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Make-A-Wish Workers Reveal Which Wishes They Had To Say No To

Illness and a painful end of life is a harrowing thing to witness. It's all too unfair and cruel to personally experience; but it is an unfortunate part of many lives. Life will eventually end for all of us and the best we can hope is that we lived well and went peacefully or on our own terms. There are fantastic groups out there who assist in making pain slightly more bearable.

Specifically the 'Make-A-Wish Foundation' has been making dreams a reality for a very long time. They know that that one thing, an idea, a hope could brighten or extend a sick person's life. So they do their best to make as much happen as possible but as is life, nothing is guaranteed and they have to disappoint more often then they'd like.

Redditor u/abeannis wanted to share the tales of some wishes, good and bad by asking... Make-A-Wish recipients and workers, what were some wishes you HAD to say no to?

Out of Spite! 

As a wish granter I do the part where we meet the child and the parent(s), and then as long as no one is a nasty person we get to actually grant the wish. Our central office staff are the lucky folks who have to track down the non-custodial parent and ask for their permission to grant the wish for the child. I am just a volunteer so the paid people do the extra challenging stuff like that.

I would hope they at least say something to make them re-evaluate their life for denying their child a wish, when that child not only has a life-threatening illness, but also clearly a not-so-happy family life on top of it all. Every single time I've had a non-custodial parent refuse its been because of spite towards the other parent. They don't want that parent getting a free trip or any benefit from the wish. Not to say there aren't other people who have had other reasons to decline, but that's sadly been the reason in my experience. KitsyLou

Fam... get it together! 

I'm a Volunteer Wish Granter and we recently had to turn down a wish to stay in a 5 star, over the water bungalow room, in the Maldives. It was really sad to have to turn the wish down however, MAW does ultimately have a budget for each kid and this one was going to exceed that budget by triple. We were able to send our wish kid to a similar exotic location and had them set up in an AirBnb for the week with a rental car and all turned out well.

One wish I was on was really sad. The wish kid wished to swim with dolphins so we were going to send the wish kid and the family to Hawaii for a week. However, the wish kid lived with grandparents as well as the parents and aunts and uncles in one house and there was a big rift in the family when the grandparents and aunts and uncles found out they weren't included to go to Hawaii. We ultimately had to do a local wish in its place and just have a day adventure with the wish kid, sibling, and parents. textmewhenyougethome

Not your time people! 

Usually the wishes we had to say no to were from the kid's family members. There was always some uncle, grandma, cousin, sibling or parent who wanted to hijack the kid's wish. perroblanco

It's not the condition anymore right? I read from few other comments that nowadays they have a long chat with the kid to ensure that the wish is not influenced by parents or anyone else Lt_Frostbite

King Corey! Sammy Who?

A classmate of mine (now passed) got a meet and greet with Sammy Sosa. The understanding from the Make a Wish people was that Sammy would sign autographs and sit with the family for a while. Now, this kid was ALL ABOUT SAMMY. He had his jerseys, loved Sammy's little leaps after home runs, and even was big into Pepsi because of Sammy too.

When the day came, Sammy showed up late. He didn't respond when the family greeted him (it was described as a sullen silence) signed a glove and then walked away.

My classmate started crying once it was clear Sammy was not going to come back. Right when the parents were about to leave another baseball player named Corey Patterson saw my classmate, came up, signed everything they had, and talked and joked around with the family for over a half hour. Corey became my classmates favorite player that day - and I think he lived perhaps a year after that moment. At his funeral my classmates' picture with Corey was one of the prominent pictures - that moment and day truly, truly meant the world to him (he was around 10-11, iirc)

To this day I'm unsure if someone from Make a Wish found Corey or if the moment was as spontaneous as it was described to me, but no matter what Corey will always have a special place in my heart because of that story. ArbyLG

Why Harry why?!

I received a wish when I was 15. At that time I was madly in love with Harry Styles and of course wanted to use my wish to meet him and spend the day with him. After telling the wish coordinator this she broke the news to me that if I were to meet him it would be a year from then, with about 15 other kids for a VERY brief moment (a hello and a photo). Upon hearing that disappointing news I changed my wish and instead went to Australia for 10 days with my family and swam in the Great Barrier Reef. courtneywtf

Thanks for nothing Japan... 

