Just when you aren’t sure how the world can shock you… it does. And from the most magical place on Earth.
I must admit, when I first saw this news, I was fully expecting Disney World to be the place of this, but shocker, it happened on the West Coast at Disneyland. I would’ve loved to kick this headline off with “Florida Man” had it happened at Disney World. And let’s be honest, nothing goes together quite like “Florida Man” and “meth” in a headline.
Former Disney employee Taron Sargsyan opened up in a recent essay he wrote for Business Insider that he spent $24K on the Disney corporate card to support his drug addiction. And somehow, he was not fired when he came clean about his wrongdoings.
Yes, you can read that again….$24K on the corporate card…still had a job afterward. Since leaving the company, Sargsyan opens up about his “Cinderella” story of getting a second chance.
In the summer of 2014, he interned for a massive corporation, leading him to be hired as a software engineer after graduating from college. Sargsyan said that Disney was a safe haven for him after coming out as gay to his Armenian immigrant family. As his depression deepened, so did his meth addiction.
“As my addiction deepened, my finances didn’t reflect the near-six-figure salary I earned at Disney. Most of my money was spent on drugs and on helping out my immigrant family.”
While he was spiraling out of control, he began to look for ways to support his habits and family that were unethical, including putting his expenses on the company credit card. After racking up nearly $24k in charges on the card, he realized he was going down a path that would lead him to severe consequences.
“At the beginning of 2017, I took a stranger’s advice and admitted my mistake to my manager. I was terrified I’d get fired or go to jail, but Disney offered me the greatest gesture of love anyone could’ve shown me.
The company gave me a chance to pay it back and left me with a formal warning. This was a big turning point in my life.”
The story, although WILD that he was able to stay with the company, has a positive turnaround. The second chance that Disney gave him was the second chance that Sargsyan needed to turn around his life, inspiring him to check into rehab.
While he says that it took him six failures to get sober successfully, he reflects on the second chance Disney gave him as a turning point in his life and his battle with addiction.
“Although I no longer work for the company, I’m grateful to Disney for unlocking the power of my imagination and giving me a second chance at life. I’m also eternally grateful to my family for evolving with me throughout my main-character journey.”
I am not sure Disney can capitalize on his success story for their demographic, but nonetheless, it does feel like a wish upon a star kind of fairy tale ending. Kudos.