"I worked at a children's theme park, the kind of place you would expect 5-year-olds to be having meltdowns. Instead, the adults were some of the worst humans I've ever encountered. One particular incident sticks out most in my mind. The ride was one where children drive little cars around a track, but the kid has to be over 6 years old. My friend was loading children in, asking them their age in the way we were trained. Frequently, you get a child who is younger than 6, and you have to tell them they can't go on the ride. The children, for the most part, are fine with this, they move on. Their parents, however, are livid.
So the kids are coming in, and the loader tells one he's too young for the ride. The child's dad takes this as a personal insult, and starts shouting at my friend, telling him this is absolutely unacceptable, he wants a refund, he wants to speak to a manager, 'what the heck do you mean my kid can't go on this ride' sort of thing. The rest of us are out on the track hearing some blustering wondering what's causing the holdup.
The loader calls a manager, also security because this guy is making threats now. The manager arrives, tells my bud to swap positions with one of us out on the track so he's no longer in the line of fire. The manager seems to be dealing with it, ride begins, everything's fine.
THEN, out of nowhere, we see this dude climbing the fence surrounding the ride, shouting that he's going to beat up the guy who wouldn't let his child on the ride. He jumps down onto the track, we emergency stop the ride, leaving loads of 6-year-olds sitting in their cars just wanting to go for a drive. Security rushes out, grab the guy, and pretty much have to drag him off the track.
The guy who was loading the children has to sit in the back for a while to calm down. The guy who jumped on the track ends up getting a refund for his park tickets and the manager gives him a couple of fast track passes for other rides for the 'inconvenience'."
Near the Bank of Main Street in autumn.
Old dude looking around at the leaves on the ground muttering to himself. He spots me and eagerly heads towards me. In my head: 'what is this nonsense?'
To him 'Good morning sir, is there an issue?'
Angrily 'Walt would be spinning in his grave if he saw all this trash.'
I scan the ground, there is no trash only fallen leaves.
'Yes, this place has become a disgrace!'
I apologized, thanked him and two-finger pointed to City Hall.
"Whenever I worked on our most popular roller coaster, every couple of ride cycles there would be a kid crying and saying they didn't want to ride. We were not allowed to send a coaster if a kid was screaming about not wanting to ride. We would either have to talk to them and try to calm them down or just let them out and have them wait in the exit for their parents. I've witnessed countless parents try to tell me that their kid was just being a baby and to just start the coaster down the tracks anyways. Not only is it policy, but it's just a shitty thing to do to a child. This coaster was a huge wooden coaster that was pretty rough and intense in some parts and if a kid is super scared it might even traumatized them. I've had parents tell me to shut up, not to talk to their kids, that I can't let them out of the seat, basically they just wanted to force their crying child to endure an intense coaster when they clearly didn't want to. It was really upsetting honestly."
"Mine is kind of sad.
I was a leader at a large roller coaster. I got called out to the loading platform to help with what I was initially told was a "loose article" issue. So I head up, expecting to have to tell someone to put, like, a bag or camera in a free locker at the entrance.
So I arrive to a fully loaded train, and my team members point me up to the front row, where I find a very pissed off woman holding her harness in place- the team clearly hasn't latched the harnesses yet because they know there is an issue.
So as I approach her, I don't see any bags or anything. If she has a camera or a cell phone, it's in her pocket, which is fine. But that can't be it, the pockets on her shorts aren't bulging....oh. That's when I see what's sticking out of the bottom of her shorts. One tan leg. And one bright blue, metal prosthetic. Shoot.
So I failed to mention that this coaster is inverted, which means the track is above your head, and your feet dangle. And prosthetics are a huge no-no. If it's not permanently affixed to your body, there is a very VERY high probability that it's going to go flying. In fact, over the years since that coaster opened, I know of two instances where that very thing happened.
On top of being a massive safety issue (I'm super confident a bulky metal leg hurtling at 60 mph would definitely kill someone on impact), the majority of the coaster sits over a man made lake...and if the (very expensive) leg falls in that, it's not being recovered.
I very calmly explained to the guest that unfortunately she wouldn't be able to ride with her prosthetic, for the above reasons. I also told her she could definitely ride if she was able/comfortable removing it, and that I would be happy to watch it for her personally while she rode.
She did not take this well. She starts ranting and raving about discrimination. And all I can do is apologize, and assure her that it's a safety rule that is in place for valid, nondiscriminatory reasons, and that it also goes way above my head. She wants me to bring out the person who can override it. I tell her even the manager in charge of the entire park for the day can't override a safety rule like this.
