I’m sure most of you know by now that Tempe, Arizona won an online contest to have the World Premiere here in the Valley. And, of course, me being the autograph hound that I am, I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. Besides, how often do you get to attend an actual movie premiere?
Me and my broke down chair.
So as soon as I heard we won, I began my quest for tickets to the premiere. Feverishly, I scoured through Facebook, MySpace, and any other social networks looking for people who had extra tickets. Finally, at the eleventh hour, I came across one ticket.
Since I’m in my electric wheelchair, I normally would need someone to go with me. But since this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I was going to tough it out and go on my own.
When the day of the premiere arrived, to say I was excited would be an under statement. I couldn’t wait to head over to Tempe Marketplace and watch the festivities. I invited my aunt to go with me in hopes we could find another ticket or maybe the Harkins people would be nice enough to let her in.
And so my wacky adventure begins…
As my aunt and I arrived at the Cine Capri in Tempe Marketplace, we were greeted by a mob of fans eagerly waiting the cast’s arrival. Once I rolled out of my van I jetted to the check in table. I went to sign in and asked if there was any way my aunt could attend the movie with me. If she couldn’t, I asked if she could at least escort me in to make sure I got in okay.
But before I could even finish asking my question, policy started regurgitating out of the Harkins’ employee’s mouth.
“I’m sorry, but you can’t get into the building without a wristband and a ticket.” He stated. “Once you get in the building, no one can leave until the event is over. There’s nothing we can do.”
Strike one. I would have been better talking to a T-1000 because this guy clearly had no heart strings to be plucked and was just focused on his mission at hand: sign-ins. Well, on to the next obstacle.
If you were one of the lucky ones who had a ticket, you were given a wristband that got you access to a special section that was close to the stage where the actors were speaking. I had a wristband, but my aunt did not. There in lied our conundrum.
My aunt and I made our way to the special section to see if both of us could get in. And wouldn’t you know, more policy vomit.
“I’m sorry, she [my aunt] can’t enter without a wristband, I can’t help you,” Said the security guard. “Only you can go in.”
I even told her that I normally have an attendant with me in case something happened, but she still refused to help. Strike two. And low and behold, something bad actually happened.I'm glad someone had a good time.
Since my aunt could not go in, I decided to go in myself while my aunt watched from the “free” section.With my new plan finalized, I rolled back to the special section. As I made it to the entrance, there was one more bump in the road. And it literally was a bump in the road.
The stage was setup in the parking lot, and to get through to the special section I had to go over a cover of wires on the ground. Ironically enough, it was in front of the disabled parking space. So I rolled to the section and over the bump.
Then everything literally fell apart.
As I rolled over the bump, my chair made a weird sound and started to act strange. I rolled around to get a better view when suddenly my chair died and would just turn in circles. I was freaking out because my aunt wasn’t with me and I couldn’t get a hold of her.
Luckily, I managed to ask a lady standing next to me to help me call my aunt (thank you so much by the way). But when my aunt went to the entrance, they wouldn’t even let her in. She repeatedly told them that she was just trying to get me because my chair broke down and she needed to push me out. But as usual, they kept spewing out policy and wouldn’t budge. I got a call from her if you minutes later to let me know that she couldn’t get in, so I had to find a new plan.
I asked the lady that was helping me to see if she can find someone that could help. After she wandered around the crowd for a few moments, she returned to me and said she got a hold of an EMT and said they would come help me get to my aunt. After a few moments a couple EMTs came over and helped push me out of the section.
With an EMT pushing my chair back towards my aunt, I made my way out of the special section. Once I returned to my aunt’s side, we tried to come up with my next plan of action.
As my aunt and I try to figure out a way to get me into the movie theater, an opportunity came knocking, or rather, walking by. While I sat defeated in my broke down wheelchair, a group of executives from Harkins theaters came strolling by. Once you realize who they were, my aunt quickly got their attention and informed them of my unfortunate situation.
They seemed a little dumbfounded and surprised by what had happened. But one of them gave me their business card and said to e-mail them and they could see if they could get me premiere tickets for the Thursday premiere of the movie [UPDATE:After all this happened, I e-mailed the said executive, who shall remain nameless, and they never returned my e-mail. Surprise, surprise.].
Even though I could not move the chair in my own, I was determined to try and find a way to get into the movie theater. So if one final attempt, I headed back towards the theater. Once we arrived in the front, we went to find someone who worked at the theater and asked if there was somebody that could help push me into the theater since my wheelchair broke.
But of course, they wanted nothing to do with me.
They told me that since this was such a big event, that they did not have enough staff to help me into the movie theater. Yes, you heard right, they were too busy to help someone who was disabled. A task that would take all of 10 minutes would be too much of a hindrance for them. They even went on to say that since I couldn’t move the chair myself, that it would be a danger to me and the people in the theater if an emergency happened because I wouldn’t be able to get out. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Strike three, I’m out. In the mean it was supposed to be filled with fun and excitement, turned into a night filled with anger, sadness and disappointment. I at least stayed to watch the actors go on stage and give a little speech, but I was nowhere near as close if I were able to be in the ticket section.
While it was disappointing to see that some people would rather just ignore me and then try to help, the thing that really irks me is that during the week before I had a really bad cold and I was unsure if I would even be able to go to the premiere. But once I got there, my cold seemed to get better and I didn’t have any issues with it at all, but suddenly, my chair broke down and I couldn’t even go. If it wasn’t one thing it’s another. If I was going to miss the event, I would’ve thought it would have been because of my cold. But it turned out that my chair would be the culprit.
I guess God really didn’t want me to see Hugh Jackman.