As It Happens

11-year-old Calgary boy 'detained' by Lego Store security for shopping alone

Tadhg Dunlop loves Lego. He makes regular visits to the Lego store in Calgary's Chinook Centre to buy it. But, a few days ago, Tadhg was stopped by a security guard because he was in the shop without a parent.
Tadhg Dunlop bringing home a past purchase from the Calgary Lego Store. (Doug Dunlop)

Tadhg Dunlop loves Lego. He makes regular visits to the Lego store in Calgary's Chinook Centre to buy it.

But, a few days ago, Tadhg (pronounced 'tyg' like 'tiger') was stopped by a security guard because he was in the shop without a parent. Tadhg is 11.

Doug Dunlop is upset that his son Tadgh was detained at the Lego Store at the Chinook Centre for shopping without an adult. (Doug Dunlop)

"I was really surprised, he's a rule follower," says his father Doug Dunlop to As It Happens guest host Dave Seglins. "I couldn't really imagine why he'd been detained."

The reason? He was under 12, and according to national Lego Store policy, he was required to be accompanied by his father at all times.

Yet, Tadhg had shopped at the store alone dozens of times before. This, after he rode his bike nearly 5 km to get there.

"What child safety scenario is there that he's not safe being 9, 10, 11 in the Lego Store, but he is safe walking down the street?," he asks rhetorically.

In the store, Dunlop says he was criticized by both the security guard and the local store manager, whom he says accused him of being a bad parent.

Until the Lego Store changes its policy, he says he plans to buy his son's Lego elsewhere. He thinks an outright boycott is going too far. 

The incident comes at a time when stories of unsupervised children have made headlines around the world. Recently, a Maryland family had their children taken by the state's Child Protective Services, after the kids were reported playing by themselves at a park.

"If you knew my son's passion for Lego, that would be cruel punishment for him," he says. "The benefits outweigh the sleight that has been dealt to us by the retail Lego store in Calgary."

A busy Lego Store (Associated Press)

We reached out to Lego for a response and they issued this statement, which reads in part: "Our Calgary store manager followed our company safety policy and notified mall security to assist with a child, under the age of 12, in our store without a guardian. As a toy company our utmost concern is for children's safety . . . We followed our protocol and stand by our policy."

Take a listen to our interview with Doug Dunlop and read his blog here

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now