War & Peace
Double Amputee Afghanistan Veteran Sgt. Stephen Jackel Mistreated by Six Flags Fiesta Texas
A US Army veteran who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan was brought to tears after a humiliating experience at a Texas amusement park.
Sgt. Stephen Jackel was visiting Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio with his 14-year-old daughter when he was stopped by park employees as he attempted to ride the “Boomerang” roller coaster.
Jackel says he disclosed his disability before entering Six Flags and was not told that he couldn’t enjoy rides there. But when he tried to board the coaster, he was told by a ride attendant that he couldn’t do so without at least one fully functioning leg. The wounded warrior uses a pair of prosthetic legs.
When Jackel asked for a refund, he was refused. He was offered replacement tickets, but those would still not allow him to use all of the rides.
The Huffington Post reports Jackel argued with Six Flags management for more than three hours.
“My daughter was there the whole time,” Jackel told KMOV. “It got so frustrating that I broke down in front of her and cried.”
Six Flags eventually offered Jackel a refund.
“We truly appreciate Sgt. Jackel’s service to our country,” Six Flags Fiesta Texas said in a statement. “We were disappointed to learn our accessibility policy was not properly communicated and we hope he and his family will accept our refund and invitation to visit the park again.”
Sgt. Jackel said that while he appreciates the company’s outreach effort, Six Flags has lost a customer for life.
“I and my family will never go to Six Flags again,” he told Fox News.
Jackel, an engineer from the 73rd Engineer Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. In August 2011, while performing security detail for a convoy, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath his vehicle. Jackel saved the lives of his fellow soldiers by extinguishing a fire caused by the blast with his own legs and helping them get out of the burning vehicle. He lost both legs as a result and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
For his extraordinary valor, Sgt. Jackel was awarded the Purple Heart, ARCOM-4 Award for Valor, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, among other honors.