Mum of disabled toddler in row with Milton Keynes theme park over admission 'humiliation'

The mum of a disabled three-year-old says she was left  'humiliated' by staff at a theme park when they argued with her about the height of her wheelchair-bound son.

Wednesday, 9th August 2017, 6:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:28 am
Sophie Figg with her disabled son Harrison

Sophie Figg, 24, says the row was over whether her son Harrison could enter Gulliver’s Land, in Newlands, for free.

The Bletchley-based mum claims she had to hang her son against a wall to measure him, as little Harrison cannot stand up due to his disability.

Gulliver’s Land has disputed the course of the events, but has invited Sophie to a meeting to discuss their ‘commitment to equality’.

Harrison suffers from septo-optic dysplasia, which means he is blind and unable to stand because of development abnormalities.

Sophie told the Citizen: “We went with my sister, her two children, and a friend.

“My sister’s two children went in and were under 90cm,but the girl behind the desk then asked us to measure Harrison.

“Eventually I had to hang him up against this wall, but they still didn’t seem satisfied because he couldn’t stand up all the way.

“Eventually the area manager came down to the gates, and after about an hour we were let in.

“My son doesn’t really know what’s going on, but I felt humiliated in front of everyone else.”

Sophie has now set up an online petition calling for staff to receive better training.

Gulliver’s disputed the turn of events, and said: “We understand that when Sophie requested an adult ticket and one child under 90cm. The admission staff, who were unaware of Harrison’s disabilities, asked if Sophie could measure Harrison.

"When the staff were made aware of Harrison’s disability they did not request that he be measured.

"Sophie and her party left the admission gate and approached a manager who was dealing with another party at the time. This manager was not made aware of Harrison’s disabilities, he was told only that the admission staff did not agree that Harrison was under 90cm.

"When our manager tried to address her complaint, members of the party became verbally abusive making personal comments and insults.

"It is our belief that all staff working in any service industry have the right to work without fear of verbal abuse and as an employer we do not expect any member of staff to engage in abusive situations with members of the public.

"When Sophie’s party had calmed down, another member of management was able to address the situation and Sophie and her party entered the park.

"Sophie submitted an email the following day at 8am, and one of our directors called her within four hours, listened to her feedback, discussed Gulliver’s commitment to equality and invited Sophie to meet to discuss how Gulliver’s might further enhance the experience for guests with special needs.

"The offer was declined at first, We are encouraged that Sophie has now reconsidered our invitation to meet and discuss how Gulliver’s might further enhance the experience for guests with special needs. We are encouraged we can now have an open dialogue regarding Gulliver’s commitment to equality."