Mom Slams Build-A-Bear's 'Heartless' Reaction to Request After Baby Dies Days Before Pay Your Age Day


_TuVeuxMaPhoto_/Flickr/Facebook

Build-A-Bear Workshop is seeing growing backlash after the company's refusal to honor a promotion that would allow a grieving mother to build a bear in her late daughter’s memory at a special price.

North Carolina parents Ashley Guevara and Joey Duvall lost their youngest daughter, 6-month-old Dahlia, June 20. The infant was born with a rare genetic disease and died of complications from pneumonia.

  • Earlier, Guevara had received tickets to Build-A-Bear's popular Pay Your Age event. The parents were looking forward to experiencing it with Dahlia and their older daughter.

    "She was finally out of the hospital so we were really excited to have an experience with both of our daughters," Guevara said.

    But Dahlia passed away before they were able to fulfill that wish.

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  • On Saturday, Guevara posted on Build-Bear’s Facebook page, asking if she could still use her tickets to the store’s event to build a bear in her daughter’s memory.

    “Hello. I requested two tickets for my daughters to get a bear made during the pay your age,” she wrote. 

    “Unfortunately my almost 6 month old passed away on Thursday. Is there anyway I could still make one in honor of her?”

  • Shockingly, the company denied the grieving mother’s request and instead offered virtual “Bear Hugs.”

    “Thank you for reaching out and for being our Guest. We are so sorry for your loss,” the company responded. “This is designed to be an in-store experience for our Guests. Therefore, the Guest must be present to pay their age. For more information please visit: http://bit.ly/2RsrHSz
    “Our thoughts are with you and we are sending Bear Hugs your way.” 

    The parents were stunned at the response, particularly with the wording that the “guest” must be present.
  • “To me, it just felt like they wanted us to dig her up out of ground and bring her there," Duvall said.

    Response to the company’s callous response was swift and heated, with many commenters saying they would no longer patronize the business.

    “Build-A-Bear Workshop you just lost business from my family. We will never step foot in your store again,” one commenter wrote.

  • On Tuesday, Build-A-Bear's CEO finally called Guevara to apologize.

    A company spokesperson emailed the following statement to ABC11:

    "Our CEO has spoken directly with the mother, Ashley Guevara, and expressed our regret for our original online response. 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." -- Dorrie Krueger, chief strategy officer.

  • For the grieving parents, the gesture would allow them to honor their daughter in a personal way and keep her memory close to them.

    "It would mean the world to us," she said. "It would just be a piece of her that we would have forever. So we can have a little Dahlia with us, always."

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