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Wounded veteran barred from Fiesta Texas ride due to disability

CNN/KENS
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POSTED: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 5:28pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 5:10pm

What was supposed to be a fun day at Six Flags for a military veteran and his daughter ended when he says he was barred from a ride because of his disability.

Sergeant Stephen Jackel proudly served this country. The Purple Heart recipient lost both his legs in Afghanistan in 2011, so now, he enjoys every moment of his life to the fullest. But when going to Fiesta Texas Wednesday with his 14-year-old daughter, he ran into a different type of obstacle when getting on the "Boomerang" ride.

"She specifically told me you cannot ride this ride without having one functional leg and one functional arm , and that was devastating to me." said Jackel.

The park said its policy is in place to ensure everyone's safety, but Sergeant Jackel, who was wearing shorts, said multiple park employees failed to tell him the policy from the moment he got his tickets at the front, until he was finally on the ride.

Jackel said "I would've walked away and took my daughter a long time ago, since I've been dealing with this all day. I would've went somewhere where my disability -- my physical challenge rather -- is not an issue."

Sergeant Jackel said, to make matters worse, park employees would only offer him complimentary tickets for another day, sometime that he says is useless to him if he can't enjoy all the rides.

At the end of the day he said all he wanted was his money back, and at that point they told him they strayed away from the question and it was a direct question. "My daughter was there throughout the entire time and it got so frustrating that I broke down in front of my daughter and cried, man."

CNN Affiliate KENS Five reached out to Six Flags and received the following response:

"As a first option, we do offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the day and the attractions they are able to experience, and in addition, offer complementary tickets to also visit on another day, now that they know which attractions they may ride. If our guests do not find that option acceptable, then our team can offer a full refund.

We will make sure our new team members are aware of all of these service recovery options so we can continue to take care of our guests" 

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It is unfortunate this vet felt he was being discriminated against, but he is absolutely wrong in his assumption, as park staff was followed a policy that took into consideration HIS safety. Take a good look at the picture of the ride..at the top of the ride the rider is upside down..one needs legs to be able to stabilize as well as to anchor under the restraining bar..without "working" legs, the chance he could slip the restraining bar are too great. He ought to THANK the park for caring!

I remember the super slide at Six Flags. It had a 190 lb. weight limit. My uncle weighed about 205 but he ignored the sign. We both started down the slide and on every dip he flew up about 6" above the slide. I still laugh thinking about the look on his face. The laws of physics don't care about your feelings. The safety standards enforced by the park are there for a reason. Hope he finds lots of other fun things he can enjoy with his kids.

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