My little brother has had 2 heart transplants so far and will probably get another before it's all said and done. His wish was to go to Nintendo. Well Nintendo Japan doesn't grant wishes, but Nintendo of America does. He stayed in Seattle for a few days and had a day long tour of Nintendo. Unfortunately Reggie wasn't in the office that day but the Treehouse staff led him around all day. This was right before the Switch came out so he got to play Breath of the Wild before anyone. They gave him a sweet goodie bag and let him go on a shopping spree in the employee store. NeylandSensei

Never stop at No! 

This isn't my personal story, but of my uncle who passed away shortly after I was born.

He loved The Terminator so much that he wanted nothing more than to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. Due to having a busy schedule, Arnold's agent had to deny him of his wish a couple of times (was filming for the 2nd Terminator).

My uncle was so determined to meet Arnold that he then changed his wish to meeting Maria Shriver (Arnold's wife).

Because of his determination he was allowed on set of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He got to meet Arnold, Maria, and Arnold's stunt double. My mom still has the pictures and it makes my heart soar.

Make-A-Wish is fantastic and I'm so glad my uncle got to live out his dream. :) keish_

Who needs the Oscars?

I've been the recipient and later on after my health improved I volunteered as a wish coordinator.

My original wish was to attend the Oscars. That got denied by the Academy as they do not grant wishes. I wound up going to the People's Choice Awards as a VIP. Make-a-Wish flew my family to LA for a week, all expenses paid. They got us a limo for the show, paid for my dress, hair, and make up, we walked the red carpet, and were seated very close to the stage. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

The generosity of the volunteers is remarkable. They even had someone greet us at the airport on arrival. It was extremely important to me that my brother and sister were included in my wish because my illness had robbed them of part of their childhoods. I am forever indebted to everyone who made my wish possible.

When I turned 18 I decided to volunteer as a wish coordinator to give back to an organization that did so much for me. I met with wish kids and their families. We would always arrive with a gift for all the children in the family based on a little survey they filled out. We'd talk with the child and help define their wish. It's important to determine the child's true wish, and make sure that it isn't influenced by parents. The most common wish is to go to Disney. Celebrity meet and greets are the ones that often can be turned down.

First, because it is undefined what a meet and greet is ... it could be the child literally waving at someone and no one wants that, and second because not all celebrities grant wishes or can schedule time to meet wish kids. The coolest wish I worked on was a shopping spree for a boy who was confined to his room. He got 7k to go buy video games, TVs, a tricked out lazy boy, etc for the ultimate gaming setup. nan_adams

Safety First! 

My parents were wish coordinators for over a decade. They usually did rush wishes where the child wasn't expected to live more than a few days or weeks.

The last wish they did, the child wanted to ride on a tractor. He had only days left. My parents were friends with a local farmer and had an entire day set-up. Make-a-Wish denied the wish due to liability issues (the kid might fall off the tractor). He died before they could grant another wish and my parents never volunteered again. subjackie

Not always great ideas... 

When I was a baby until I was 5 I had cancer and got some wishes. My first wish was for a computer. I only wanted a computer because it came with a mouse. Yes, I thought it came with a real mouse. So obviously it was rejected because you can't have pets when you basically live in a hospital and my family was broke as f**k anyway so they couldn't give us a pet.

I ended up getting some dope googly eye glasses and an epic trip to Disney World. It was the only family vacation we ever got to go on. meowtain-os

Don't Get Crazy! 

My mom became a Wish Granter shortly after my son went on his Make-A-Wish trip. She's done many wishes and has even been Wish Granter of the Year for her region a couple times. The only one that was a flat out no was one recipient asked who asked for a boob job. Other than that, wishes for new cars are always a no but Make-A-Wish will basically 'pimp out' a car already owned by the recipient. Other than that, she's been a Wish Granter for everything from trips to shopping sprees to even being on an episode of Fixer Upper where she was Wish Granter for two boys who wanted an accessible playground in their backyard. doodle_flaps


My daughter is a wish kid. She wished to go to DC and meet the President (Obama). She did get to go to DC but didn't get to meet the President, which is just as well since he wasn't in office anymore by the time we went. She still got a great trip though, we met our Representative in his office and got go out on the floor of the House which is apparently not very common. Mister_E_Phister

Karma exists! 

