As “Tolerance” Is Preached In Our Nation, One Mom Sees How Things Really Are

We’re sadly in a state of intolerance and impatience in our country, and nearly everyone seems concerned about what’s going on in their own bubble.

As our values and care for our fellow man crumble under the weight of disturbing cultural changes, the most innocent among us suffer.

And what may be an insignificant incident to some is a devastating experience for others.

Jennifer Daly recently did what many moms do  – she finally had some time to take out of her busy schedule to take her two young children to the movies.

We all know how hard it is to pack up all the gear needed for two kids under four years old — to drive and walk and unpack and get settled.

It’s a chore to go anywhere, but we do whatever we can to make our kids happy.

So Jennifer decided to take the kids to a showing of the new Dumbo movie at a local AMC theater.

But doing this simple activity is much harder for Jennifer Daly than for mothers with healthy children.  Her 3-year-old, Jonathan, has a rare form of dwarfism.  It has caused other medical issues, like limiting his speech and mobility.

In fact, Jonathan is in a wheelchair, so that was another thing that Jennifer had to pack and unpack in order to take the kids.  And because Jonathan has neck and spine issues, she had to climb up the stairs of the theater to give him a good view.

She was also trying to be courteous for others watching the movie by keeping out of the way by sitting up in the back.

Things were going well for a while as the boys enjoyed the film, but then Jonathan – who uses laughter as one of the only ways he can express himself – started giggling in the movie.

It’s a kids’ movie, right?  Isn’t the point supposed to be to make kids laugh and have a good time?

Apparently not for one woman who filed a complaint with the theater over the noise.

After only ten minutes of Jonathan’s laughter – the joyous laughter of a small child who is not able to enjoy what other kids enjoy – Jennifer and the kids were asked to leave.

No warning to quiet down.  No offer to help her carry all the gear, the wheelchair, the kids.

Jennifer burst into tears right then and there.  And who can blame her?

In a Facebook post to AMC that night, Jennifer said all the things she was too shocked to say at that moment in the theater with everyone staring at her.

“I have never been more angry or cried more than what happened to me last night.

Last night I took both boys to AMC theater in Lake in the Hills to watch Dumbo the movie… What one may not know is it is a huge feat for me to be able to accomplish this task. It is not easy with Jonathan’s oxygen and feeding bag and just carrying him to be able to go and do this.

I was not moving fast enough because she (the manager asking her to leave) wanted to expedite me because I had to stand up and pack Jonathan up and get all his equipment. I looked at the woman and said to her are you kidding me? He did absolutely nothing but laugh twice in a kids’ movie.

Do you realize what an achievement it is for me to be able to take my boys to go see this?”

Jennifer said that after she became upset, the woman offered several options – all of which would never take away the hurt or embarrassment she was feeling.

Did she want a refund?  Free popcorn and drinks?  No, although she was offered those things, Jennifer didn’t want anything from AMC – or other theatergoers – but a little understanding, patience, and compassion.

And she was angry because another moviegoer had left their cell phone on, which rang during the movie, and yet another had his cell up filming scenes as the light shined through the theater – illegal, and far more annoying than her son’s happy laughter.

“I don’t want anything from them, all I want is for them to train their staff better.  I want people to be aware that we have to be more kind to each other and put ourselves in each other’s situations once in awhile, and remember to be kinder to each other before jumping to some conclusions,” Jennifer said in her post.

Shame on the adult who complained in a children’s movie about a young child laughing – a child who can only express himself by doing so.

Shame on other people in the theater – especially staff – for not offering to help this young mom get her two small kids, feeding bag, oxygen, wheelchair, and other gear down a flight of stairs with all eyes watching as a manager breathed down her neck.

With “intolerance” being such a buzzword in our culture these days, it’s a crying shame that it only applies to progressive causes instead of extending to the most basic form of human decency.

As Jennifer said, she doesn’t want anything from the theater, but hopes her story will make people stop and think next time they want to be so quick to judge.

What do you think of Jennifer’s heartbreaking experience?  What do you think the theater should do to improve policies for special-needs children?  Leave us your comments.

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