LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. — A mother says she and her two boys were asked to leave a theater over the weekend after moviegoers complained her son with disabilities was making too much noise.
Jennifer Daly says it's not easy taking her two boys to the movies because her 3.5-year-old son Jonathan has a rare form of dwarfism and needs to be taken around in a wheelchair with medical equipment. While he can’t talk, Jonathan is very animated and can make some sounds.
Feeling up to the challenge Friday night, the three went and saw "Dumbo" in the AMC theater in Lake in the Hills. About an hour into the movie, Daly said Jonathan started laughing and making noises.
She said 10 minutes later, an AMC employee approached them and said there was a noise complaint of a baby crying, and they were asked to leave the theater.
Daly said she was in shock and, as she started processing what happened, broke down in tears.
"I was angry, I couldn’t believe I was getting kicked out of a movie. I’ve never been kicked out of anything in 43 years," Daly said.
In an emailed statement, AMC Theaters Director of Corporate Communications Ryan Noonan said a manager received multiple complaints about an "ongoing disruption" during the film, and after observing the issue, spoke with Daly.
"To ensure a quality moviegoing experience for everyone, disruptive behavior is not permitted during a movie," the statement said.
According to Noonan, Daly was given a refund and declined "several options," including moving them to different seats, a private show, or a screening during a "sensory friendly" movie program, which waives their normal rules on disruptive behavior.
Jennifer acknowledged the manager at the AMC tried to make it up to her by offering movie vouchers, but said at that point she was just ready to go home.
"I can’t say that I felt like I was being discriminated against, I don’t think that was the lady's intention," Daly said.
She said she didn't want it to happen again, so the next day she turned to Facebook to tell her story, and the post began to go viral.
"I don’t want anything from them, all I want is for them to train their staff better, I want people to be aware that we have to be more kind to each other and put ourselves in each other’s situations once in awhile, and remember to be kinder to each other before jumping to some conclusions," Daly said.