Woman Born With One Arm Sues Great Adventure Over Roller Coaster Refusal

The park wouldn't let her ride El Toro — at first.


Jacqueline Winner loves roller coasters, and she’s ridden dozens. But last June, when the Sicklerville, New Jersey, mother of four visited Six Flags Great Adventure as a chaperone on her daughter’s school trip, a Great Adventure employee told her to get off of the El Toro roller coaster. Why? Because Winner, 51, only has one arm. And now she’s suing.

According to a lawsuit filed in New Jersey’s federal court (below), the Great Adventure employee told Winner that having only one arm put her in violation of the park’s safety standards.

Winner says that she told the ride attendant that her arm and three fingers worked just fine and that this wasn’t her first time riding El Toro, billed as one of the fastest and tallest wooden roller coasters on the planet. But the worker wasn’t swayed. So Winner got up and walked away in front of her daughter and the other kids from the school. Winner was, claims the suit, “greatly humiliated.”

So she went to Great Adventure’s guest relations office, where another employee handed her a copy of the park’s safety rules and took a report. The rules state that any El Toro rider must have at least one “naturally fully formed and functioning arm …”

Eventually, a manager came out and apologized, telling her that she could, in fact, ride El Toro. But Winner said no thanks. After all, “the damage and embarrassment had already occurred,” as she puts it in the suit.

Winner accuses Great Adventure of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act and New Jersey’s laws against discrimination. She’s asking for unspecified damages and for an injunction requiring the park to allow her to ride El Toro, which it already agreed to let her do that day.

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