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Edmonton couple wins trip to Japan after toddler accidentally orders pay-per-view movie

An Edmonton couple is going on a trip of a lifetime after their 20-month-old son inadvertently entered them into a contest with their cable company.

Toddlers getting into things they shouldn’t can be an annoying — and sometimes costly — headache every parent experiences.

But that curiosity has landed an Edmonton couple with a dream vacation they didn’t think they’d experience until their retirement years.

When Lee Tappenden got a call at 8:30 a.m. Thursday from Shaw cable telling him he’d won the trip, he didn’t think it was real.

“It was very confusing because I never thought that I entered any type of contest with Shaw.”

Tappenden said he was very skeptical and kept questioning the caller.

“I said, ‘Is this a scam?’ He laughed and said, ‘No, this isn’t a scam’. And then I said, ‘Well, am I going to have to send $500 to a Nigerian prince?’ And he said no and he laughed. I still asked him about a hundred questions and I still didn’t think it was real.”

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Tappenden said the caller sent him several emails which seemed legitimate, but he was still doubtful so he immediately called Shaw customer service.

“I posed the question, ‘Is this contest real or am I getting scammed?’ And the first reaction — actually both times when I called and spoke to somebody at Shaw — their first reaction was, ‘Don’t believe it. It’s probably a scam.’

“And so I actually had to almost convince them to look into it further for me, and go up the chain and see if the promotion was actually something that was real or not.”

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His parents say little Anthony Tappenden loves playing with phones and remote controls.
His parents say little Anthony Tappenden loves playing with phones and remote controls. Supplied

Tappenden’s toddler son Anthony is 20 months old and curious about everything.

“He constantly is playing with our phones, the remotes, anything with buttons to get his hands on,” Tappenden said. “Anything we don’t want him to touch. That’s what he wants the most.”

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“He just loves to play and swipe and push buttons, and on more than one occasion, I’ve given him the remote. Usually I take the batteries out, but I guess he got ahold of it that day.”

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Unbeknownst to mom and dad, back in the summer the toddler appears to have accidentally rented Alita: Battle Angel from their cable company’s on-demand menu.

“It looks like he was the one that ordered the movie by accident, because my wife and I have both never seen it and it was definitely ordered to our account,” Tappenden said, adding with the title starting with an “A,” it would be easy for a toddler mashing remote buttons to accidentally order the first alphabetical movie.

His parents say little Anthony Tappenden loves playing with remote controls.
His parents say little Anthony Tappenden loves playing with remote controls. Supplied

The couple was unaware Shaw was running a contest. Anyone who ordered the movie Alita: Battle Angel was entered into a draw for a seven-day trip for two to Tokyo, Japan (including airfare, hotel and $500 spending money) courtesy of iTravel and 20th Century Fox.

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WATCH: Promo video for the Shaw contest

Eventually, all the details were confirmed and Tappenden was awarded the contest. But he learned along the way that Shaw had apparently tried to give the prize to others first.

“I actually found out that they had attempted to award the prize to three or four other individuals before me.

“Nobody had responded to their emails or phone calls because, I guess, maybe they apparently thought it was a scam too? But yeah, I was the fourth in line as a random winner for the contest. And I’m the only one who who attempted to claim it.”

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Anthony, Lee and Amy Tappenden.
Anthony, Lee and Amy Tappenden. Supplied

Funny enough, Tappenden said he had a conversation with his wife just a month ago about travelling in retirement and they both agreed on going to Japan.

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“It was literally at the top of both of our lists of where we would want to go, when our kids grow up and we retire. And then, sure enough, a month later, we get this call.”

“It’s just kind of a funny thing that ended up really working out for us.”

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Tappenden runs a video game store in west Edmonton and his wife Amy is an educational assistant with Edmonton Public Schools.

They’re hoping to take the trip over New Year’s and their eager button pusher is staying home.

“We have two very eager grandmothers who would love to take care of him for us while we go away,” Tappenden said.