Darren Brown, News 9
KINGFISHER, Oklahoma -- A Kingfisher mother signed her son up for a contest, but got more than what she bargained for when his name was drawn.
Becky Atkinson was conducting business at the Bancfirst in Kingfisher a few weeks ago when she saw a promotion for "Kickoff Kids". The prize included the opportunity to be on the field with the Kingfisher Yellowjackets, and receive an autographed football and jersey from the team.
The winning child would also get to pick up the tee after kickoff. Atkinson signed up her son Timothy and her eight-year-old nephew.
She figured her son Timothy especially would enjoy the experience if chosen, since he's not able to play sports himself. Timothy was born with a brain disorder and has undergone extensive surgeries in his five years.
Not long after that she received a phone call from the bank, a woman informed her that her son's name was drawn and informed her that he would be expected to run onto the field.
"I told her 'He's handicapped, he cannot walk,'" said Atkinson. "'Well then he can't do it' was the response."
Atkinson was also told that Timothy didn't meet the age requirements. She suggested that her eight-year-old nephew could push Timothy's wheelchair.
"Well Timothy's the one that got chosen, and he can't walk, he can't do it," Atkinson said. "And I got hung up on."
Dismayed by what she considered discrimination, Atkinson contacted News 9. When she took Timothy to school on Tuesday, she informed his teacher she would be checking him out early for a television interview.
She received another phone call shortly after that.
"There was a woman calling from Bancfirst. And it was the same woman," said Atkinson. "She said 'We kept his number, kept his name, we would love to have him.'"
She was told that in addition to Timothy receiving the prizes, her nephew would be allowed to push her son's wheelchair onto the field.
"I told her 'Thank you for the offer, and I will take it,'" Atkinson said. "The music of the band, and the football players, and the action, he loves being around a bunch of people."
Bancfirst sent out the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
On behalf of our Kingfisher branch, we regret any misunderstandings there may have been from our communications with you about your son's participation in our local promotion. We should have more clearly communicated the age requirements for the contest. With that said, we are very pleased your son will participate in the "kickoff kids promotion" at the football game. It is our sincere hope this will be special for him and your family.
We admire your passion and devotion to your family and wish you and your son only the best in the years ahead.