I again emphasize that she can definitely ride if she removed the prosthetic. She screams at me that the way it's attached would require her to undress. I offer to accompany her to the restroom with a wheelchair and bring her straight back once the leg is removed and let her ride as many times as she likes before returning to the restroom. She keeps screaming at me.
At this point, my ride hasn't been running in 10+ minutes, which is a huge problem. I have guests stuck waiting to get off the attraction, but since we aren't moving vehicles, we can't bring them into the unload platform. I also have antsy guests waiting to get on the attraction 5 feet away from us, and they have started to shout at and heckle this woman. Which did not help things at ALL, it put her more on the spot and made her shout ay me even more. I can only imagine that she was trying to deflect the blame of everyone's extended wait
So I emphasize one last time that I understand why she is upset, that I am terribly sorry that I have to enforce this rule, but there is absolutely zero chance I am going to let her ride with her leg and lose my job. I told her she HAD to exit, and if this went on much longer, she was going to force me to call security.
So she finally gets up to leave, and the queue starts cheering- I shoot them a glare, because they were NOT HELPING.
When they started cheering, the woman flushed redder than she already was. Humiliated and intent on having the last word, she shrieks at me (a heavy set female) 'Well maybe I can't ride because I am disabled, but at least I'm not TOO FAT TO FIT ON A RIDE LIKE YOU.'
I just kind of looked at her. The crowd hushed and stared at her too. And then she left. I had planned to follow her and try to convince her to take her leg off. But I was done. I told my attendants to start the ride back up, and then I locked myself in my office and cried for like 10 minutes. Partially because of what she said to me- I wasn't very confident back then, and even though I could fit on every ride on property, it was humiliating to have that said to me in front of hundreds of guests and my entire team. But also because I kind of understood why that woman lashed out and was so upset and frustrated. She just wanted to live a normal life. Ride a stupid roller coaster with her friends. But because she got dealt a bad hand, she couldn't have that. And while I didn't make the rule, I had to be the figurative slap in the face of reality. In front of hundreds of people. While she was on vacation.
At a destination where reality should have been the last thing on her mind."
"A guy got ticked I wouldn't let his INFANT son down the raft ride in the water park. Fought with me, tried to explain how dangerous it was, there was a height limit for a reason, yadda, yadda. The guy just wasn't having it. Said 'he'd show me' and went to the parking lot. I told security about it and said he's up to something. The dude comes back into the park. Security guys have him go through the metal detector and it turns out he had a gun. Cops came and arrested him. What a jerk."
-- "I worked those not-quite-rigged games where you pay $2 to try to win a stuffed animal or basketball. One family was so upset over losing $10 that they threatened to wait for me at my car and knife me after work. The whole family." (Source)
-- "A Jamaican dude who must have been 6'10 told me he'd kill me because I wouldn't let him on the teacups. There was no room, I told him he could go on the next lot." (Source)
-- "Was running "wac-a-mole" Some guy lost and punched the winner in the throat. Called security and he was kicked out, and they gave the winner some free stuff to apologize." (Source)"
"I worked at Disney several years ago. One job I had was working with the various characters, and let me tell you what, people lost their freaking minds over the characters. I was threatened, screamed at, followed, called names, spat at, all manner of rude things for either taking the character away or not letting people cut the line.
But the one that always comes to mind is one mother. We did allow Make-A-Wish kids to cut the line and meet the characters first (for obvious reasons). One time when I did this, the mother got very angry and said: 'I wish my kids had cancer so they could cut the line!'
I had no response except to pray the poor Make-A-Wish family hadn't heard her."
"Worked on a ride that had a height requirement. One of only a few in the park. This ride had flight simulators that were no joke. They could go completely vertical and if the harness didn't hold you correctly, you could have a less-than-ideal riding experience.
There was a woman and her child who tried to come in- the child was too short. We explain this, give the kid a pass to jump to the front of the line when he's tall enough, and he's fine. Mother, however, was not. She's freaking out at us immediately. To be honest, I wasn't really listening to what she said, but she wouldn't go away and was causing a huge disturbance. We call the manager on duty. She does the same thing to him. It's at this point that she says the one thing I remember.
'Are you telling me you care more about my child's safety than if he has a good time or not?!'
My manager looks stunned, but responds quite calmly, 'Yes, and, quite frankly, it concerns me that you don't.'
After that, she left. Adults are far, far worse than children in amusement parks."
