In the world of entertainment, the magic of Disney is renowned for its ability to captivate hearts and inspire dreams. But what happens when the magic fades, and one of its own employees finds himself trapped in a downward spiral of addiction and financial despair? Taron Sargsyan’s story is a testament to the power of redemption and the second chances that even the most unlikely circumstances can provide.
In the summer of 2014, Taron Sargsyan began his journey with Disney as a software engineer on the Photopass team. For him, Disney wasn’t just a workplace; it was a sanctuary during a dark period in his life. Battling depression and isolation after coming out as gay to his Armenian immigrant family, Taron sought refuge in the dark world of methamphetamines.
“As my addiction deepened, my finances didn’t reflect the near-six-figure salary I earned at Disney,” Taron candidly admitted. “Most of my money was spent on drugs and on helping out my immigrant family.”
But it was a corporate credit card that would push him to the brink. Taron racked up a staggering $24,000 debt on his Disney credit card, convincing himself that he could pay it back. Yet, as he plunged deeper into addiction, his financial situation became increasingly dire.
In a Monday interview with The Post, Taron clarified that he hadn’t used the Disney credit card to purchase drugs directly. “Basically, I used this credit card for personal expenses, groceries, dentist visits, etc.,” he explained. “This card supported my drug habit because it allowed me to use my personal income on most of my drug expenses.”
Desperation led Taron to reveal his “mistake” to his manager in early 2017. He feared losing his job or even facing legal consequences. However, what happened next was nothing short of remarkable. Disney extended a compassionate hand, offering Taron an opportunity to pay back the debt while issuing a formal warning. It was a pivotal moment that changed the course of his life.
In his interview with The Post, Taron admitted that he never explicitly confessed to having a drug problem to his manager at Disney. “I just told him I had messed up and used the credit card for personal expenses,” Taron said.
Moreover, Taron had not revealed his sexual orientation to his coworkers, believing they were unaware of his identity. Yet, they rallied behind him, demonstrating a profound willingness to give him another chance.
With his family’s support, Taron managed to secure a loan to repay the debt to Disney. This gesture of kindness from his employer inspired Taron to seek rehabilitation. Although he faced numerous setbacks during his journey to recovery, he never gave up hope.
On July 17, 2018, Taron hit rock bottom. With no gas, no money, and only ten days left to return to work from another medical leave of absence, he found himself isolated from friends and family. Fearing the loss of his job at Disney, he made a crucial decision – to seek professional help.
His search led him to a rehab facility in Tustin, California, where he found a renewed sense of purpose and a connection to his own humanity. The experience not only transformed Taron but also improved his relationship with his family.
Reflecting on his journey, Taron shared, “Disney showed me that compassion can be a powerful force to inspire forgiveness and accountability. I learned that without self-forgiveness and accountability, healing from addiction is impossible.”
While Taron no longer works for Disney, he remains grateful for the company that gave him a second chance at life. He left his Disney job in August 2019, seeking a new purpose and motivation for his sobriety beyond his employment.
Taron said, “I wanted to pursue my dream of sharing my experience and story with the world—and how Disney had such a profound impact on my life. I didn’t want to waste any more of Disney’s resources on me because they had already done so much for me by giving me another chance at life.”
Disney has not yet provided a comment on Taron’s remarkable journey. Nonetheless, his story reminds us all that even in the darkest of times, the power of redemption and the generosity of second chances can shine brightly.