Going to a theme park is a joyous occasion. Working at a theme park, however, is hardly as much fun. Theme park employees on Reddit have seen some serious stuff go down while at work. Their stories will make you seriously reconsider special family vacations to the water park.
And if you thought certain carnival rides were scary, you should prepare to learn about the horrible things that can happen at theme parks.
A Parent Pulls A Knife On A Worker
From Redditor /u/okiewxchaser:
Operated rides for four years. Two moments stand out. The scariest moment I had was when lightning struck a utility pole below me (my position on the ride was about 50 feet up) knocking out power to my ride, and forcing me and my supervisors to unload the ride in the middle of a lightning storm.
The second was a guy who was very upset that I wouldn't let his kid who was a foot under the height requirement ride. I told him no early in the day, but one of my coworkers let the kid ride while I was on break. The family comes up later and the father who was noticeably drunk, jumps two gates and over the tracks to threaten me with a knife. I called security and he ran.
An Irate Kid Punches A Worker In The Nether Regions
From Redditor /u/AhrmiintheUnseen:
I used to work at a small water park where there were some dry rides up the southern end. There was this eight-year-old kid just being a little sh*t - pushing in line, climbing up the slide of the playground, knocking other kids' hats off, that sort of bullsh*t. I warn him several times then ask him to leave, but he doesn't. I go and ask my supervisor what to do and he says, "Get the scissors." He means to cut his wristband, without which he can't go on any rides.
I call him over, and he surprisingly complies, and before he can react, I grab his wrist and cut off his wristband. Naturally, he starts crying like a b*tch. He runs off to get his mum, and she comes back about 15 minutes later and comes and talks to me (without her son). She asks why I did what I did, and I explain the situation to her, and how it is standard procedure. She nods and understands, and knows that her son is a demon-child.
She leaves, but, lo and behold, 10 minutes later, here he comes. He tries to cut in line again and I stop him, and ask him to go back to his mum. His first reaction was to punch me in the balls. Oh sh*t, no he didn't.
My supervisor sees and immediately calls security. Apparently his mum saw, too, and she comes running. She doesn't say anything to her child, but goes and tells the supervisor to "scare" him. When security arrives (30 seconds later) they grab the kid, whirl him around and handcuff him. He's sh*tting himself at this point. They grab him and take him off in their golf cart.
A few minutes later they return and the kid has obviously been crying... hard. He jumps out of the cart and runs straight to his mum, who grabs him and walks out. People watching were stunned, but amazingly, and I sh*t you not, some applauded as they went off. Best day of work I had at that place.
Passengers Puke On Each Other During A Faulty Ride
From Redditor /u/monkeedude1212:
My horror story involved working the Ocean Motion, you know - the swinging boat ride...
Anyways. So the Ocean Motion is going, doing its thing, swinging back and forth. It's pretty full and the line-up is pretty solid. When all of a sudden I hear a POP and tons of this black, inky fluid sprays right up through the center of the ride while the boat is in mid-swing. I hit the emergency stop button, but the ride isn't stopping. Of course, when the boat is in its downswing, all that black fluid comes falling down on the ride passengers.
At this point, I'm a teenager mashing the stop the button... The boat is still swinging. Then I notice that the wheel that's usually used for braking and slowing the boat down isn't raised at all. So of course it's not going to stop. I immediately piece together that it was likely hydraulic fluid that went up, a hose must have come off or cracked or something.
So I grab the phone and call security, as is procedure. Usually you call when you have to close the ride for a few minutes for any reason, usually kids' sickness. They just log it and the day goes on as normal. So I call security and I'm like, "Send everybody."
And they're like, "What?"
And I was like, "Mechanics. Managers. Maybe even paramedics. The Ocean Motion just spewed oil or something all over the passengers and won't stop. It literally won't stop."
Of course, the Ocean Motion is on the farthest end of the park, so even with people rushing, it takes them a few minutes to get here.
And you guys know how a pendulum works, conservation of momentum and all that? The Ocean Motion was at peak swing and it just keeps on swinging. By the time I hung up the phone, everyone in line figured out what was going on and just noped the f*ck out of there.
Here's where it gets really f*cking gross. Imagine you're... on the Ocean Motion for the first time. Due to some unexpected failure you've got hydraulic fluid in your face creating an awful stench. Not to mention it's at full-swing for well over five minutes. You want to get off and you're feeling sick, so you can't. So what happens involuntarily? You throw up. Of course, you're on the middle of the Ocean Motion still in full-swing so the vomit goes everywhere, on pretty much everyone in front of you. On their heads, in their faces - gross.
Now imagine you're in the exact same situation and someone just vomited on your face. How could you hold it in at that point? MORE people start vomiting. This cascading chain of reaction caused like five people to vomit all over each other. The managers and mechanics and medics get there... At this point there [are] very few options: No one wants to go under the boat and do repairs because the thing is still swinging wildly.
Plus, stopping the boat should be the primary concern. So they basically position people at either end of the ride, waiting for it to swing by, then when it was at the peak of its swing, try and grab it and put some friction on it before letting go, to steal a bit of its momentum. It took another good seven or eight minutes to actually get the boat stopped and people off the ride.
I know the managers tried everything: full refund, offered them literally anything in the store, dry cleaning for all the clothes, any number of things. It didn't stop the lawsuits, but I believe there were some rather large out-of-court settlements.
I worked the rest of that summer, but I've never gone there as a patron since.
A Guy Falls 70 Feet And Uses A Wheelchair Permanently
From Redditor /u/longbeachguy:
I was just about 17. I was on lifeguard duty at the top of Drop Out (Drop Out was our huge slide that went up about 70 or so feet and [slid] straight down - no twists or turns - just straight down into a shallow slip of water.
I'm doing my thing, telling people to lie down and cross their arms across their chest so I could gently nudge them over the edge. It didn't take much for me to slide them over - literally a slight tug was all it took.
Mid-shift, out of nowhere, a group of 20-somethings [gets] to the front of the line - must have been about four guys, maybe a girl, too. The one alpha guy of the pack tells me, "Hey, let me slide myself off."
And before I could say anything (I was told by lawyers that witnesses heard me yell at him to, "Get down!"), he hoists himself up on top of the horizontal platform of the slide (where one's supposed to lay down so I can slide them down) and takes a f*cking running hop over the ledge. I think what he was trying to do was a cannonball and land with his back against the slide. That's my theory.
Like they say when something bad happens, everything was in slow-motion.
The guy got lots of air, I don't think he realized that the drop is almost 90 degrees down. In mid-air, he tried to self-correct his jump, his arms and legs wildly trying to feel for anything to grab on to. It never happened. Thinking about it as I write this, it was sort of like Wile E. Coyote when he runs off a cliff, and for a split second or two, he hangs there in the air realizing he's f*cked.
Somehow, he free-fell between both slides (Drop Out has two identical slides about two feet apart) and hit every iron crossbar that held up the seven-story deck...
He lands at the base of the slide with just about every bone in his body broken, compound fractures everywhere. He ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and settled for about a 10th of what he tried to sue for. Yep, the [jerk] tried to sue the park and me.
Luckily, there were dozens of witnesses who saw and heard me yelling at the guy to get off the slide. It was also passed along to me by one of the managers later that he was royally loaded out out his mind.