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Not Quite The Ride You Were Expecting

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 19, 2022

I am visiting a major theme park (well before the health crisis) with my uncle, a Vietnam Navy vet with mobility issues, and he is in a wheelchair I am pushing around. We are queued for the latest must-ride attraction that simulates riding a flying creature, and the wait is almost two hours from start to finish.

As the line loops back on itself, a woman well behind us leans over the railing and addresses my uncle, who is wearing a cap with his ship on it.

Woman: “Thank you for your service.”

Uncle: “Thank you.”

Woman: *To me* “Do you need help with that? I’m sure you’re tired from holding that on this hill.”

Me: “Nope, I have it, thanks.”

She turns away, the line moves us apart, and I think that’s the end of it, but a short while later, behind me, I hear:

Woman: “Excuse me, please, I’m with them. Here, let me take that.”

Suddenly, she’s nudging me out of the way to take the handles of the wheelchair, insisting it would be an honor for her to push a veteran’s wheelchair. [Uncle] is craning his neck around trying to see what’s going on as the wheelchair is starting to rock from the struggle, but he isn’t really in a position to do anything but hold on. I’m not a small guy, and I try not to budge, but she’s no slouch, and I really don’t want to get in a physical altercation at the happiest place on Earth. We’re also in a sea of people waiting, so even if there was a staff member in hearing distance, backup getting to us would take time, and the rest of the line is just gawking, confused.

Panic takes over and I end up shouting out a meme:

Me: “That’s my uncle! I don’t know you!”

Somehow, that’s what makes her slink back off to where she was originally. I’m not sure if she was abandoning the rest of her group or the plan was to bring them up once she’d secured her place, but she was only gaining maybe ten or fifteen minutes in the line and was relying way too much on us letting a stranger grab our wheelchair.

On the bright side, when the ride properly starts, my uncle, who has been grumbling for the rest of the time we waited in line, bellows out:

Uncle: “This was worth the wait! This was worth the whole trip!”

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