An Ontario tourist says his daughter was “sexualized’’ when a waitress in a Charlottetown restaurant told her to cover up. Mike White, 36, of Grimsby, Ont. told The Guardian he attended Water Prince Corner Shop last Wednesday morning with his 10-year-old son and his 14-year-old daughter. He and his son were wearing bathing shorts and T-shirts. His daughter was wearing a two-piece bathing suit with a T-shirt over top. All three were wearing flip flops.
White says a greeter did not appear to have any issue with any of the family’s attire. However, he says a waitress approached his family, pointed at his daughter’s crotch, and said “she needs to cover up, she needs to cover up.’’He says the waitress was quite adamant and quite loud. White says he left the establishment and took his daughter and son to another restaurant where nothing was mentioned about his daughter’s attire. He is even threatening to sue Water Prince Corner Shop over what he considers “unacceptable’’ action by staff.
“It’s my daughter’s 14th birthday,’’ he notes of Wednesday’s incident. “We’re trying to make a positive time for her…instead she is sexualized by a waitress.’’White has raised his concerns not only with the media but also with the Women’s Network of P.E.I. Coady Campbell, manager of the Water Prince Corner Shop, has no difficulty defending how the restaurant dealt with the incident.
Campbell says the girl was wearing a small bikini bottom that allowed her bottom to be seen. He notes the girl offered to go back to the family car to put on shorts.Campbell says White dismissed the girl’s suggestion and chose to leave the restaurant with his family. Campbell was surprised to have White smear the restaurant online, claiming discrimination.
“There was no discrimination,’’ he says. “She was just requested to cover up.’’ He believes the situation was handled properly by staff and stresses there was no intention to body shame the girl. “We really didn’t think it was much of an incident to tell you the truth,’’ says Campbell. “She showed up in a bathing suit. It’s kind of an odd attire for a restaurant.’’
White would not back down when confronted with Campbell’s version of events. “I’d like them to learn some better behaviour,’’ he says, adding the restaurant staff members, in his view, need to be trained on how not to sexually discriminate against people. Initially, White said his daughter did not want to comment on the situation or to pose for a photo in what she wore to the restaurant. “I think she wants the whole thing to go away,’’ he said Thursday afternoon. “She’s quite embarrassed from this whole incident.’’ However, in a subsequent email to The Guardian, he said his daughter wrote the following about the incident:
“She (the waitress) just yelled at me saying ‘you need to cover up your bottom half.’ Even though we had just come from the beach and I had a bathing suit on, I was just like, why though, I am already seated. There is no way that my clothing will (affect) anyone else but me.’’