A Man is Suing Six Flags After Getting Booted Off the Aquaman Ride for Not Having Hands

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Clint Bench was born with with a congenital deformity that prevented his arms from fully forming. That didn't stop him from going to college, getting married, having children or from riding roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas. He's done pretty much all of them: Batman, the Texas Giant, the Flashback, you name it. His limbs had never been an issue. Not much is, actually: He can do pullups, fire a gun and go mountain biking, for Christ's sake.

Then, last May, he got on the Aquaman Splashdown ride, a Six Flags standby in which a boat plummets down a two-story decline before sending up a wall of water that soaks riders and the onlookers on the bridge below. It used to be called something generic before it was renamed for a second-tier DC Comics character.

There's nothing particularly dangerous about Aquaman compared with the amusement park's other attractions, certainly nothing Bench couldn't handle, but nevertheless, a Six Flag employee asked Bench to get off the ride.

"She told him that he could not ride Aquaman because he does not have hands," according to a lawsuit filed Bench filed yesterday. "This caused Mr. Bench considerable embarrassment, as his children had never seen anybody discriminate against him due to his lack of natural hands."

When he complained to management, he was told that Six Flags policy dictates that riders "must have at least one fully formed arm all the way down to the fingers."

But that wasn't exactly true, at least not until four months later, when Six Flags published an updated riders' guide explicitly stating that riders "must have one full arm" to ride Aquaman. The old policy said only that a rider has to be able to grasp, which Bench can do just fine.

Bench claims discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Six Flags doesn't, after all, kick people off rides who, "for extra thrill or in a silly display of bravado," keep their hands in the air.

Bench is asking for unspecified damages for suffering and mental anguish. And he still wants to ride Aquaman, goddammit.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.