Jacksonville father aims to get changing tables in all men's restrooms

Donte Palmer on a mission after his Instagram post goes viral

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Finding changing tables in men's restrooms is a rarity, but a Jacksonville father is working to change that.

It comes after Instagram photos of Donte Palmer and his youngest son, Liam, went viral. The photos shows how Palmer had to be creative with changing Liam, as there were no changing tables in the men's restroom at a Jacksonville restaurant. 

As of Wednesday night, the post on Palmer's Instagram had gotten more than 3,600 likes and had been shared by notable bloggers.

Palmer -- a husband, father and teacher -- told News4Jax that something has to change. 

One of his life's missions is to be the best father out there, but he now has another mission after he and his wife took his children to Texas Roadhouse on Town Center Parkway two weeks ago. 

Editor's note: A representative for Texas Roadhouse has since reached out and said that location does, in fact, have a family restroom equipped with a changing table for parents who need it. Texas Roadhouse representative Travis Doster said, "Texas Roadhouse agrees that parents need access to changing tables, which is why we made the commitment to add family restrooms to our new restaurants. This includes our restaurant in Jacksonville. Our family restrooms, which include changing tables and provide more space for moms and dads to change diapers, have been well received by our guests."

"It was just a normal Saturday morning," Palmer said. "My wife and I got up and ran much-needed errands."

Palmer said he went into the restroom to change his 1-year-old son, Liam, but there was no changing table, so he had to be creative with the help of his other son, Isaiah.

"I got into my perfect man squat and threw Liam in my lap so I could change him," Palmer explained. "Isaiah handed me the wipe and pamper. I disposed of the diaper. As I’m putting the new diaper on, my son, Isaiah, without me knowing -- he’s snapping pictures."

The pictures have since gone viral. Media outlets, such as "The Shade Room" and Yahoo Lifestyle, have featured the photos, with celebrities, including T.I. and D.L. Hughley, responding. 

But the big question being asked is why aren't there changing tables in all men's restrooms? 

"The argument is not that changing tables don't exist, because they do exist," Palmer said. "The argument is that they need to be in all restrooms."

Palmer said he hopes his post inspires change in not only Jacksonville, but all over the world. He said it’s time for gender roles to expand.

"Just realize, this is not a platform for me to get an opportunity or for me to say, 'Hey I’m here,' and start cashing those bucks," Palmer said. "This is simply an argument for me to say, 'Fathers -- we exist.'" 

Palmer has started a hashtag #FathersLivesMatter. To see more of his posts, type the hashtag into the search on social media sites.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.