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Family surprised after mix-up over benefit card at movie theatre

It’s a card designed to make lifea little easier and more affordable for people with disabilities. But one King City family was shocked to find out they were denied the benefit of the Access to Entertainment card at a recent screening of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”.

The Access to Entertainment card is a creation of Easter Seals. It’s designed to give more opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in activities like movies, science centres and museums without the added financial burden.

Nikisha Thapar was attempting to buy tickets at the Imagine Cinemas in Richmond Hill on Friday for her and her 19-year-old brother, who lives with autism. Except this time, when she attempted to use the card, she was denied its benefit.

“They told me they wouldn’t accept it for that movie and when I asked why, they said Disney won’t let us,” Thapar tells CityNews.

“We’ve used it before, this doesn’t seem right. Obviously if Disney has this policy for Imagine Cinemas, then they must have it for all the cinemas.”

After checking with the Cineplex movie chain, Thapar learned that Disney doesn’t have such a policy

“I was really shocked and disappointed that [Imagine Cinemas] lied,” said Thapar. “It almost said to me we’re placing our profits and the extra few dollars we’d make off you over the needs of your brother.”

Imagine Cinemas tells CityNews the incident was just one big mix-up.

“Our policy is that the Access 2 Cinema Card is accepted to any movie at any time,” said Gina Facca, the CEO of the independent theatre chain. “In this particular situation the employee that was working at the box office that day was new to the position, had normally worked in concessions. And he was aware we didn’t accept passes for Disney so he took that as all passes and he didn’t accept the Access to Entertainment card.”

The theatre says it will re-train its employees to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

A spokesperson for Imagine Cinemas says they plan to reach out to the family and make it right.

“I’m really glad to hear that it wasn’t anything malicious on their part, that it was just a misunderstanding,” said Thapar.