The Ride Operator

There was a time – two months ago, really – when Tessa Fielder would have been the first person to tell you that she had the most boring life ever.  School, homework, trips to the mall with her friends, nights spent in front of the television and then when summer rolled around, schlepping off to the most boring job a high school kid could ever be expected to work.

But now Tessa is telling everyone a different story; a story that is full of adventure, romance, important life saving research, poopy diapers, and adorable service animals.  How did Tessa stumble into this new life of hers?  She became an amusement park ride operator.

Anyone who’s anyone wants to be an amusement park ride operator, and who could blame them?  Nothing is more fun than standing on your feet in one hundred degree weather ten hours a day, cleaning up vomit, yelling at parents to please not throw their kids onto the ride while it’s moving, yelling at parents to please not try to remove their kids from the ride while it’s moving, and having sweaty stinky person after sweaty stinky person walk past you as they go through the line.  So much glamour and it pays minimum wage!   If anything can help Tessa save for university, it’s a minimum wage job.

There’s just one  minor hiccup to this otherwise perfect job: people insist upon asking her stupid questions.  “How did you become a ride operator?”  “What do you do during the winter?”  “Is it hot enough for you?”  It has got to the point where Tessa wonders if maybe the customers have suffered some catastrophic brain injury as a result of eating too much candy floss.  Do these people actually wonder if maybe she had to get a four-year degree in amusement park technology in order to be considered qualified to push a button all day?  What else would a high school student do during the off season other than return to high school?  And do these people think she’s from the sun or some other place warmer than an amusement park during the dog days of summer?

For the first couple of weeks of the season, Tessa put her customer service skills to use and answered every question politely and honestly, but then she grew tired of it and said, “Fuck it!  Stupid people deserve stupid answers!”  That’s when she started making shit up.

“I’m a P.H.D. candidate studying molecular biology at Harvard University,” she told one customer when he asked what she did during the off season.  “We’re currently researching the affects of candy floss on the brain.  We think it may be the cure for all neurological disorders.  Have you visited our candy floss stand yet?”

When another customer asked the same question five minutes later she said, “I sit at home with my two-year-old quadruplets.  Oh my God, the diapers I go through!”  She told another customer that she was saving every penny to open a training centre for service dogs, and another that she had met a super sexy Russian who had a thing for roller coasters, and she was moving to Moscow at the end of summer to help him bring this western pastime to those behind the Iron Curtain.  “I worry about the cold, though.  It can never be hot enough for me,” she then said.

In a few days, she’ll return to high school and go back to answering boring math questions, but before then this globetrotting, dog loving, diaper changing, health researcher has another pile of puke to hose down.





2 thoughts on “The Ride Operator

  1. I used to work at Oaks Park back when Funtasic ran the park back in 1983, I was honored by Oaks Park/Funtastic in 1983 for saving around seventy people’s lives when the park had a black out on one of it’s busiest days of the year.

    I continued to work at that park after Funtastic pulled out of that park after the park was surrendered over to the City of Portland, all the years I worked in that park I was recognized as a go-to person and as a reliable and trusted person.

    In the late 1980’s before Dick Connor’s retired he train the at the time current maintenance men on how to balance the Monster Mouse ride and shortly afterwords Dick Connor’s retired.
    At the end of that season after Dick Connor’s was gone management ordered the maintenance team to have the Monster Mouse moved to a new location in the park.

    I noticed as the maintenance team was resembling the Monster Mouse at it’s new location that they had left ALL THE BOARDS IN PLACE ON THE POSTS as they assembled the ride.
    I already knew that when Dick Connor’s and Funtastic balance that ride they always remove the boards during the dissembling part and thought it weird they left all the boards on the post.

    I did not suspect foul play because I was giving the maintenance team the benefit of the doubt they were going to properly balance it after they assembled the ride, but I thought they were stupid for leaving all the boards in place because it would make the dissembling and reassembling of the ride much more difficult.
    The maintenance team did not balance the Monster Mouse they used a cheat and lied claiming they balanced it, the cheat they used was to leave all the boards in place on all the posts, that way after the ride is assembled the boards will already be in place and the ride will appear balanced when in fact it is not!
    They did this at the end of the season!

    The maintenance team did this at the end of the season, and it was not until the next year when I got rehired back as a ride operator that I noticed the Monster Mouse was not properly balanced.

