Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nickelodeon Universe Responds

Today I received a phone call from Mr. Eric Engstrom, director of Mall of America attractions. He was responding to the online complaint form I filled out regarding our experience at the mall on Monday. I must say, I was pleased to get a phone call from him. I mean, you fill out and online form and hit "submit" and trust that someone is going to actually read it!  And is Jimmy the the tech support guy reading it or someone who can actually DO something?  Mr. Engstrom gets bonus points for reading my blog post to find out the whole story. ;-)

Mr. Engstrom was not at all happy to hear about this situation and how it transpired. He reacted personally to the discrimination that occurred. Why? Because Mr. Engstrom has Cerebral Palsy (CP). He has spent his entire life dealing with similar situations and he wasn't happy to hear it happened on his watch.

We discussed all the details of the incident. He acknowledged the inappropriateness of the discussion that took place about Angela with her standing right there, along with the reaction of staff to my request for Angela to ride independently. Mr. Engstrom never made excuses for their behavior. He never made excuses to cover their butts until he had an opportunity to speak with the staff who were involved so he could backpedal later like some other department heads might do. No, he never did any of that. I so appreciate him for the way he discussed this with me.

Mr. Engstrom asked me what I would like to see happen, including how they could make it up to Angela and the boys.  I told him I didn't want anything, other than to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

I have Mr. Engstrom's word there is change coming to the Mall of America! We discussed several options for training staff in the area of disability awareness. After all, they have countless people with a wide variety of disabilities coming through the mall on a daily basis. The staff needs to know how to react appropriately. Training policies at the mall will be re-written.

While I did not want any type of compensation, Mr. Engstrom has given us four Nickelodeon Universe wristbands that will not expire.

Thanks to my readers for your support as I navigated dealing with this incident. I know many of you are raising kids who are differently abled. Please, if something  happens to you, don't be afraid to speak up. Don't think of it as "making waves". Instead realize bringing an issue to light can create change so those coming behind you don't have to experiences it themselves.


Becca said...

WOW! What a perfect, perfect response, from the perfect person! That's fantastic - good for you for following through with this and helping to make such an important change. (And totally cool about the wristbands!)

DandG said...

That's great! Unfortunately, I am nowhere near Nickelodeon Universe, so I can't come out and support what you are doing in person. Hope you and the kids get to enjoy those lifetime wristbands!

Amy L said...

Wow! I am so happy to hear how he handled it. And I'm happy for Angela who will get to ride as much as she wants now...independently!:)

Line-Marie said...

So glad it got resolved !!!

Kelley said...

Wow! This gave me goosebumps. I think it's awesome how you aren't afraid of making those waves to help people coming behind you. I LOVE reading about your family!

Janice said...

Wow, hats off to Mr. Engstrom. Very few in positions of influence like that it seems and willing to step out and up. Thank you for taking your complaints to the right places. I truly was cringing reading your blog post about the incident.

Imogen said...

There needs to be more Leah Springs and Mr. Engstroms in this world. xx

Unknown said...

So glad to hear that this was not only resolved, but also that the resolution took place quickly. I also appreciate the fact that the resolution includes a policy change that will make it better for people with many different disabilities. I'm sure that that things will be very different when you return to use your wristbands.

Thanks for taking the time to say what needed to be said! Speaking up can be difficult . . . and your voice is appreciated.

Cindy said...

Excellent. I'm glad they responded in a respectful way.