Parents with special needs children protest Chuck E. Cheese'sPosted: Updated:
Marley Eschoe is nine years old. Her life changed a year ago after she suffered her first stroke. Her mother Kiyomi Eschoe said Marley went from being a normal child to one who now has special needs.
Doctors diagnosed her with Lupus and an inoperable brain aneurysm.
"Between eight and nine she has spent more time in the hospital than not," said Eschoe.
When Marley got out of the hospital earlier this year, she was excited to finally spend time with her friends at a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's on Cumberland Boulevard.
"It was a party for children who have special needs," said Eschoe.
The party was in May, Marley was there with her dad.
Eschoe said her daughter was in a wheelchair and had braces on her legs. She had to use the restroom quite often and could not go alone.
"Picture your daughter holding on to her father, she just got out of the hospital and she just needs to go to the bathroom," said Eschoe. "In that instance, that manager felt it made more sense for her to go into an occupied men's restroom versus an empty women's restroom."
Eschoe said a manager would not let her husband take Marley into the women's restroom.
"She did say, 'Just because she is special needs I'm not going to treat her any differently than the rest of my customers,'" said Eschoe.
Eschoe said another employee offered to stand outside the women's restroom and keep others out, but the manager wasn't having it.
"At that time she just looked at Mark and said, 'If you continue to go back and forth with me I'm going to call the police and have you removed,'" said Eschoe. "By that time, Marley had already used the bathroom on herself."
Eschoe wants to make sure something like this does not happen to another family with special needs children. She and several other parents protested in front of Chuck E. Cheese's on Saturday.
"Just letting Chuck E. Cheese's know the mistreatment of special needs families or children will not be tolerated,"she said.
A spokeswoman with Chuck E Cheese's said their company could no longer comment about the incident because the child's parents hired an attorney.
She emailed this statement the company released in May after the incident:
"We are aware of a recent situation involving a disabled patron in our 2990 Cumberland Blvd. SE Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant which caused concern for an Atlanta, Ga., family, and we are not taking this very sensitive allegation lightly. We have made several attempts to reach out to the family, but unfortunately we have not received a response to our communications.
Based on our investigation, and the information available to us at this time, the father's request to accompany his daughter into the women's restroom came while female patrons were already using the restroom. However, our employees still attempted to provide alternative accommodations for the child's restroom needs. While these accommodation options were being offered to the child's father, a female member of the family's party took the child into the women's restroom before a resolution could be reached with the child's father.
We are happy to discuss this allegation further with the family should they choose to respond to our request.
At Chuck E. Cheese's, providing wholesome entertainment to families with young children and maintaining a safe experience for our guests and staff is a primary concern for us just as it is top-of-mind for the families and parents who visit us. We appreciate and welcome dialogue with our guests who help us maintain these values."
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