Marine Skewers Six Flags After Being Told He Needs 2 Real Legs To Ride


Johnny “Joey” Jones has given a lot for his country. As a U.S. Marine serving in Afghanistan, Jones has faced some of the toughest and most dangerous conditions on earth… including an IED that took both his legs in 2010.

Eight years later, the veteran lives an active life thanks to his tenacity and two prosthetic legs. Missing two limbs might slow him down, but it certainly hasn’t stopped him.

What did stop the retired Marine combat vet was a ride operator at Six Flags Over Georgia. Despite being just as capable as the other riders at the amusement park, Jones was kicked off of a fully-enclosed “tilt-a-whirl” ride when the employee noticed his two prosthetic legs.

“Jones claimed he has been allowed to ride similar attractions at Universal Studios in the past, and added that an employee made him wait in line before he was told he could not be seated,” Fox News reported.

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Promotional video of the ride that the veteran was prevented from riding — the Harley Quinn Spinsanity attraction — shows that it isn’t particularly extreme, raising questions about why a clearly physically-capable person with prosthetic legs would be excluded.

“Hey Six Flags you really think I’m so physically useless I can’t ride a tilt-a-whirl? Seriously?! Did you see the enormous hill I walked up and down to get here?” the combat vet pointed out on Twitter.

In response, the well-known southern amusement park operator issued an apology, but stood by its decision, citing policy.

“We apologize to Mr. Jones for any inconvenience; however, to ensure safety, guests with certain disabilities are restricted from riding certain rides and attractions,” the company stated, according to Fox.

Do you think Six Flags' policies were overly strict in this case?

“Our policies are customized by ride and developed for the safety of all our guests. Our policies and procedures are reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis to ensure we continue to accommodate the needs of our guests while simultaneously maintaining a safe environment for everyone,” Six Flags gave as its fairly boilerplate reason.

For his part, Jones acknowledged that after he dug into the issue, he did find a Six Flags policy that required guests to have at least one functioning leg to ride the Spinsanity.

The park employee, who was not named, was likely just doing his job by enforcing this policy, but Jones’ objection was about the overly-restrictive regulations to begin with.

Jones encouraged other military veterans to consider spending their money elsewhere.

“A message to all those veterans out there unlucky in their service who now use prosthetics, Sea World, Universal Studios and Disney Parks will literally move (magic) mountains for you,” he posted on Twitter, praising how those amusement parks treat vets.

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“Six Flags will tell you, ‘nah bro, you gotta have two real legs,” he wrote, summarizing what he was told by the ride operator who kicked him off.

It’s worth pointing out that Jones, despite having ample opportunity, never claimed that he was personally discriminated against. He didn’t rush to demand compensation, nor did he rally for a boycott against the amusement park.

What he did do was make the issue public, and point out that the policies may need to be reviewed and updated.

He encouraged veterans to support parks that have good track records with injured servicemen, but that’s hardly different from what any customer does when they leave reviews online or recommend places to their friends.

This entire incident is a good example of how problems can be addressed without playing the victim. The Marine has certainly dealt with much worse.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.