Michelle Chism responds:

Michelle Chism

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 guestrelations@cecentertainment.com to voice your comments. Finally, and once again, we invite the family to contact us to respond to our efforts to resolve this issue.

Detailed Account:
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.

Posted on October 17, 2013
  • Haya Elkadi RUTHERFORD, NJ
    • about 1 year ago

    ms. chism, how do you still have your job? I really hope after that ignorant letter, they did the right thing but removing it from you

  • Mary Bullock STATEN ISLAND, NY
    • about 1 year ago

    Why would these parents go to all the trouble of a petition if they were not convinced that the ADA had been violated? I'm sure they, and Marley, have better things to do with their time. The petition states that Marley is able to walk somewhat.

  • ruththella white EVERETT, WA
    • about 1 year ago

    This is the "you don't look disabled" mindset that too many people have. In and out of my wheelchair, I have faced more hostility since I incurred a disability than I ever faced in my lifetime. We need the barriers removed from rules and regulations that limit us. Why would any disabled female child be required to toilet in the men's bathroom?

  • Celeste Brown NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV
    • about 1 year ago

    Why doesn't a "family entertainment leader" have a family or individual restrooms available? It doesn't cost that much to install some drywall and some plumbing to accommodate special needs guests.

    • about 1 year ago

    First of all, this petition is all "he said/she said" - and the one's saying all of it (as well as responding to it) aren't even the one's present that day. The mother and the CEO's. Both are getting second hand accounts and both are deeply convicted to defend their positions and interests.

    Other than her father holding her hand (which most parents do) and even at one point being pulled along *by her*, she was walking "unaided" perfectly fine.

    CEC did *not* violate the ADA. Their restrooms are well within the ADA guidelines, because nowhere does it say in those guidelines that they *have* to allow your husband to accompany your daughter to the bathroom. It was accessible - to her - with or without her wheelchair. They offered an alternative - he refused. The men's room was never "overcrowded" any more than the women's restroom was. Your husband could have just as easily gone into the men's room to check if it was clear, taken your daughter in there and then asked a family member to watch the door - or asked anyone attempting entry to please wait. He could have asked a female family member or friend to accompany your daughter instead of himself.

    Instead, he, you or both, decided to get bent out of shape and exaggerate the situation. Her rights were NOT violated. She was not refused access to the restroom (either of them) - HE was refused access to the WOMEN'S room. FYI to the ignorant posters who say men's rooms have only urinals - you're completely WRONG. They also have stalls with doors. Do you honestly think a man takes a cr-- in a urinal??

    PS. No, I don't work for CEC. I haven't been inside one since my kids were under 10 (they are now in their mid and late 20's). I just get peeved when I see someone use manipulation and lies to create a petition, especially when children are the subject matter. It's attention seeking at its worst.