There’s been quite a bit of buzz on social media with a story involving a waterpark and a young child, who was denied on a waterslide because she has a prosthetic leg.
Many people have seen the headline and immediately assumed the park had discriminated against the eight year old – who was told she could not ride the slides at Frontier City, “…because the prosthetic leg she has could scratch the slide.”
Read the story, here, then come back here to read my opinion:
Let’s start with some obvious problems: the father is angry, because the park did not list on it’s rules, regulations that someone with a prosthetic leg could not ride the slides. Here’s the problem – he also said he would expect to see a list of every possible scenario where someone could not enjoy the park listed for them.
Really? They don’t even do that for airplane flights.
Quite simply, there’s no way that’s feasible. The sign would be literally twenty feet tall and impossible to read. No park can accurately predict each and EVERY situation in which there may be an issue with a specific guest, and then put it down in writing. That’s what ride operators are for – to interpret the safety of the guest and the park.
In this case – the ride op was CORRECT to deny the rider – because if the prosthetic leg had scratched the slide, the next guests would have been cut by the plastic – exposing potential bloodborne pathogens and a litany of lawsuits. If the leg didn’t behave like a regular one – who’s to say it wouldn’t have injured the young girl? It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.
Now, I’m not saying that there cannot BE a way for this young guest to experience a waterslide (there must be a low friction cover of some kind that could be placed over it or an attachment preventing any metal or “scratchable” material from making contact with the slide) but the park had every right to prevent her from riding – no matter how much “emotional distress” it caused her or her family. Fact is – it was for her safety and the safety of others around her.
Yes, it sucks having to walk down the entrance, but I’ve been denied on a waterslide because I wore a swimsuit with metal washers – and when I realized it – I totally understood.
The father was also angry with park management, who had security escort them to the front to speak with park management. Now, I’ve worked in parks – and the ONLY time someone is escorted to the front is when they’re being a disruption to others. While the sympathetic side of the story is with the family – having security escort your family to the front gate indicates to me that weren’t being the pictures of innocence.
People are denied on rides everyday. They are built for roughly 90% of the total population. Some people may be too short – others too tall or too large. But they don’t go to the local news station.
To sum up – this isn’t a story on discrimination based on a disability…it’s an overblown and daily occurrence at parks, that just happened to involve an eight year old amputee with a boisterous family, who happened to hit a slow news week with a buzz-worthy headline. (And I would know – I WORK at a news station)…