Button-pushing Edmonton toddler wins his parents a free trip to Tokyo

EDMONTON — Lee Tappenden thought it was a scam when he got a call last week saying he had won a free trip to Tokyo.

The caller was from Shaw, his cable company, and the prize was for ordering “Alita: Battle Angel” — an action movie based on a Japanese comic series and produced by Hollywood producer James Cameron.

Strange thing was neither Tappenden nor his wife, Amy, had seen the movie.

“Of course the first thing that rolled through my mind is a little bit of disbelief with all the scam calls going around lately,” Tappenden recalled from his Edmonton home Monday.

But a check of emails sent by the caller suggested the prize was legitimate and a call back to the company verified the good news.

As it turns out, Tappenden’s 20-month-old son Anthony had “ordered” the movie without the couple knowing — twice — in August, which made them eligible for the giveaway.

“For the most part, you hear about these stories and it is all something negative that happens when kids play with your electronics,” Tappenden said. ”But this time it seems to have really worked out for us.”

Tappenden said Anthony loves anything with buttons. The boy had managed to set the family’s PVR accidentally in the past. Tappenden checked his bills and noticed the tot had ordered yet another movie earlier in the summer.

“A lot of the time he’s grabbing our phones and remotes and pretty much anything with buttons that he can get his hands on.”

The week-long trip is valued at $8,500 and includes four-star accommodation, airfare and a bit of spending money.

Despite Anthony’s role in landing the prize, his parents say the boy is going to sit this one out.

“I am not sitting on a plane for 14 hours with him and I don’t want to do that to anyone else,” his mom laughed. ”He’s way too busy to sit for 14 hours.”

“He gets a week at grandma’s house,” Lee Tappenden said. ”We’ll bring him back something.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2019.

Tim Cook, The Canadian Press

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