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Man without hands not allowed to ride roller coaster- should he be?

Posted by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 6:44 AM
  • 5 Replies

A North Texas man said Six Flags Over Texas staff told him he couldn't ride the park's roller coasters because he does not have hands.

Michael Green said he waited in line for an hour Friday only to be told he could not ride the Texas Giant.

"I'm very furious, sir," he said. "This is the first time this has ever happened to me."

Green, who lost his hands when his home caught fire when he was 15 months old, said he has learned to live without them.

"[I can do] everything except tie my shoes. I can cook. I can drive. I can clean. I can go to school. I can write with my hand. I can type on the computer about 35, 40 words per minute," he said.

After park staff at the Texas Giant would not allow him on the roller coaster, Green went to guest relations, where he was told that he couldn't ride anything.

"I always get stared at a lot, but I never get discriminated -- people telling me that I can't do something when they don't even know what I can do," he said.

Green said he tried to explain to park employees that he had been to Six Flags Over Texas dozens of times as a child and rode everything. He also said he told staff that he even climbs walls and zip-lines at camp.

"I just tried to make my case and explain what the situation was, and they wouldn't have it at all," he said.

A Six Flags Over Texas spokesperson declined speak with NBC 5 on camera. Instead, the representative said in a statement:

"Our disability policies include ride manufacturers' guidelines and the requirements of the federal American Disabilities Act. Our policies are customized by ride and developed for the safety and well-being of our guests. Our policies and procedures are reviewed and adjusted from time to time to ensure we continue to accommodate the needs of our guests while simultaneously maintaining a safe environment. "

Green said all he wants is to ride.

"I thought I was normal, and then I get treated like I am not, like I'm an outsider again -- and that's the worst feeling in the world, to feel like an outsider," he said.

An attorney for a Texas disability rights group said safety can be a reason not to allow someone to participate but that each case must be judged separately.

"State law and federal law require that an individual assessment be done," said Susan Motley, supervising attorney for Disability Rights Texas.

Motley questioned whether hands are necessary to ride a roller coaster.

"There are plenty of kids who wave their arms in the air and they never hold on, so why it's more of a risk for him to ride it with no hands than children who hold their hands up -- even though that's discouraged -- I don't understand that justification," she said.

by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 6:44 AM
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Replies (1-5):
liveforever
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Hmm...thats a tough one. I mean they have safety rules in place for a reason. On the other hand they do bring up a good point. A lot of people ride with their hands in the air...and if the coasters have the proper restraints, I dont see how it could harm him.

tabs852
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:37 PM
Agree

Quoting liveforever:

Hmm...thats a tough one. I mean they have safety rules in place for a reason. On the other hand they do bring up a good point. A lot of people ride with their hands in the air...and if the coasters have the proper restraints, I dont see how it could harm him.

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Queenfeld
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

My Nephew was born with one partial arm, he's 25 yrs.old now. When he was growing up we always bought season passes and he rode every ride they have at Six Flags, never had any trouble. He was born without an arm, it isnt a handicap for him. When your born you LEARN how to use two arms, he learned to use one arm instead of two. He can and does do any and everything anyone else can do, including tying his shoes. He played first base growing up and was the best first baseman you'd ever see! After riding all the Six flags rides for years and years at the age of 24 he stood in line close to 2 hours to ride the Mr.Freeze roller coaster, just as he was starting to board the coaster he was told he had to have two hands to ride that ride. Isn't that funny that just the week before he didn't have to have two hands. I honestly hope that this guy above brings on a class action Law suit and that my Nephew can join in on it.

elasmimi
by on Jun. 21, 2012 at 7:52 AM

I think it is very unfair.

Jessica020410
by on Jun. 21, 2012 at 6:39 PM

I'm on the fence with this one.

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