(AP) NEW YORK Toys “R” Us Inc. agreed on Saturday to award a Chinese-American infant a $25,000 prize in a New Year’s baby contest after the company came under fire for disqualifying the girl because her mother was not a legal U.S. resident.
Chinese-American advocates said they were infuriated by Toys “R” Us, which opened its first mainland China store less than a month ago, and launched an e-mail campaign on the issue.
The company responded by awarding each of the three babies in the grand prize pool of the “First Baby of the Year Sweepstakes” a $25,000 savings bond. Toys “R” Us is the parent company of Babies “R” Us, which sponsored the contest.
“We love all babies,” the company said in a statement. “Our sweepstakes was intended to welcome the first baby of 2007 and prepare for its future. We deeply regret that this sweepstakes became a point of controversy.”
Yuki Lin was born at the stroke of midnight at New York Downtown Hospital, according to hospital officials. The Wayne, N.J.-based company had said the prize would go to the first American baby born in 2007.
Although promotional materials called for “all expectant New Year’s mothers” to apply, Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh said eligibility rules required babies’ mothers to be legal residents. Many sweepstakes have such requirements, Waugh said.
Waugh said the prize instead was awarded to the runner-up � Jayden Swain, born 19 seconds after midnight at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga. � after the contest administrator was told that Yuki’s mother “was not a legal resident of the United States.”
The third baby in the running was born in Bay Shore, N.Y., to a couple from El Salvador.
Some Chinese-American advocates said the company’s decision smacked of second-class citizenship.
“People are just pretty much outraged,” said John Wang, president of the New York-based Asian American Business Development Center.
Albert Wang, an attorney, who launched the e-mail campaign said “She was deprived of $25,000 intended to be used for her college education because of who her parents are,” he said.
The controversy had Janet Keller worried her winning grandchild in Georgia would lose the money, and said revisiting the contest would be unfair.
“She was disqualified — that should be it,” Keller said. “Don’t go changing your mind now.”
The company hopes the matter is settled now.
Attempts to reach Yuki’s parents, Yan Zhu Liu and Han Lin, 22, for comment were unsuccessful early Saturday. Their immigration status was not clear.
Let me start off by saying kudos to Toys R Us, for being the ‘bigger man’ in this controversy. Giving 3 scholarships exceeded any generousity they were required to give.
Am I a heartless soul if I believe that the company was would have been justified in giving the scholarship to only Keller family in GA?
Why should this Chinese woman and her family get that money? I’m sure if they read the rules and regulations and it probably did say “Open to legal residents of the United States only”.
I get hundreds of emails about getting a free laptop if I fill out a survey, or a gas card for a couple hundred dollars for answering a few simple questions. I have on occasion clicked the link, and there in the fine print “Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years or older to participate”.
If the contest was being run by Bacardi, or Smirnoff – and the ‘winner’ was a 16 year old boy, could he cite that he won the prize fairly and its ageist not to give him the prize? Of course not!
What if it was a scholarship given by the Negro College Fund, if the ‘winner’ was white – would they award it. No! Because its not intended for that person to win.
The article says that the baby is being discriminated because of who its parents are, the parents made the decision to enter a contest knowing they should not qualify. . . .It drives me nuts when people don’t use common sense!
All countries have a legal process to enter the country, and a process to legally stay in that country – I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve got the stamp in my passport. Why should people get to take benefit of the services of a country (and subsquently their contests etc) if they have no legal right to even be on the soil of that country?
Another perspective, an Asian-American born in the US, and his dealings with crossing the Canadian/US borders.