One father in Illinois is speaking out against a local waterpark after he claimed his daughter was publicly weighed and embarrassed before being turned away from a ride.
Andrew Batton spoke to KMOV, a local television station in St. Louis, Missouri, about the incident, which occurred at Raging Rivers Waterpark in Grafton, Illinois. Batton, who is a season ticket holder, said that his 13-year-old daughter was looking forward to riding the newest ride called the Mississippi Monster, but when she got to the top of the hill, the teenager was weighed on a scale in front of everybody because the ride had a weight limit of 200 pounds.
“The guy looked at us and to my daughter and said, ‘You need to step on the scale,’” Batton recalled, adding, “She steps on the scale and she’s 205.”
In a statement to the outlet, Jimmy Holmes, a spokesperson for Raging Rivers Waterpark said, “Our goal is never to embarrass anyone, but we must look out for their safety while visiting Raging Rivers. Raging Rivers takes an abundance of precautions to ensure the safety of our guests while enjoying our slides and attractions.”
“The new Mississippi Monster Slide has a max weight limit of 200 lbs per rider,” the statement continued. “Signage is located at the base of the slide, alerting guests of this restriction. In addition, there is a scale that all guests who choose to ride the attraction must step on to ensure they meet the safety requirements for the ride. We will continue to follow manufacturer guidelines for safety while offering our guests a fun experience at Raging Rivers Waterpark.”
Batton, however, said there were no visible signs or indications on social media communicating that there was a weight limit on that particular ride. He explained, “I was like, ‘There’s nothing on the media about that. Was this posted anywhere? He was like, ‘No. We’ve had some people getting hurt so we’re limiting the weight on the ride.’”
While it was disappointing for his daughter to not be able to ride the new Mississippi Monster ride, Batton said it was worse to endure the “public humiliation of being asked to step on a scale,” adding, “Then further than that, being told that you’re overweight.”
“Tears wound up in her eyes,” Batton said. “We as parents now have to undo the emotional damage that this corporate company caused us.”
Batton also expressed his disappointment with the waterpark in a viral post on Facebook, which was shared by KMOV.
“Let’s leave out the amazingly damaging psychological impact of forcing a young woman to publicly weigh herself, but to have to see my daughters face eyes welling up with tears as she was turned away for being FIVE POUNDS OVER!” Batton wrote in the post, according to the outlet. “The employee was extremely upset as well and explained that this scene has been playing out all day and many people had been upset/surprised by the restriction.”
Batton said that he was questioning why there wasn’t signage about the weight limit at the bottom of the hill of the ride or publicized around the opening of the ride, noting that it would “prevent people from having to subject themselves to public humiliation.”
“Raging rivers has been such a source of joy for my daughter throughout her childhood to have such an amazingly awful experience today has saddened me beyond words as well as negativity impacted my daughter in a way that I am sure we are going to be discussing in therapy for years to come,” he said. “And all over 5 pounds!”
Raging Rivers Waterpark told the outlet that there would be new water tubes arriving for the Mississippi Monster ride, which will increase the weight capacity in the future.