Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tales From The Parks....

We're unveiling a new feature here at Coaster called "Tales From The Parks". It's a chance for all of us to share funny, interesting, weird, shocking, gross or strange stories from our visits to the theme parks.

We've started a new forum topic where you can add your stories. Some of the best ones will be featured on the blog. I'll get us started.....

A few years ago, I was at a park standing in line for a slightly intense roller coaster. In front of me, was a family of four...a father, mother and two young kids. The older daughter must have been 12 and the younger son was probably seven or eight.

It was obvious that the son wasn't interested in riding. He was begging and pleading with his father to leave the line. But the father wasn't having any of it. He kept telling the son to "grow a pair" and to "chill out".

As we moved along farther in the line, the son really started to melt down. At first it was a few tears, then a few sobs and it finally escalated into a full-on panic attack.

Here's where the world-class parenting began. The father grabbed his son, turned him squarely towards me and said: "You're making that man angry. If you don't shut up, he's going to beat you up!"

The kid stopped crying, but he looked at me like I was the friggin' Terminator. Any fear he had for the ride was totally replaced by fear of me. What was worse is that the father was making eye contact with me. I could tell that he wanted me to do something to confirm the threat to his son.

I wasn't in the mood to play his game. In fact, I was pretty disgusted by the whole scene. So I looked at the kid and said, "Don't worry. I'm not sure why your dad said that, but I really don't care if you ride or not. In fact, there's an exit right up here where you can get out of line if you want."

The kid seemed relieved, but his dad was angry... at me. He said "thanks a lot a--hole" in his most sarcastic voice.

Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable 10 minutes until we reached the ride platform. Once we got there, the kid and his mom walked through and didn't ride.

But I've always wondered what the situation would have been like if I had "played along" and become a menacing threat to make this kid ride the coaster. I've also wondered if that father has used the same tactic since.

It's like Keanu Reeves once said in the movie "Parenthood":

"You need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any a--hole be a father."

Talk About This In The Forums.

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