Disabled teen in Denver shares humiliation with the news

Friday, May 24, 2013 10:48 AM

Not really news but maybe interesting discussion. The ride operators following the manufacturers rule, told her she needs "all body parts" to ride. The story and video can be found here.

When I worked at the park these guest complaints were always the worst. Personally, I always felt Intamin's rule was a bit too strict. Not having both hands or both feet was never really detrimental to your safety on this ride IMO.

However, I was never a fan of the phrase "all body parts" even in the safety spiels. Just sounds more professional to say "arms, hands, legs, and feet."


Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

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Friday, May 24, 2013 10:56 AM

When I worked in rides for SF back in the mid-90s, the rule was that the rider had to have at least enough of one limb or both limbs for the restraint to work properly. It was often referred to the "one-arm-one-leg" rule. In my 6 years in rides, I was never confronted with having to make a decision concerning the rule. I'm sure things have changed a bit over the years, but I would bet the biggest issue that results in complaints is inconsistent enforcement. When a similar story to this emerged from SFOT earlier this year, it sounded as if the guy had been allowed to ride multiple times before he was told "no".


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Friday, May 24, 2013 11:02 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think her issue is less about the requirement and more about the way it was addressed. If the ride op did say what she said, that's not exactly tactful. I'm not sure how you would say it, perhaps something like, "The ride's safety requirements prevent the accommodation of amputees, sorry," or something. I think what made it worse is that she was on the ride already when they made the determination.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, May 24, 2013 11:42 AM

^^ Yes. Also, the same rules should be drilled into all ride operators from day one of training, as well as a suggestion or two on how to phrase things like this.

Stories like this always bother me for many reasons. It is sad for the person involved, it shows the lack of common sense that some park patrons have (not saying this girl specifically), the lack of common sense of some ride ops, and theme parks' inability to train their employees to continuously follow safety rules set by the ride manufacturers and theme parks themselves. Do I think in this case she shouldn't have been allowed to ride? Honestly, no. At least one full, working arm to me seems fine, but it is the RULE.

The op truly handled it poorly though. I cringed when I read the way it was stated. Ugh.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Friday, May 24, 2013 11:55 AM

Totally agree there. I used to be the guy that got called over there after they were denied a ride. It was always the worst when they had ridden before. If someone has a prosthetic leg and wears pants, the staff wouldn't even know they're missing part of their leg. But I suspect most of the time the employees just missed it. If the entrance attendant could catch the guest before they waited in line, it was the best.

I told my employees to "blame" the ride in situations like that. In this case it would be the manufacturer's rule. "I'm so sorry but the manufacturer says riders must have 2 hands and 2 feet." Then I would clarify this is the only ride in the park with such a requirement.

"Blaming" the ride when large guests couldn't ride seemed nicer too. "I'm sorry but the restraint won't close or the seat belt won't latch," instead of saying you can't ride because "you don't fit."


Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

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Friday, May 24, 2013 12:37 PM

Working with the public, I can say that tact is a very difficult thing to teach. I can also say that tone and context are a bigger part of the story. Now, I am unable to get this specific story to load on my iPod, so I am going by similar situations witnessed at work. It doesn't even take poor tact or untrained staff to create this pr issue. You just need someone who is dissatisfied enough to only hear part of the employees response and to present half the story as a complaint.

For example, I was in a situation one day where the Pepsi driver blocked a couple handicap parking spots during a delivery. After he left, a customer came in telling me that my pepsi truck was in the way. I apologized and agreed that he should not have been there. That was not enough. A complaint was made about me and how I did not move my pepsi truck which forced this woman to park elsewhere. Tactfullness would not have satisfied that situation.

I agree with J that most often one can blame the situation but even then it's not enough. During a power outage we've had customers demand to know why they can't watch their movies. Or when Internet connection is down and we cannot accept credit cards, an apology is not enough.

This situation might be different but it's hard to tell the situation based only on the one story. Context is everything. The conversation may have started properly and well handled. It doesn't take much.

"I'm sorry the ride cannot accommodate passengers with only one arm."
"I have two arms, one is prosthetic."
"I'm sorry, I meant two real arms."
"Are you saying my arm is not an arm?"
...spiral out of control.


RIP Geauga Lake 1888-2007
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Friday, May 24, 2013 2:46 PM
Vater's avatar

I'm not saying that the situation was necessarily handled tactfully or not, but this made me think...wouldn't the world be a better place if people could just speak to each other without having to sugar coat everything? Why have we as a society become so over-sensitive that when someone speaks the truth, even when the intent is not at all malicious, there's always going to be someone who is offended?

The op said she couldn't ride because she "need[s] all her body parts." There's nothing false about that statement. Like I said, I'm not saying it's the most tactful way of putting it, but...why the hell not? I wish people could speak without having to walk on eggshells and dance around words. Why is "I'm sorry, you can't ride this because you don't have all your body parts" considered rude and "I'm sorry, you can't ride this because the ride manufacturer says riders must have 2 hands and 2 feet" isn't?

