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A Rollercoaster Of Emotions That Day

, , , , , | Right | January 3, 2020

I have a summer job at an amusement park. I run the controls for an older rollercoaster. It is a normal day; a train has just come in full of guests and I release the locks on the seats so they can get off. As new passengers load, I realize the computer screen has gone to the dreaded “blue screen of death.”

The computer is locked in a cabinet, and I have never had this issue before, so I make an announcement and pull the switch that manually cuts power off to the ride. Then, I make a quick call to maintenance over the walkie talkie. Meanwhile, a group of guests gets upset that the ride is being cut off, refuses to leave the train and go back in line, and have started yelling at and pushing my coworkers. I step out to try to get the other guests away from them. Over the screaming and fighting, I don’t hear maintenance responding on the walkie talkie.

We are still trying to deal with the fight, calm screaming guests, and get other guests away from them when we look over and see several maintenance workers rushing up the path, along with managers, security, and first aid. There is a confused moment where we think they are here to help stop the fight, and they seem panicked and are asking weird questions.

It takes a minute for the misunderstanding to come out. My walkie talkie message, “The rollercoaster’s computer crashed; we need maintenance,” somehow was heard by everyone as just, “The rollercoaster crashed,” with a background of screaming, and no further response. They thought they were dealing with a much different scenario!

Thankfully, security was able to deal with the fighting guests, and we had high-up witnesses to their behavior resulting in a lifetime ban for the fighters. The computer was a simple reboot and maintenance had it running again in fifteen minutes. And, all ride operators were coached to say, “The computer has an error,” from that point on.

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