Movie Theaters Vs. 7 Year Old Disabled Kids

Prepare yourself, because I’m about to prove what a hard hearted conservative I am by agreeing with a business that most people seem to think is picking on a 7 year-old kid with cerebral palsy and autism — but somebody’s got to do it, right?. Well, actually nobody has to do it, I just wanted to do it because I’ve never liked it when sweet reason and common sense are tossed out the window based on nothing more than sappy emotionalism.

Let’s get to the story, shall we?

” If you’re a 7-year-old kid with cerebral palsy and autism, you have to take your laughs anywhere you can get them.

Just don’t have too much fun at the local movie theater, or you might get thrown out. That’s what happened to young Anthony Pratti this week. To say his parents are upset about it would be an understatement.

Anthony, who uses a wheelchair, was with his parents, his sister and his grandmother at the Loews Cineplex theaters in the Galleria at Crystal Run Sunday, watching a 1:15 p.m. matinee of the G-rated film “March of the Penguins.”

The family sat in the wheelchair section provided by the theater. Anthony was having a good time, said his mom, Gina Pratti.

“He was laughing, but he really wasn’t much louder than any of the other kids,” she said.

About 15 minutes into the film, one of the theater’s managers approached the family, she said.

“He said our son was laughing too loud,” Pratti said. “My husband told him Anthony didn’t understand, that he was disabled, but that we’d try to quiet him down.”

Not good enough, apparently – the manager brusquely told the family that Anthony had to leave, Pratti said.

Outraged, the family followed the manager to the lobby, where they were told they all didn’t have to leave – just Anthony, Pratti said.

Pratti was dumbfounded.

“I said to him, what are we supposed to do, wheel him outside and leave him there?” she said.

The manager refunded the family’s ticket purchase and sent them on their way, she said.

…Explanations aside, Pratti has a simple message for the manager she says publicly humiliated her son: “Shame on you.”

You know what the problem with this story is? It treats this whole incident as if it’s a battle between the theater and a “7-year-old kid with cerebral palsy and autism”.

However, there’s another very important group of people who are being left out of the equation: the other patrons in the movie theater.

Picture this: One happy day, you decide to take your two kids to see “March of the Penguins.” So you get your kids ready, you head to theater and you pay for the tickets. You pay 15 bucks to get in, you spend another $20 on popcorn, sodas, nachos and candy. That’s a little pricey, but the kids really want to see the movie and you don’t do this every week, so it’s OK.

Well, you sit down in the middle of the theater with your kids, you get situated, and the film cranks up. Well, a couple of minutes in, something happens and you hear loud, obnoxious laughter at an inappropriate time. You can’t hear the dialogue. Then it stops….but a couple of minutes later, it starts up again and goes on and on. Again and again it happens. 20 minutes into the movie, your kid is whispering to you that she “wishes that boy would shut-up” and you’re hoping an usher will walk down the aisle so you can tell him to do something about that kid that’s ruining the movie for you.

Then, lo and behold, the manager walks in the back and takes the kid out of the theater. What’s your reaction? “FINALLY! What took them so long?”

Some people would say, “That’s mean.” I would say that when people spend their hard earned money to go to theater, they should be able to sit there and enjoy the movie without having to listen to cell phone chatter, people talking, squalling babies, bratty kids, and, yes, without loud, grating laughter.

Maybe that’s hard for the Pratti family to get a grip on. Maybe they think a whole theater full of people should have had their quiet afternoon ruined rather than inconvenience their son. However, the manager — who obviously didn’t just pick Anthony Pratti out of a dark theater without a good reason — disagreed — and he was right to do so.

If Anthony Pratti’s laughter was loud and irritating enough to disturb the other people at the movie theater, he should have been asked to leave, and whether he has cerebral palsy and autism has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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