I got to have mine granted in 1999 when I was 8. I wanted to see my two favorite baseball players, Mark McGwire and Chipper Jones play. Make-A-Wish set up everything. Hotel, tickets to the game for my whole family, and even tickets to Six Flags. Before the first game they brought us down for batting practice. Got to meet the whole Braves lineup. Didn't meet a single player from the Cardinals, and we were told McGwire specifically declined the request. Braves won that game. I feel karma paid off too. Braves made it to the World Series, Chipper won MVP and is now a Hall of Famer. McGwire would later get marked for using steroids, will not make the Hall of Fame, and Cardinals finished under .500.Tsquared10

Challenge Accepted! 

I'm told that I was very sarcastic even at a young age.

When they told me I could wish for whatever I wanted, I thought I could think of something impossible: A big brick house so the big bad wolf can't blow it down.

Make-A-Wish people said they had ran out of bricks granting their last wish. They handed me a catalogue of playhouses to choose from. I defiantly flipped immediately to the back and poked one at random before probably returning to my Studio Ghibli movie.

And that is the story of how Make-A-Wish built me a two-story playhouse with heating/air/electricity.

I'm so glad they ran out of bricks. HillaryBoobPhD

Not getting played! 

I worked in music for a few years, and we had to turn down wishes when the artist refused to do it.

I used to hate them for it... and then one day I had a really long talk with a (still) major international rock star who used to do it, but then stopped.

He said that at first it was awesome because he was making kids so happy, but after a while it just got too depressing... all he could thing about was the trail of dead kids he was leaving behind him.

He also had multiple experiences where the kid didn't even knew he be was, but one or both of the parents were creaming their pants... or stuff he signed for the kid would end up on eBay the next day etc. hokeyWB


This doesn't answer your question, but I had cancer when I was three and apparently had been approached by Make-A-Wish. Unfortunately I was only three and too young to actually make a reasonable wish so the wish fell to my parents.... they asked for furniture. FURNITURE! monie_25

The Dog House! 

Word so when I was 15 I got to make a Wish. My Uncle really pushed to ask to meet Tiger Woods & play golf with him. I wasn't into that. Neither were my cervical tumors. I was getting better & I knew I was going to be ok. I told the Wish peeps that I wanted to bow out but they were pushy. Right in front of my Mom, I said I wanted to smoke weed with Snoop Dog and wouldn't accept any other Wish. That got shut down. I'm fine & 34 now. Nightmare_Moons

This isn't about you mom! 

I was offered a wish by the make-a-wish foundation, my mom said to give it to someone who needed it. I still remember them trying to talk to me while I was in a wheelchair and my mom saying, "she doesn't need it, give it to someone who does."

My mom used to get teary eyed when she bragged about it to me and strangers. Now that I bring it up to her, she miraculously can't remember it. borderlinesweet


My daughter was granted a wish. She really wanted to meet Taylor Swift and see her in concert, but Taylor was not touring at the time, so we (her parents) kiboshed that wish. She was not healthy enough to enjoy a long concert and I didn't want her to postpone her wish since we weren't sure if, or how long, she might live. In the end, she chose to go the Sea World resort in Florida and swim with the dolphins. She ended up being scared to death of them and refused to even go in the water! Make a Wish sent us to Universal while we were there too and she had fun. That was six years ago, and she is now in remission. We took her to a Taylor Swift concert this last summer and I think she enjoyed it way more than she would have six years ago. peachykorey

Magic Mike! 

A friend from school wanted to meet The Chippendales. She was 13. It was 1989. Australian Make A Wish weren't really happy about that. Her second choice was to see snow. They sent her family to Canada. Whilstler, I think. She loved it.smc642