Six Flags Doesn't Allow Man Without Hands on Roller Coaster

Man says amusement park discriminated against him

A North Texas man said Six Flags Over Texas staff told him he couldn't ride the park's roller coasters because he does not have hands.

Michael Green said waited in line for an hour Friday only to be told he could not ride the Texas Giant.

"I'm very furious, sir," he said. "This is the first time this has ever happened to me."

Green, who lost his hands when his home caught fire when he was 15 months old, said he has learned to live without them.

"[I can do] everything except tie my shoes. I can cook. I can drive. I can clean. I can go to school. I can write with my hand. I can type on the computer about 35, 40 words per minute," he said.

After park staff at the Texas Giant would not allow him on the roller coaster, Green went to guest relations, where he was told that he couldn't ride anything.

"I always get stared at a lot, but I never get discriminated -- people telling me that I can't do something when they don't even know what I can do," he said.

Green said he tried to explain to park employees that he had been to Six Flags Over Texas dozens of times as a child and had rode everything. He also said he told staff that he even climbs walls and zip-lines at camp.

"I just tried to make my case and explain what the situation was, and they wouldn't have it at all," he said.

A Six Flags Over Texas spokesperson declined speak with NBC 5 on camera. Instead, the representative said in a statement:

"Our disability policies include ride manufacturers' guidelines and the requirements of the federal American Disabilities Act. Our policies are customized by ride and developed for the safety and well-being of our guests. Our policies and procedures are reviewed and adjusted from time to time to ensure we continue to accommodate the needs of our guests while simultaneously maintaining a safe environment. "

Green said all he wants is to ride.

"I thought I was normal, and then I get treated like I am not, like I'm an outsider again -- and that's the worst feeling in the world, to feel like an outsider," he said.

An attorney for a Texas disability rights group said safety can be a reason not to allow someone to participate but that each case must be judged separately.

"State law and federal law require that an individual assessment be done," said Susan Motley, supervising attorney for Disability Rights Texas.

Motley questioned whether hands are necessary to ride a roller coaster.

"There are plenty of kids who wave their arms in the air and they never hold on, so why it's more of a risk for him to ride it with no hands than children who hold their hands up -- even though that's discouraged -- I don't understand that justification," she said.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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