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- [+] 2014
Edgardo Bayani, Regional Manager for Cinema Operations in Mindanao, helped a youth with autism who was starting to become agitated. He and his mother was waiting inside SM Cinema Davao for the showing of the movie they are scheduled to watch. To help appease the child while waiting, Edgardo accommodated them inside a cinema all by themselves to watch all the previews of the upcoming films.
The heart-warming story was sent to SunStar Davao by the mother, Jane Ann Gonzales. An excerpt from the published article can be found below:
Two weeks ago, my son and I went to the movies at SM City Davao to watch a Tagalog film. The screening was supposed to start at 2:30 p.m. but when we arrived at the cinema, it was closed. We were informed that if there were no movie goers within the first 15 minutes of the screening time, the protocol is to close the movie house for that duration. The next showing was at 4:40 p.m.
For obvious reasons, my son and I were both naturally upset. For him, it was a sudden change in routine and schedule, while for me, it was a not a joke that for two long hours, I had to explain things and keep him distracted from reacting to the sudden change. We were both not prepared for this disruption in our supposedly planned relaxation.
It was as if my prayers were heard because Mr. Ed Bayani, the General Manager of SM Cinemas, suddenly appeared as he was doing his rounds. I met Mr. Bayani years ago when I conducted several orientations on autism with the frontline staff and security personnel of SM in line with their program called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caring for Special CustomersÃ¢â‚¬Â. Mr. Bayani and I also worked together during the first Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sensory-friendly Movie for Individuals with AutismÃ¢â‚¬Â, a joint project of the Autism Society Philippines and SM, wherein a special day was allotted for children with ASD to give them a memorable experience in watching a movie for the first time. SM adjusted the lights, sounds and temperature of the movie house to address the sensory issues that might affect the children. My sacrifices at advocacy work paid off.
I did not even ask for accommodations from Mr. Bayani. I was merely sharing my predicament for that two hours of waiting, and he immediately understood the situation. And so the next thing we knew, my son and I were already sitting inside the cinema and watching all the previews of coming films, all by ourselves.
I could just imagine the monetary loss they must have incurred in operating the cinema for just one person with autism but I guess that Mr. Bayani and SM management also could not imagine that what he did was an act of kindness that can never be forgotten and can only be repaid by a lifetime respect, gratitude and prayers. Mr. Bayani has demonstrated a sense of compassion, sincerity and acceptance that every family with autism hopes and expects from society. True to his name, Mr. Bayani is an autism hero. Salamat at mabuhay ka!
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It takes an angel to embrace a person with autism.Ã¢â‚¬Â – Autism Society Philippines