Any private business entity knows the value of word-of-mouth advertising/publicity. Sure , if the experience is good, the average consumer will tell a few people and maybe become a repeat customer. But, if the experience or anything about the place is bad, it is a well known, often quoted fact that the average person will tell a minimum of 10 people, and those people will tell 10 people and on and on…
So, now we have seemingly the whole state of Michigan and half the free world talking about former Marine Joshua Hoffman, a quadriplegic paralyzed by a snipers bullet in Iraq, unable to speak and many are now speaking for him. Hoffman and his 24 hr. care nurse went to the adventure park in Muskegon so he could meet up with his fiance, who was acting as a chaperone for a children’s group. Bottom line is even though it was painfully obvious that with a nurse and a wheelchair, it was highly unlikely he was going to be going on any rides, he was told he had to pay the $25.00 ticket price. Evidently his fiance got into the discussion at the park gate and explained that he was an Iraq vet, couldn’t walk or talk etc. and couldn’t he get in for free?
She was told that no exceptions were allowed and the entrance fee was not based on participation. Another park employee was reported to have said, “we do not have proof of his injuries, he could be faking it.” He was eventually given a student discount after much back and forth. Another park official was reported to have said “If we let him in for free then we have to change our policy.” Duh! How about a flexible policy, you morons. One that might take into account individual circumstances, and/or exceptions that can possibly be approved by a manager on the premises.
The pro and con comments on this issue have been non stop for 24 hours. With some saying he and his fiance had no right to assume he would get in for free and their are plenty of other disabled people who should then also get into the park for free. Others are in favor of allowing a veteran, who has served for us, and our freedom, who served in Iraq and came home with severe disabilities, a free pass into anything. It’s the very least we can do, many say.
I heard today that the park is now offering the couple two free passes to the park. Of course, this was after the story appeared in just about every Michigan paper, countless blogs and even hit the National news. I sure hope the young couple tells Michigan’s Adventure Park where they can put those passes. And for my part, I am going to be busy telling those 10 people, who will tell 10 more…about that missing sensitivity chip in park personnel.