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.
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