"Was working one of the kiddie rides one day, and this stupid kid in line stuck his head between the bars of the gate. It took me and 2 other adults to pull the bars enough for the kid to get his head back out. Afterwards, the kid's mom comes running over and starts yelling at me for letting him get his head stuck. I told her that she should have been with the kid in line. She did not like that response. She stood there yelling at me for a good 5 minutes, claiming that I'm irresponsible and should not be allowed to work the kid rides. I called a manager over on the radio and he took a 'formal complaint' from her writing down what she was saying in his notebook. After the lady left he showed me his notebook, and there was a drawing of a dragon eating her and her kid."
"I used to work at the African Lion Safari (a zoo/ theme park in Ontario, Canada).
I worked at the elephant ride where we had 3 Asian elephants that would walk around in a circle and guests could ride them/ pose for photographs etc. It was a really popular thing for visitors to do and there was often a long line up especially on weekends or holidays.
Part of my job was to determine which groups of people would ride what elephant and to balance the weights. For example, if an elephant could carry 500-600lbs, that might mean 5-6 kids or 2-4 adults (depending on their size). Also to keep the line moving we would have to put groups of people who weren't together like 2 couples together or 3 kids with a couple etc. We would then have to help people on and off the elephants as quickly as possible. Oh and we also had to catch the elephant shit and piss in a bucket so it wouldn't ruin the grass.
Anyway, people hated it when they were grouped with strangers and then I would have to explain why this is done. Ie. to keep the line moving, to reduce how much the elephants work etc... People always wanted to ride alone for the photo ops, but management was very strict and if you let one person go alone, EVERYONE in line saw and would want the same treatment which would extend wait times by hours. Also we didn't get go home till the of the line was finished.
So I had this couple come and ask to ride alone, I went through my usual reasons why that wasn't going to happen, and suggested she come back later when the line is shorter. The woman starts throwing a fit and refuses to get on the elephant, so we put the next couple on instead, again got to keep that line moving. I then explain that she either gets on the next elephant or goes and gets a refund for her ticket. The next elephant comes and she again refuses to get on and starts blocking the platform saying how she came all the way from Italy to do this and wasn't taking no for an answer. By this point she is 100% blocking the line and the elephants are backed up and people are waiting to get off. But I can't cave and let her on or my life for the next few hours is going to be a living hell because the elephant trainers/ management will be mad, and everyone in line will want to go alone/ only with their family.
She then points to a couple that are riding the elephant alone. This couple is over-weight (together, probably about 500-550lbs) and now within earshot as the elephants are all close to the platform. And she's yelling at me asking me to explain why the clearly over-weight and now embarrassed couple gets to go alone and her and her boyfriend don't. At this point everyone is looking at us, the elephant trainers, people waiting in line and the people waiting to get off the elephant.
I have zero patience left. So I tell her she no longer has the option of riding the elephant, and that she needs to go get a refund. She starts flipping out even more telling me I'm a terrible ambassador for this country, how I'm an embarrassment to the country and to the park, and how she's going to get me fired. So I say, 'okay, go get me fired, go tell management, just get off my platform.' She STILL refused to leave so I told her I was going to call security (which I didn't have the authority to do, but she didn't know that). Only after that did she leave. BUT she came back a few hours later to yell at my co-worker and one of the elephant trainers."
"Worked Disneyland on New Years Eve 1997. I was a busboy at Riverbelle Terrace. The place was packed. Not a seat to be had. There were, however, some open seats at The Golden Horseshoe, which was maybe 100 yards away. We were told to direct people over there.
This woman towing 3 kids and an elderly man comes up, holds out a $20 and says 'Find me a seat.' I let her know that we can't take tips and even if I could, there were simply no seats to be had. However, there are seats at the Golden Horseshoe and I showed her where that was. She screams 'Oh come on! No seats. That's ridiculous! You want me to walk a mile just to sit down?' I told her that I was sorry but I would keep an eye out for seats and let her know when a table opened up
Fast forward 20 minutes. I find her and her party of basically squatted on the edge of one of the planters to eat. Whatever, I don't care. I see their trays next to them with empty plates. I ask if I can take them. 'Yeah,' she says, 'glad to see you can do something! Take it away, trash man.' I smile and take them away. Five minutes later, she's complaining to my manager that I took their trays without asking and that they were still eating. He refunded their money. I went to him after to plead my case. He just laughed and said 'Don't even sweat it. New Years is hell. Just survive the night. It was cheaper to refund her than to have her waste more cast member time. Shake it off. It's not you who is the problem.'
Last NYE I ever worked there."
"When I was in high school I was a face painter at a weekend festival involving a blue colored train who has adventures.
