Inside story of diaper change at Starbucks that led to a police call

11:26 AM, May 19, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - When 9NEWS received a newstip about a mom who decided to change her child's diaper out in the open at a Denver Starbucks and the ensuing confrontation led store employees to call police, there was debate in the information center about whether it was even newsworthy.

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"I can't imagine why a restaurant in today's day and age would not have a changing table," said 9Wants to Know executive producer Nicole Vap.

Vap pitched the story idea during an afternoon editorial meeting.

"I have to be honest I was skeptical myself but we decided to go forward with the story. One thing that was important for me was that we not only report the incident but try to learn something from it so I immediately sought out a parenting expert. I found the president of a local company that staffs nannies. And she was able to offer some useful advice," said 9Wants to Know investigator Will Ripley who reported the story.

The story led to a huge social media response with viewer comments split down the middle.

On the 9NEWS Facebook page alone, there were more than 500 comments in less than two hours.

On a coffee run on Mother's Day weekend, Ruth Burgos ran her 1-year-old son Thiago to the restroom.

Burgos noticed there was no changing table at the Denver Starbucks on the 7900 block of East 49th Avenue so she changed her son's diaper in the seating area.

Alex Burgos says a Starbucks employee tossed his wife a rag and spoke to her in a "demeaning" tone.

"He said make sure to wipe the seat when you're done," he said. "They started talking amongst themselves and laughing about it."

Burgos decided to pour his coffee on the floor.

The store called Denver police to report a "disturbance" and an officer responded around 10 p.m. but nobody was arrested.

Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley says the company is "concerned," has "apologized to the Burgos family," and wants all customers treated with "dignity and respect."

We asked Riley if Starbucks is considering installing changing tables and she said she didn't know the answer to that but would look into it.

"It's really frustrating as a parent or as a child care provider," said Jami Dennis, president of Glendale-based ABC Nannies.

Dennis says a lot of family friendly businesses don't have changing tables, but doing a diaper change out in the open should only be a parent's last resort.

"To avoid situations where you make other people uncomfortable, I would try to do it in private," Dennis said.

Burgos says this never would have happened if Starbucks would've had a changing table in the restroom.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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