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Grieving Mom Shares Story Of Being Denied A 'Build-A-Bear' For Her Late Daughter

Lex Gabrielle 12 Sep 2019

Some parents experience the devastation of losing a child. While the situation in itself is absolutely heartbreaking, there are those who have to undergo even more grief when faced with difficult situations while trying to cope.

Ashley Guevara was anticipating the birth of her daughter, but was faced with a devastation instead.

Love What Matters l Ashley Guevara

Ashley explained that her daughter was born with a genetic abnormality that causes, "low muscle tone, epilepsy, delay in eye contact, delayed development, and an array of other things."

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Her daughter was later diagnosed with pneumonia.

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Doctors told the couple that their daughter wasn't going to make it.

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At six-months-old, they had to say goodbye.

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"We knew her time was near. We had our whole family come and visit her. The next day, around 3:30 in the morning, her dad and I held onto her while she took her last breath."

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While losing your child is hard enough, Ashley also received some other bad news.

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The same day that Ashley said goodbye to her daughter, she received a hurtful Facebook message.

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Ashley had signed up for a "Pay Your Age" ticket at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

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She thought it would be adorable for her other daughter, Carmen, to do this with her little sister.

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In 2018, Build-A-Bear stores were overwhelmed with customers when they held a "pay your age" event.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potomac_Mills_-_Build-A-Bear_Workshop.jpg

The event allowed children to make a bear for the same price as their age. So, a six-year-old would pay just $6 for their bear, which usually retails for around $15 and up.

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Since stores were flooded with customers during the event, the company made some changes to the "pay your age" event this year.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plymouth_Meeting_Mall_-_Build-A-Bear_Kiosk.jpg

This year, parents had to sign up to win tickets to the event, which could then be redeemed in stores. Ashley had signed her daughters up for the tickets.

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"The day she died was the day we got the email that we had won the tickets for our girls..."

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"I waited a few days before I asked if we could still use it for my girls even though one was now my angel baby. I explained how she unexpectedly passed the day we received them. It felt like the perfect thing to do in order to honor and remember her."

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However, the company's response added to Ashley's grief.

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According to Ashley, the message said:

"Thank you for reaching out and for being our Guest. We are so sorry for your loss. This is designed to be an in-store experience for our Guests. Therefore, the Guest must be present to pay their age. ... Our thoughts are with you and we are sending Bear Hugs your way."

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She felt absolutely devastated.

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"They told me I couldn't because 'the guest must be present.' That was their response when I told them my daughter passed. Their words shattered me. I chose to not respond."

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After her story was shared numerous times online, the company reached back out to Ashley.

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"Eventually, Build-A-Bear reached out to me via Facebook, and their CEO called me to apologize how the post was handled and offered to have Carmen come in and make a special bear for herself and Dahlia. But honestly, after everything that happened, the bear lost its meaning to me."

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Additionally, the Chief Strategy Officer issued a statement to the press.

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"Our CEO has spoken directly with the mother, Ashley Guevara, and expressed our regret for our original online response."

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The company also promised a special experience for the family.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Build_a_Bear_Workshop_(5424293101).jpg

"We are working with the family to find a time when they can visit our store for a personal—and hopefully special—complementary experience at a time that is convenient for them."

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All in all, the company handled themselves rather poorly.

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If a mom loses her child, the last thing anyone should do is respond without any sensitivity.

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By sharing her story, Ashley helped us understand how we can be more sensitive to parents who have lost a child.

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It's an important reminder for everyone, not just companies, to keep in mind.

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