Having a child with unique needs often requires special arrangements and planning that most of us can’t even fathom.
Whether they’re on the autism spectrum or have physical impairments, families can miss out on seemingly average opportunities simply because the environment isn’t right or may be too stressful for one or more members. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many have come to expect, but thanks to the efforts of several organizations and private businesses over the past few years, the world is gradually becoming a much more inclusive place.
One of those businesses is an independent movie theater in Beacon, New York. Story Screen recently received kudos from a local mom who was blown away by the employee who went out of his way to make her son’s wish come true.
Born with a genetic immune deficiency, Stephanie Schnackenberg’s son is unable to visit crowded public spaces, especially during flu season. Things have been so difficult this year that he’s been homebound and away from his school and friends. Making things even worse, his illness meant he’d be unable to see the new Star Wars film: The Rise of Skywalker, as it premiered in theaters. His mom said he went so far as to deleted his Instagram account just he wouldn’t see any spoilers.
So Stephanie did what any awesome mom would do. She called her local theater to see what could be done. Mike Burdge of Story Screen came through in a major way. Showing up early on a Saturday, Burdge prepared everything including the popcorn so that the family could have the full movie theater experience. Stephanie was shocked at the lengths the theater went to just to ensure one boy could have what would otherwise be just another weekend for so many, writing in a Facebook Post “Mike’s kindness and generosity were refreshing and genuine,” adding “There is no way that I can put into words what a gift this was for our whole family.”
Folks who grew up in small towns across America likely have fond memories of their local theater, but as with so many fixtures of our youth, many have faded away altogether. So Stephanie ended her message with a reminder for residents of Beacon and all of us too.
“I’m asking you to help us return the favor by supporting this local theater. Next time you want to see a movie, see it at Story Screen. Tell your friends! Not only are they nice people, but they also have an awesome comfortable theater with local treats (we’re talking Hudson Valley Marshmallow Company and Drink More Good syrups, people!)”
So next time your parents agree to watch the kids, why not visit your local theater… although plan ahead, as you may have to drive a few towns over these days.