    I reported this to Tim Greeley of the maintenance team and he just grinned at me in a evil manner and said “Well,,,,well get around to it.” and after a couple of weeks went by the Mouse ride was still not balanced, and I realized I was being ignored by the maintenance team!

    So I reported it to the lead ride foreman Bill, and he told me he will take care of it, and it was right after that that the ride foreman permanently stuck me on the Ferris Wheel and would not give me any days off and would not allow me to run any other ride!

    The Ferris Wheel at Oaks Park at the time was the hardest ride in the park to run, and it is a burn out ride if your stuck on it all the time, so the ride foreman Bill was trying to force me to quit with his treatment of me!

    Telling the foreman about the problem on the Mouse ride never accomplished anything, and after a couple of weeks went by the Mouse ride is still not balanced properly, I reported it to other ride operators and asked them to report it because I was being ignored by the maintenance team and by the foreman!

    By this time I had my own problems to deal with, the Ferris Wheel is a burn out ride and I was stuck on it seven days a week with no break from it, and I was forced to give Bill the ride foreman a two week notice and quit if he does not get anyone else trained on that ride!

    Two weeks later Bill never trained anyone on it so I quit, as I walked out of the park I was approached and asked by the at the time ride manager Mary Beth Coffey not to quit and instead just take a couple days off, so I reluctantly agreed.

    After I came back to Oaks Park I discovered the manager fired Bill the ride foreman and hired a new lead foreman named Jim and the manager wanted me to be an assistant foreman to Jim, so I quit only to be rehired as a foreman.

    As an assistant foreman I do not have a ton of power/say at the park, I can give orders to ride operators and that’s about it, and since now I was a assistant ride foreman I took it upon myself to start filling out ride reports on all the rides that have problems with them!

    I filled out eleven ride reports on various rides that had problems that needed reported to the maintenance team, none of the rides was broke down, but they all had problems that needed reporting!

    I discovered the next day the maintenance supervisor named TC took my eleven ride reports and burned them, it was him that told me to my face he burned them, and he told me he did not need any help from me and to not ever fill out a ride report on a ride ever again unless the ride is broke down!

    At the beginning of the next season near the beginning of the season I discovered a track on the Monster Mouse ride was cracked all the way through and that the track was separating as the cars go over the track!

    I shut that ride down in the nick of time, saving dozens of kids lives and possibly a ride operators life and prevented a bloodbath from occurring, and I got on the radio and told my superior Jim the lead foreman the Monster Mouse is down for the remainder of the day and to please notify the ticket booth so that they don’t sell tickets for it!

    When the maintenance supervisor TC showed up he was with the CEO of the park Joe Norling, they both were approaching the Monster Mouse together, and as they got about forty feet away TC began berating me for shutting down the ride, he did this loudly so others can hear, and I noticed that the CEO was grinning while TC was berating me, so the CEO was of the same mindset as the maintenance supervisor!

    I was mad and angry at this treatment but said nothing and stayed professional and waited for the both of them to get onto the ride and to stand next to me, as they approached me and was standing right next to me TC said “Alright,,,,,what’s wrong with it?” in a sarcastic manner, and I stated flatly and bluntly in return saying “The track is cracked,,,the tracks is separating as the cars go over it!”

    I was gauging both the maintenance supervisor and the CEO’s reaction to the news because they both are giving me reason to suspect foul play and sabotage, the CEO’s reaction was shock and horror on his face and his face turned immediately ashen, and he was staring at the maintenance supervisor as though he was seeing him for the first time as some kind of monster!

    The maintenance supervisor’s reaction was to go into immediate cover his butt mode,no shock, no horror, but fear on his face!
    The fact that the ride is in this condition is proof of maintenance incompetence, and TC knows this, so he immediately began giving his men the blame for it as a way to cover his own butt!

    In the process of TC giving his men the blame he dug his own grave by making it known he and his men already knew about the crack and that they slagged it with wielding slag!

    The wielding slag they used to hide the crack with was on the ground below where the crack is!
    Now I am deeming TC as well as his maintenance team as criminals and as dangerous!
    The maintenance team already knew about the crack and was hiding it with wielding slag and opened the ride up to the public and did not tell anyone on the ride team about the crack!

    Can you say SABOTAGE!


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