Build-a-Bear denies grieving NC mom who wanted ‘Pay Your Age’ bear in baby’s honor

A North Carolina mom had requested tickets to Build-a-Bear Workshop’s “Pay Your Age” event.

The promotional event allows customers to pay their age to make a bear, instead of paying full price, according to the company.

Ashley Guevara’s almost 6-month-old daughter, Dahlia, who had a genetic disease, was “finally out of the hospital,” and Guevara was excited for the Build-a-Bear experience with her two daughters, she told WTVD.

But Dahlia died last Thursday, the same day Guevara found out she had gotten a ticket to the event at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, WTVD reported.

So she wrote to the company on Facebook, asking if they would still honor the ticket and allow her to build a bear in her deceased daughter’s honor.

But Build-a-Bear told her no.

The company commented on her post, saying that the guest has to be present to pay their age as the event was “designed to be an in store experience.”

The company’s response received outrage.

“It still would be an ‘in-store experience’ for the mother of the original guest as well as her sister, why can it not be in her honor? She’s present in spirit. Your response sounds automated & insensitive,” one person commented.

Others posted saying they wouldn’t visit the store anymore.

Build-a-Bear commented again later, asking Guevara to send a private message.

Then the CEO of the company called her on Tuesday to apologize for the original comment and offered her a free, personal chance to build a bear in Dahlia’s honor, according to WTVD.

“It would mean the world to us,” Guevara told WTVD. “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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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.