The family of a U.S. Marine is outraged after a Michigan amusement park insisted on charging the veteran admission to enter the park — despite his being a quadriplegic -- according to a newspaper report.But even after she explained that Hoffman had been paralyzed in 2007 by a sniper's bullet in Iraq and is unable to speak, let alone go on rides, the park insisted both Hoffman and his nurse could not join her in the park without paying, Lovell told the Press.
Look, Ithink the park was short-sighted for not giving free admission or discounted admission to a man who is paralyzed because of his service to the country.
That being said, however, I do not think - on a general basis - that handicapped should be given free admission to such venues on the argument, "Well, they're not going to go on the rides!" Just as a person's presence in a municipality requires that the city budgets certain amount of services - whether it be water, waste removal, etc. - so to does a person's presence in a park require that the amusement park be prepared to offer similar services. The story reports that he was "meeting up" with his fiancee, who was at the park chaperoning a kids outing. Why didn't he meet her outside the park? Oh, because he and his nurse wanted to enjoy the atmosphere while waiting for the fiancee to finish her work? Well, who pays the gardeners and maintenance staff to make sure it is a pleasant place to sit and relax?
Is this fellow going to bring his own food? He may not go on a ride, but if he purchases a hot dog, then the park still pays the wages to the eprson who cooked the hot dog, the person who served the hot dog, and the person who empties the trash where he threw his used napkin.
It is good PR to accommodate people with special needs, whether with discount prices or, as with Disneyland, the ability to enjoy many of the rides - many a time I have been on the Haunted Mansion ride when it has been stopped to allow the boarding or disembarking of a handicapped visitor.
But I do not think it's fair to expect a free ride. I am not singling out this guy - and I thnak him for his service and, had I been there, I would have popped for his admission - but I have also seen people "abuse" their handicapped status to extremes. Many public venues are required by law to expend extra monies to provide accessibility to the handicapped . . . and that comes at a price, that we should all share in.