Kristen Wilson-Mitchell, of Australia, recently tried to treat her family to a trip to the movies. Their movie night was set to be extra special since her three-year-old daughter, Addison, just finished 43 days in isolation after a bone marrow transplant.
The toddler suffers from neuroblastoma, and the family brought a backpack of supplies to theater as a precaution, given the potential side effects of her treatment. The bag was filled with medication, vomit bags, and an extra pair of clothes, according to The Daily Mail. When the family pulled up to the Bay City Cinemas, they were told by an employee that the toddler could not be let in. Kristen explained what happened to The Daily Mail:
When the staff member refused to bend the rules, I called the manager who told me backpacks were not allowed into cinemas and that it was part of the business policy. I explained my daughter had cancer and offered to show them exactly what was in the bag but they said there were no exceptions allowed.
Frustrated, Kristen’s sister, Stacey Jeffery, later took to Facebook to rant against the cinema. In the post, which has since been deleted, Stacey said, “I encourage everyone to boycott this business. I don’t want people making threats or abusing staff and manager’s [sic] at the cinema simply let your $$$ do the talking.”
During the time the post was up, it was shared thousands of times, and garnered nearly one thousand comments. The movie theater’s Facebook page and Google review page was also flooded with negative comments.
The backlash became so intense, the movie theater was forced to close its doors indefinitely.The Daily Mail obtained a photo of a handwritten sign posted outside the theater, which stated that “due to threats against our business and staff members, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our patrons or staff. So sadly, we will be closed until further notice.”
In a statement to the Bay Post, a local publication, the theater’s manager said, “Our staff only found out about her condition when the tickets were refunded. This could have been avoided if they had contacted us beforehand and let us know about the situation.”
Thankfully, Addison’s day did take a better turn after the unfortunate situation. In a follow-up Facebook post, Stacey said a salon treated the three-year-old to a manicure, and Kmart gave the family a gift card along with some movies they can watch at home.