Retired U.S. Marine bomb technician Johnny “Joey” Jones, who lost both legs to an IED while serving in Afghanistan, is calling on Six Flags to treat people who share his condition with “the same care and thoughtfulness” as other park-goers, after he was told he was kicked off a ride for not having “real legs.”
Jones, who walks on two prosthetic legs, further claimed that he’s been permitted on similar rides at theme parks, including Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Disney World without issue.
“They look for a way to accommodate me — not a way to restrict me just because of liability,” Jones said during an appearance on Tuesday’s “Fox and Friends.”
Jones first brought his issue with Six Flags to light on Sunday, telling his Twitter followers he was “just got kicked off” the ride at Six Flags Over Georgia by a teenage employee who noticed his prosthetic legs just as he was about to be seated.
“Nah, bro, you have to have two real legs,” the employee told him, according to Jones’ account on Twitter.
Six Flags issued an apology to Jones on Monday, saying, “We apologize to Mr. Jones for any inconvenience; however, to ensure safety, guests with certain disabilities are restricted from riding certain rides and attractions. Our accessibility policy includes ride safety guidelines and the requirements of the federal American Disabilities Act.
"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."
On Tuesday’s “Fox and Friends,” however, Jones said he took issue with how he was told he couldn’t ride, and furthermore, how the park outlines its ride requirements.
“He didn’t say, ‘You can’t ride this ride, go talk to so-and-so.’ It was, ‘You can’t ride this ride,’ I said ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘Because you don’t have real legs.’” Jones said.
“And then once I left the ride, I researched the policy for every single ride in the park, and literally, I can’t get on a tilt-a-whirl. I’m restricted to pretty much things that don’t move, because of my legs,” added Jones. He also claimed that Six Flags uses different terminology for different rides, meaning that some might require a guest to be “absent of prosthetics” while another might bar anyone who doesn’t have “all arms and legs attached.”
Jones further emphasized that safety features such as lap bars and shoulder harnesses will work “as designed” on his body, suggesting that the same guidelines should not be enforced across the board.
“So my message to Six Flags is, I don’t hate you, I don’t want to tell people not to go there. I want you to apply the same type of care and thoughtfulness that Universal Studios, Disney, SeaWorld, and everywhere else I’ve gone and ridden roller coasters, and done so safely, I want you to apply the same knowledge and expertise that they apply,” he said.
“The only prohibiting factor is if that lap bar or those shoulder harnesses can’t function as designed, and my body will [allow] that.”