PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – From internet stardom to an advocate for change, a Philadelphia native is using his viral stardom to help other dads around the world. It’s the photo that went viral, catapulting Dante Palmer into internet fame.
The Philly native and dad of three was photographed squatting in a bathroom, changing his 1-year-old son, Liam, last fall, because there wasn’t a changing table in the men’s bathroom at the restaurant he was in.
“So I do what I typically do, whether it’s putting him on a sink, counter, floor or a blanket down. But this particular day, I got into my perfect man squat and began to change him,” Palmer said.
His older son snapped the picture.
“Two weeks later, I posted the picture and my wife woke me up the following morning and was like, ‘you need to check your phone’ and that’s when we realized we went globally viral,” Palmer said.
The image resonated with parents around the world.
“Fathers from Houston, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea will all reach out to me and say, ‘you know we are in the same boat as you,” Palmer said.
Palmer and his wife realized that they could use the momentum to advocate for change. They have changing tables in women’s bathrooms, but that’s not usually the case for men.
“Yeah, it sends the wrong message and we’re trying to change the narrative,” Palmer said.
So he started #SquatForChange.
He has since teamed up with Pampers on a mission to get 5,000 changing tables installed in men’s bathrooms across the United States and Canada by 2021.
John Legend appeared, among other dads, in a video released by the diaper company calling for the changing tables in men’s rooms.
Palmer, a high school teacher, is now working full-time on the initiative.
“This is an issue, this is a problem, so let’s figure out how to solve this problem,” Palmer said. “We want you to treat us equally as parents.”
Palmer says he’s committed to changing how dads are perceived one changing table at a time.
A diaper company’s recent survey found 90% of dads have gone into a public bathroom without a baby changing table.