Build-A-Bear Refused To Construct ‘Pay Your Age’ Toy For Grieving Mom

a teddy bear in a child's hospital bed
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Ashley Guevara of North Carolina describes the day her 6-month-old daughter, Dahlia, died as the “worst day” of her life.

The day her daughter passed away was the same day she received a ticket for a “Pay Your Age” toy from Build-A-Bear. Distraught over the loss of her daughter, Guevara thought building a bear in honor of her little one would be a wonderful way to memorialize and honor her daughter. Unfortunately, Build-A-Bear didn’t agree.

According to Parents Magazine, the little one was born with a genetic abnormality which caused “low muscle tone, epilepsy, delay in eye contact, delayed development, and an array of other things.” Ashley’s daughter reportedly fought for her life in the NICU as she battled rhinovirus before she was later diagnosed with pneumonia.

“I lost a chunk of my soul,” Guevara said as she explained what it felt like to lose her daughter.

Prior to her daughter’s death, Ashley had signed up to receive a “Pay Your Age” ticket from Build-A-Bear. At the time, she thought it would be a fun thing for her older daughter Carmen to do with her baby sister.

“The day she died was the day we got the email that we had won the tickets for our girls. I waited a few days before I asked if we could still use it for my girls even though one was now my angel baby. I explained how she unexpectedly passed the day we received them. It felt like the perfect thing to do in order to honor and remember her,” Ashley continued to explain.

Ashley described Build-A-Bear’s response to her inquiry, which was saved and shared in a public post on Facebook, as a “stab to the heart.”

The toy building company shot down the request explaining that the “Pay Your Age” promotion was an in-store event that was exclusive for guests who come into the store.

Telling her story to Love What Matters, Ashley explained that she would have understood and accepted a simple “no” from the company. The reason the response was so difficult for her to accept is that it reminded her that her daughter was not able to go to the store because she was no longer with her.

“Their words shattered me. I chose to not respond,” she added.

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Ashley’s story went viral as people started sharing her post and sending her messages.

In time, Build-A-Bear management caught wind of the story and the CEO of the company contacted Guevara to apologize to her for the way the company responded to her on Facebook. The CEO also offered Ashley the opportunity for her daughter Carmen to come into the store so she could make a special bear for herself and her sister Dahlia.

While Guevara appreciated the sentiment, she believes the apology was too little too late as what she once thought would have been the perfect way to say goodbye to her baby girl lost all meaning.