Carnival Worker 'Humiliated' Blind Girl, Mom Says

Actions may violate Department of Labor requirements

Kailee Freitag
Getty ImagesLisa Freitag and her seven-year-old daughter, Kailie.

A Long Island carnival might as well have appended their obligatory "must be this tall to ride" sign with "also, you can't be a blind person," when one employee refused to let a seven-year-old girl enjoy a ride because she's unable to see.

Lisa Freitag and her young daughter Kailie were enjoying a day at the St. Brigid's School Festival in Westbury, Long Island until the operator of the spinning swing ride told them that Kailie was prohibited from getting on without an adult due to her "medical condition." Kailie, whose retinas detached shortly after she was born, is blind and walks with a cane--although that hasn't stopped her from enjoying similar rides at Disney World.

"I don't consider blindness to be a medical condition to preclude her from going on the ride," Freitag told the New York Daily News. "They were discriminating against her because she's blind. It's not like she has a bad back or is going to have a heart attack or something."

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A lengthy-confrontation ensued between Freitag and the unnamed employee, during which the Queens mom said she came close to punching the man. Meanwhile, the children already on the ride waited motionlessly until Freitag finally phoned 911. The employee then cleared the ride so Kailie could get on by herself for a single spin, a scene Freitag described as humiliating.

"She was really upset," she said. "She knew that all of the other kids were being taken off the ride. It was the saddest thing to watch."

While the Department of Labor requires ride operators to accommodate people with disabilities, Big Ben's Midway (which supplied the rides at the festival) provided a sign saying that children with medical conditions must be accompanied by an adult. The company has declined to comment, but Kailie, who also spoke to the Daily News, described the offending employee as "not a nice man."

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I'm not trying to be a smart a$%#....but why is the blind girl wearing glasses?

July 30 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This mom was being absurd. The ride operator was simply acting in everyone's best interests by avoiding a clearly risky situation. DIscrimination my @$$.

July 02 2014 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The police were never called and were never at the carnival. Don't always believe what the news writes.

July 02 2014 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Type your comment The police were never called and were never at the carnival. Don't always believe what you read.

July 02 2014 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Before anyone else posts "the mother should have just gotten on the ride"....... PLEASE KNOW WHAT KIND OF RIDE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!! It's a swing, with a harness. It's not made for 2 people!! The mother would have been in the next swing over!!! They could not have ridden together!!!!!!! And the child did just fine riding on her own when the carni let her. Did no one read the entire article???? There was no harm. There was no danger. The carni was stupid and dumb and the mother over reacted by calling 911 but who knows what else might have happened in her day prior to this event....... who knows what else happened in his day prior to this event? The kid just wanted to ride just like any other kid. Maybe all of the riders should have had medical exams before the ride was started. Maybe one of the "normal" kids had a heart murmur that was not yet diagnosed. Would you be blaming his parents for letting him go on the ride?

July 02 2014 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why didn't the mother just ride with her? While I believe that people with disabilities should have full rights, and opportunities as the rest of us, when their is a child with a disability some things they just can't do by themselves, I know that sounds cruel, but what if something bad happens, what if she tripped, or got hurt? All children get excited at carnivals, and so would this blind girl, so anything could happen just by walking from the gate to the ride, then what? Then we would be saying why did they let a blind child go on the ride without her parents. When the girl is 18 than let her do what she wants, until then if it is something dangerous, needs to be supervised.

July 02 2014 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought people with disabilities wanted to be treated like everyone else. Looks to me like she was.
911 hahaha you can't get a repsonse when there is crime happening.

July 02 2014 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If this mother called 911 she should pay a $10,000 fine!

The ride operator was avoiding a potential safety hazard and lawsuit.

July 02 2014 at 4:59 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to carter.joe38305's comment

Avoid lawsuits at any cost!!! Ban all deaf people.... they can't hear the instructions. Ban all fat people... harnesses won't fit properly. Ban all people with long legs... they may kick the kid in the swing in front of them while twirling around. Ban all riders!!! No one knows the life span of those harnesses, one could break at any time and someone's perfect little "normal" kid could fall and break every bone in his body. And then the parent of the "normal" kid of course would never consider suing. It's only the parents of disabled kids who clog the court houses with such nonsense. Shut down the whole damn carnival. Every ride is dangerous and a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

July 02 2014 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to amonlawfirm's comment

thank you!

July 02 2014 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

"........ the children already on the ride waited motionlessly until Freitag finally phoned 911"

She called 911 to emergency of life or limb?

This moronic mother needs to do a fact check and step back instead of making her daughter feel stupid.

July 02 2014 at 4:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

When I worked at a skating rink a school for the blind had an outing. I was assured that they could hear and "feel" the concrete wall at the end of the rink. They couldn't. It waqs like a bird flying into a plate glass window.
as much as we would like to think that the handicapped can do anything anyone else can, sometimes they can't. In the immortal words of the great philosopher Clint Eastwood: a man's got to know his limitations. Mom going with her would have fixed the problem with no trouble - but mom WANTED trouble.

July 02 2014 at 3:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to BRYANT's comment

I don't understand this Mother. I don't think I would have let my child on some of these rides alone. They can be dangerous for a non handicapped child. Carnival owners stick to a very strict "non-sue" policy. If something were to happen, this Mother would be the first one looking for a lawyer.

July 02 2014 at 3:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kathae's comment

I don't understand you Kathae. You say the ride is dangerous for non-handicapped children. So if the owner really wanted a "non-sue" policy, the ride should be shut down for everyone, because, guess what??? Parents of "normal" kids sue too!!!

July 02 2014 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Mom would not have been able to get on the ride with the child on her lap. Doesn't anyone have any idea what type of ride this is??? It's a swing! The harnesses would not have fit properly. And being harnessed safely into a swing is a lot different than skating into a wall, Unless the carni was going to smack all the kids on the ride into a wall..........

July 02 2014 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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