Our story begins with Lee Grann, a 65-year-old Kent, Wash., resident who drives often to the Washington County mega-mall with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Cecelia.
Each has her own motivation: Lee enjoys the luxury of tax-free shopping; Cecelia gets to play in Bucky's Backyard, an Oregon-themed play area.
But on a Nov. 2 visit, a mall security officer dismissed Cecelia from the play area, saying she was "too tall to play."
"He took my granddaughter to the front and said, 'You...can never play here again,'" Lee Grann says. "She's 4 years old and she might be an inch taller than this Mr. Beaver, or whoever he is."
Bucky Beaver, if you don't know, is the dopey-looking, bare-chested beaver standing guard at the entrance to Bucky's Backyard with his index finger rigidly set at 42 inches high. His message: Children can't stand above his paw if they want to play.
And in fact, Cecelia is 3-foot-10 (46 inches tall). Grann says the mall's security management told her the rule keeps out older kids, but that raises the question of why to exclude a 4-year-old whose parents say she's a shy girl who loves Bucky's slides and sailboat.
Washington Square management did not return three phone messages, but a security guard told WW the limit is reasonably flexible unless there is roughhousing by taller kids. Grann says her granddaughter was not roughhousing.
Cecelia's father, 6-foot-5-inch Scott Meddock, says the incident muddles what he and his 5-foot-10 wife, Shelene, have tried to teach their daughter.
"She's tall enough as it is, and she's always going to be taller than everyone," he says. "We try not to give her a complex and tell her that height can be an advantage."
Not to Bucky, nor to Washington Square, apparently.