Obviously we were just doing little trains on the kid's cheeks. However one child threw a huge fit that he wanted his face to look just like Thomas the Tank Engine. Which frankly looks really freaking creepy. However his dad insisted and paid extra.
Cue to five minutes after I spend 15 minutes carefully painting this kid's face to have his psychotic mom go ballistic on me that I've ruined her family's day and now her child looks like a demon.
I was 16 and just sort of stared at her in shock and horror while the guy running the tent came over and escorted her out."
"I worked in the kiddie area of one of the SeaWorld parks. There was a little coaster there called the Shamu Express, which you had to be 38 inches tall to ride. This crusty man came up with his baby- had to be like 18 months old, in a diaper- wanting to ride. Went off on me when I said she couldn't. Almost comically he picked her up and held her against the 38-inch sign, feet dangling in the air, trying to make it look like this baby was as tall as a four-year-old. He started making fun of me, read my name tag and made fun of my name as he stormed off."
"I worked at the guest service office in a theme park for a little while, which basically meant we either answered basic questions or had to listen to complaints. Well, this one day this couple came in with their baby in a stroller. They were complaining that our employees were not allowing them to leave their baby in stroller parking while they rode the rides. Keep in mind that wait times for some rides can be several hours and it was pretty hot that day. So we calmly described to them that it was a safety issue for their child, that someone could take their child, and that in general the stroller parking area was not monitored. We then let them know that we had a child pass system, which would allow one parent to ride, while the other waited with the child and then allow the next parent front of line access, while the other parent waited with the child. They said that was not good enough for them as they came to the park because they wanted to ride together, and that if they were not able to ride together then they wanted a refund. So, we look up their ticket and saw that they had been in the park for six hours at that point. Our answer was no. Then, more back and forth about how we could not allow them to leave their child in an unattended in a stroller or give them a refund. Eventually, they just left. They didn't really yell or anything, but it was just one of those moments where afterward you sit and ask yourself if it really just happened."
"Former ride op here, I've had many instances of adults having meltdowns over safety procedures being an inconvenience to their 'best day ever' experience (I've been spat on, screamed at, threatened, you know the works). I have to say over the 3 years I worked at my coaster, the worst was during the first week of my second year. So the coaster that I worked at had the tallest height requirement in the park, meaning we had a lot of families coming through with 'parent swap' cards that let one parent wait in the line while the other waits at the exit of the ride with the kid who's not tall enough to ride. Parent 1 rides, trades spots with parent 2 who rides the next cycle when parent 1 gets back. So I had two mothers standing with their strollers in the exit, while dads are waiting in line. They point out their husbands, and I tell them I'll save 2 seats for them on the next train, and then ask a fellow op that's separating people into rows to hold 2 seats on the next train. So the train pulls in, and fellow op has forgotten to save 2 seats for these moms. The people sitting in the seats meant to be saved are buckled in, and I ask them if they can step back into the queue and wait for the next train, as these two moms were waiting in line in front of them at the exit. People on train start screaming at me that they've been waiting in the sun for 2 hours and they aren't getting off, moms are standing next to me screaming that they've been waiting for longer and those are our seats get out. I ask the people on the train again to please step back into the queue and the next train will be here in 5 minutes and attempt to explain the parent swap process again when one of them stands up and full on slaps me in the face. She yells something about me being a 16-year old on a power trip (I was 19 at the time), says she doesn't want to ride the ride anyways and stalks off down the exit, friend in tow. Moms get on the ride, we sent the cycle, and my supervisor provided a bag of ice for my face."
"Back in the day, I worked at Universal Studios Hollywood for a summer as a ride operator/seasonal lead on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. We had a disabled guest waiting to ride, and because we needed to add a special boat to the queue, then get the guest loaded and situated, we'd have to stop the boats from moving. Basically, we'd stop the lifts, and let the boats queue up at those points until we were ready to cycle again. Some lunkheads weren't happy about this, and pulled his kid out of the boat, set him on the platform next to the boat and sent him to use the emergency phone to ask how long it was going to take. At that point, we'd been stopped about 3 minutes. I was working the master dispatch board inside the main control room when the phone rang. I remember hearing the lead who answered the phone saying 'where are you?' then 'Oh, NO!' She hit the emergency stop, and back then, the rule was that leads stayed at the post they were at if the ride went down until the ride came back up. We evacuated the ride, then sat for FIVE HOURS, waiting for everything to reset so that we could reopen. The idiot that caused the shutdown? Escorted to the front gate, his annual passes revoked, and a ban from the park that just might still be in effect to this day."
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