A display of patriotism was almost squashed by retail giant Walmart in Pembroke Pines.
Fourth- and fifth-graders from Coconut Palm Elementary School were supposed to sing inside the store, as a flash mob that would pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. Parents said the whole thing was set up in advance with the store manager.
More than a hundred kids, parents and teachers gathered outside the store Tuesday evening.
“We walked towards the entrance and then the manager came out and said ‘No, you guys have to leave,” said Adrianna Disciascio, a member of the chorus.
Adrianna's father, Michael, had a brief interaction with the managers.
“Little kids were crying, they were upset, the three or four managers were just very firm,” he said. They showed no sympathy, he added.
“Some of them just started crying, like me, and I was like what is this, what's going on, and then I found out,” Adrianna Disciascio said.
The students were forced to sing “God Bless America” outside in the parking lot instead.
The development was a bit of a bummer for Disciascio. She went to ground zero over the summer.
“We just wanted to honor the people who lost their lives and lost their families, but they just didn't know what was going on, so they just told us to leave,” she said.
Walmart said that the store manager who made the arrangements no longer works for the store, so that person was not there when the kids showed up Wednesday.
"We regret this happened and apologize to the students, parents and the school for this experience. This was a miscommunication and should've been handled differently,” Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said.
The store plans to invite the students back to sing inside.