Decision Maker Response
Michelle Chism’s response
Oct 17, 2013 — We are disheartened by the public mischaracterization of events that took place at an Atlanta Chuck E. Cheese’s on May 18, 2013. We are sorry for any hurt feelings that Marley Eschoe and her family may have had during this visit, but the facts have been misrepresented to the media and on the Internet. As a family entertainment leader known within the special needs community for our positive treatment of children and families, Chuck E. Cheese’s would like to be transparent about the events that actually occurred that day.
First, the relevant video footage — showing exactly how the situation unfolded from start to finish — and a timeline of events is now available to the public and media here http://pitch.pe/19TZAlW.
Second, the following is a list of publicized claims which the aforementioned video footage calls into question:
• Marley was in a wheelchair while requesting access to the restroom. The video clearly shows Marley walking with her father to the restroom.
• The women’s restroom was empty. The footage actually shows that the women’s restroom was not empty.
• The men’s restroom was “overcrowded.” The footage actually shows that the men’s restroom was empty for just over one minute during the time Marley and her father discussed gaining access to the occupied women’s restroom.
Third, we would like to state that the employee attempting to assist Mr. Eschoe and Marley is actually a member of the special needs community herself. In fact, prior to joining Chuck E. Cheese’s she worked for an Atlanta-based firm who helps those with disabilities find employment.
Finally, Chuck E. Cheese’s recognizes the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act and finds it very disheartening and intolerable that any child or adult would be denied access to the same quality care, concern and respect as any anyone else. Chuck E. Cheese’s will always strive to provide alternative accommodations for disabled individuals whenever possible. In addition, while we respect and acknowledge these sensitivities, allowing a male into a women’s restroom is rarely acceptable when it is occupied by female guests.
Chuck E. Cheese’s appreciates and welcomes dialogue with our guests who help us maintain Chuck E. Cheese’s family values, and we would love to hear your feedback. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your comments. Finally, and once again, we invite the family to contact us to respond to our efforts to resolve this issue.
We were able to determine from our investigation and store’s security footage that Mr. Eschoe and Marley both walked up and sought entry to the women’s restroom at 6:14:08 p.m. by speaking with a Chuck E. Cheese’s employee. The footage does not show Marley in a wheelchair as has been commonly reported. It was at that time the employee followed Chuck E. Cheese’s normal operating procedure and immediately paged her senior manager through her headset for approval before allowing a male to enter into the women’s restroom. Mr. Eschoe acknowledges this in previous statements to the media.
Approximately 19 seconds later (6:14:27 p.m.), a female guest and her daughter passed between Mr. Eschoe, Marley and the employee to enter the women’s restroom prior to the senior manager’s arrival to the discussion at 6:15:02 p.m. She informed Mr. Eschoe that the women’s restroom was occupied at that time, and for the privacy of our female guests, she could not permit him to enter into the restroom until the guest and her daughter exited. Contrary to reports, and as evidenced in video footage, the male restroom remained unoccupied throughout this discussion.
Two minutes after the initial conversation occurred (at 6:16:10 p.m.), a female family friend of Marley arrived to escort her to the women’s restroom at the same moment the female guest and her daughter who were occupying the restroom exited. Approximately three minutes later (6:19:14 p.m.) Marley and the female friend walked out of the restroom to resume the birthday festivities. As noted in previous statements, while 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.