PR would be an easy business, if only we could get rid of all of the non-trained people who make our jobs difficult.
(Of course, then no real work would get done…)
Your corporate reputation is in the hands of every person who draws from your payroll. And we know how many employees don’t wash their hands.
Here’s a case where the employees can do just about every thing you could want, and still get you in trouble. An AMC theater in Florida is now treading lightly after kicking out a developmentally-challenged boy who laughed too much during a movie. The 19-year-old has a little-known condition called Angelman syndrome, which limits his functions to that of a two-year-old.
“Here’s a child that was laughing at a comedy,” Susan Brown said Monday. “His way of expressing delight and joy at this movie was laughing, but because his communication technique got in the way of someone else’s space, he had to leave.”
The family has been to the theater a number of times, but this is the first where there had been a complaint. The staff tried offering replacement tickets to another screening, but to no avail:
“That (the ticket) wasn’t the point,” said Brown, a stay-at-home mom. “Nobody apologized. Nobody looked at Matt in the eye. It was like he didn’t exist.”
About 20 minutes later, Brown said she went in to get her younger son. Once back in the theater, she paused to give the audience a piece of her mind.
“I guess it’s not appropriate to laugh at a children’s comedy and if you have a disability you don’t need to laugh too loud,” she told the crowd. “Have a nice evening.”
This is a tough one… the ADA does give discretion when one person’s condition affects many others. But that typically has been defined as a violence or safety issue… not a disruption caused by laughter.
According to a statement issued by AMC spokeswoman Melanie Bell, “AMC Theatres has great respect for our guests with special needs and we work very hard to provide everyone the opportunity to attend our theatres comfortably.
“In this particular instance, several members of the theater audience complained that the guest’s outbursts were disruptive,” the company said.
The family is petitioning the ACLU to pursue a case, which only serves to keep AMC in the headlines. And it’s hard to beat a sympathetic kid, even when the law appears to be on your side.