Amusement Park Shamed Online After Man With Special Needs Lost His Job
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, an amusement park in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, came under fire recently for deciding not to re-hire an employee with special needs who has worked cleaning bathrooms at the park for the last 12 seasons, The Associated Press reported.
Chris Emery, 29, was told there was a new interview process being implemented this year for the job and at the end of the interview his mother, Claudia Emery, was told Chris didn’t do well enough to be re-hired, The Morning Call reported.
The company offered Emery a chance to interview again, but his mother said he’d been humiliated and declined the offer. Outraged at the news that Emery didn’t “pass” the interview, a former co-worker, Matt Redline, took to Facebook to vent his frustrations.
His post read:
I can’t express how angry and hurt I am right now! This is my buddy Chris. I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his family during my 10-year employment at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. In his hands he is holding a certificate praising him for 12 years of service at the park. Chris is a special needs person but let me tell you he is one of the most gracious human beings I have ever met. Today, his mom Claudia was told Dorney will not be hiring him back because he doesn’t “fit what they’re looking for.” You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Chris lived for that park. He has a bigger heart than any of you will ever know and it sickens me that a company who prides themselves on cornerstones and family values would turn their backs on one of their most loyal employees for being different. Again shame on all of you. Claudia Peiffer Emery, hang in there…You know your family has an army behind them of all of the people whose hearts Chris has touched!
Since he posted it on February 4, Redline’s post has been shared more than 35,000 times. It succeeded in creating a social media firestorm, with people taking to Twitter as well as Facebook to shame the amusement park.
— Mary Kate Dagit (@phillytech6) February 5, 2016
The outcry succeeded in getting the attention of the amusement park executives who then offered Emery back his job.
Mike Fehnel, Vice President and General Manager of the park, posted on the Dorney Park Facebook page, saying that when he became aware of the situation he immediately requested his team reach out to Emery and request to re-hire him. Emery however, has declined their offer.
“It was all a little too late for us,” His mother, Claudia Emery, told The Morning Call. “This should never have happened. It just wasn’t fair. I’m not going to boycott Dorney, That’s not fair to him either. I just want them to revise that interview process. I hope this helps another family.”
Chris Emery says in the future he’ll return to the park to play the games but not as an employee.
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The Mighty reached out to Dorney Park for comment but has yet to hear back.