The icky floor of a men’s bathroom in a fast-food restaurant isn’t the ideal place to change a baby’s diaper.
But Chris Mau said he had no other choice. With barely any counter space between the restroom’s two sinks and no changing table in the only stall, the floor was the only place with enough room to lay his 8-month-old daughter.
“I'm getting pretty sick of having to change my daughter on a disgusting floor because the only changing table in the place is located in the women's bathroom,” he wrote on Facebook after he got home and posted a photo of his daughter laying on a towel on the floor. “It's crazy to imagine, I know, but there are guys who take care of their kids, too.”
Mau intended to vent about what happened only to his friends, but someone suggested he change the privacy settings on the post so other parents could sympathize.
His post went viral within hours.
“There’s no way I could possibly fathom it would be this huge this fast,” the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, father of four told TODAY.
Mau’s post, which he expanded for "Love What Matters," struck a nerve among parents across the world.
“Big time. I’ve had many people from Canada, Brazil, Germany (and) England congratulating and thanking me for bringing this to the eyes of the masses because this is a problem they’ve run into where they live as well,” he said. “They feel it’s a ridiculous problem to have in today’s world.”
Mau, 33, said the incident happened recently as he and his fiancée enjoyed a walk around town with their children when the couple’s youngest, Kali, became “uncharacteristically fussy.” Mau did a sniff test, which revealed the source of her discomfort.
The group was right in front of a fast-food chain with a playground that beckoned to his older children.
“I thought, 'Perfect. They’re bound to have changing station in here,’” he recalled.
So while his fiancée played with the older children, Mau wheeled his daughter’s stroller into the men’s bathroom. After finding nowhere to lay the baby down for a diaper change, he grabbed a towel that was packed in the stroller and spread it on the grimy floor and placed his daughter on top of it.
Mau said it didn’t occur to him to check if there was a changing station in the women’s bathroom. He just wanted his daughter to stop fussing ASAP.
“If the kids are in distress, it pulls at every fiber of my being to do whatever I can to remedy it as quick as possible,” he said.
Mau wouldn’t disclose the name of the restaurant, partially in fear of legal retaliation, but said he and his fiancée complained to employees as they left.
He’s glad his viral post has helped raise awareness.
“If nothing else, my hopes are just to have this post entice positive change for both mothers and fathers worldwide, and ease the day-to-day living for parents,” he said.
“It’s true what they say — it takes an entire village to raise a child. When it comes to this situation, something as simple as neglecting to install a changing station can make life more of a struggle than it needs to be.”
With reporting from Reese Ravner.