HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - A Huntington family and staff at Galveston's Pleasure Pier amusement park have two different stories of an incident that has a mother of three crying foul on the park.
Last week, Lauren Tinsley took her three children and rest of her family to Galveston for a vacation. For the first time in the annual tradition, Lauren was excited that her four year-old daughter Honor would get to ride the rides.
"She was excited to go and be a part of it with her older brother," Tinsley said."
Tinsley is your average four year-old. She likes to wear bows and dresses and loves Popsicle. The only difference is she suffers from Spina Bifida and is confined to a wheelchair.
"She is like every kid," Tinsley said. "She likes to go outside and play and pop wheelies in her wheelchair."
Tinsley said when they got to the park, Honor's older brother went off on his own and Tinsley stayed with her daughter.
"We went on the teacups and tried to get on," Tinsley said. "They started saying we had to get off and not get on if she did not walk on her own. They even asked her why she could not walk and if she was sick. Honor said God made me this way. It was humiliating."
Tinsley tries hard to not let Honor think she is not normal.
"Finally it did come down to me saying, 'She just can't,'" Tinsley said. "'She just can't walk right now and it is not something that is going to happen. She flat out told us she couldn't ride the ride."
Tinsley said they tried several rides and got the same treatment.
"On the next ride I had a worker yell at another one across the way in a crowd of people," Tinsley said. "They said, 'I have a child that can't walk. What do I do? Honor just hung her head and started to cry because that limited her."
Tinsley said she spoke with a manager and it did not get any better from there. She claimed to have written the park that night and several times since but has gotten no where.
The park claims they did offer to help Tinsley and Honor and were turned away.
In an email, Mark Kane, Vice President of Landry's Amusement Division said:
Our thrill rides can present safety obstacles to our physically impaired guests. Once our management team was made aware of the potential for a safety concern, we offered for a personal escort to accompany our physically impaired guest on each thrill ride to ensure her safety. Our offer to provide an escort was declined by our guest's mother. Our guests were treated with courtesy and understanding at all times. We have also reached out to the family following their visit to further discuss their experience and what else we could have done to have improved their experience. Our call has not been returned.
Tinsley said an escort was offered but it took over 10 minutes to get help and Honor was physically upset and need medical attention for her condition so they walked away.
"I have not got a call yet," Tinsley said. "If they did call from an unknown number then they have not left a message."
Tinsley is not seeking a refund or anything else from the company other than an apology to her daughter and a promise that staff would not treat Honor or any other child in a wheelchair like that again.
"I paid them for a day of fun and they disrespected and belittled a four year old little girl," Tinsley said. "I just don't want to see this happen again. Honor would never treat them like they did her."