People can speak civilly to each other and at the same time be blunt, right?

Beyond that, was it really necessary to alert the media? Why isn't it enough to file a complaint at guest relations and leave it at that?

I'm grumpy. Stories like this don't help.

Last edited by Vater, Friday, May 24, 2013 3:15 PM
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Friday, May 24, 2013 4:24 PM

So the comments on that article are infuriating to anyone in a pr related postition.

I'm sure that teenage ride host didn't have formal education in working with the disabled and probably said the most obvious thing that came to her mind. Simply because she had ridden before doesn't mean she should have, it means someone else failed to inform her of her inability to ride. Getting away with breaking rules is not the same as being allowed to.


RIP Geauga Lake 1888-2007
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Friday, May 24, 2013 5:25 PM
Vater's avatar

And another thing, dammit. While I understand being humiliated (Lord knows I've done stupid things that many people witnessed), grow a pair and realize that most--if not all--of the people in who were in the station when you were kicked off the ride will never, ever see you again.

Of course, then the logic of going to the media comes into play again. If it was so humiliating, now you've presented your humiliating experience to all Fox Denver viewers instead of just letting the few who saw the epic event unfold before them go about their lives and likely forget about it 5 minutes after it happened.

All in the name of preventing such horrible atrocities from happening to anyone else in the future. So noble.

Ugh. I know I'm not supposed to pass judgement on people...but some people make it so damn hard.

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Friday, May 24, 2013 5:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I absolutely adore grumpy Vater.


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Friday, May 24, 2013 5:55 PM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Vater said:
Why have we as a society become so over-sensitive that when someone speaks the truth, even when the intent is not at all malicious, there's always going to be someone who is offended? ....

People can speak civilly to each other and at the same time be blunt, right?

Not on CoasterBuzz.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Friday, May 24, 2013 7:09 PM
Jeff's avatar

Vater said:

...wouldn't the world be a better place if people could just speak to each other without having to sugar coat everything? Why have we as a society become so over-sensitive that when someone speaks the truth, even when the intent is not at all malicious, there's always going to be someone who is offended?

As someone who routinely shows disregard for any sensitivity, to the extent I wondered if I have Asperger Syndrome (diagnosis: no, because I generally show a great deal of empathy in any non-trivial relationship), I also realize that there are situations where I can't fully appreciate the world that someone else lives in. For example, I can't ever know what it's like to not have a limb (or be deaf, or blind, or whatever). I find it difficult to relate in those situations, and have to remind myself that's a different world I will never likely understand.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, May 24, 2013 8:29 PM

The whole thing begs the question, in this day and age with the advancements in prosthetics, and ride manufacturers legal departments writing more and more boilerplate for their products, why IAAPA hasn't come up with a curriculum for teaching front line staff on how to properly deal with these situations? Something that could be taught in regional seminars, or even available on DVD. It could save all involved from a thoroughly uncomfortable situation.

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Friday, May 24, 2013 8:33 PM
Vater's avatar

I know different people are in different situations, and I certainly can't relate to many of them either. But it doesn't change the fact that everyone, including those in more unfortunate circumstances, could benefit from thicker skin.

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Friday, May 24, 2013 8:40 PM

Better yet, require manufacturers to create seats that are accessible to all people.

Perhaps, a row of seats that are more adaptable -- additional OTSRs or retractable belts, etc.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013 12:05 AM
sirloindude's avatar

Yes, but then capacity would drop, and conspiracy theories would arise that rides were made more accessible to drive Fastpass sales.


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Saturday, May 25, 2013 8:02 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I have no idea how difficult it would be, but I can't imagine the benefits outweigh the costs.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:25 AM

This is the thing that i hate about most, the way parks train their staff. There should never be a time when someone should have to do the walk of shame from a ride. If someone is too over weight, too short, or handicap they should never be allowed to enter the queline to a ride in the first place. It pisses me off when a ride gets held up because they have re-measure a kid, when that is done at the entrance of the ride. The attendant standing in front of a ride entrance should make sure that everyone going into the que is able to ride. If someone is over weight they should stop them and have them try the test seat and if they don't fit they cant enter the que. It doesn't make sence to make someone wait in an hour line only to find out they can't ride, it only waists everyones time and holds up dispatches!

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Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:34 AM

Waiting in line is not explicitly for intent to ride, especially with a group. The attendant should direct people to the test seat, or measure guests, to inform them, but not prevent them from being in the queue.


RIP Geauga Lake 1888-2007
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Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:39 AM

^ so you would wait in a 2hr line for a ride your not riding? Thats total BS, but if that is still the case and their not riding there would be no hold up in the dispatches and no one to complain about not getting on a certain ride!

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