkward.”
Have a change table in them. Getting out the house with my 1 year old and going for lunch shouldn't mean that I have to explain myself to women as to why I'm in the women's bathroom. Brining this up to the supervisor in the restaurant I was told "it's ok the women don't mind"— Chris Webb (@Crippit) August 3, 2018
Sick of dealing with similar situations at other restaurants, Webb tweeted about the incident in a series of tweets. “Hey@TimHortonsas you provide no other way to talk... I'm shocked and humiliated to have had to use the women's bathroom to change my child in one of your restaurants today,” he wrote. “Your staff actually went out of their way to allow me to use it, but it's 2018 and both bathrooms should.”
In a follow-up he suggested installing changing tables in the men’s room, and pointed out he should haven’t to explain himself to women as to why he is in the women’s bathroom. He also pointed out that installing them in the women’s room but not the men’s goes against “gender equality.”
Constructive conversation with @TimHortons this afternoon. All restaurants across Canada are being refurbished and change tables are being installed where possible. I made a lot of suggestions including staff training, signs in the mens washroom inviting them to speak to an— Chris Webb (@Crippit) August 6, 2018
Within days, a representative from Tim Hortons contacted Webb, explaining that the franchise had ordered a changing table for the men’s bathroom and that several other franchises would follow suit in the next few years.
"Obviously as a family brand, we need to make accessible changing tables available for all of our guests. This is now standard in our new restaurant design that is rolling out across Canada," a statement from Tim Hortons said.
Webb isn't the first dad to call out the problematic situation. Earlier this year Portsmouth, New Hampshire dad Chris Mau wrote a compelling Facebook post that went viral, resonating with dads all around the world.
Hopefully other restaurants will take notice of the problem, and changing stations in men's room will be the norm in the near future. Because men shouldn't have to change their baby's diaper on a dining room table, in the women's room or on the floor of a dirty bathroom!