(Jackson, NJ) – In March 2003, Marine Mario Alejandro participated in the first wave of American fighters in Iraq.
Eleven years later, the former Marine – classified as disabled, due to the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he sustained while serving in the military – found himself fighting for admission to the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park.
On August 9, Alejandro was denied access to Great Adventure due to his attire. His T-shirt, featuring the words “Keep Calm and Return Fire” emblazoned on the front, along with the image of a red-white-and-blue military assault rifle, was deemed inappropriate for Great Adventure’s clientele – and sounded like a terroristic threat.
Alejandro tried to explain to park employees that he was a former Marine, had served in Iraq, and had been given the shirt by his family for Father’s Day. Park employees insisted he either take off the shirt or purchase another one to put over it.
“We showed him the wide range of souvenir clothing available to all park visitors,” said a Great Adventure spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We even offered him a 10% discount. He just wasn’t satisfied with our selection.”
Once leaving the park, Alejandro screamed at visitors entering the park while his family sobbed and looked on. His family insists he was complaining about his treatment by park employees, but eyewitnesses tell a different story.
“His demeanor was similar to Tower Man’s,” said an eyewitness, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Thankfully, he didn’t jump to his death. Well, he was on solid ground. But if he had seen a radio tower, who knows what might have happened?”
In April, the unidentified “Tower Man” climbed Long Branch’s 400-foot Y107 tower, spent at least an hour “swinging” and yelling undecipherable comments, then jumped to his death.
As it happens, park staff tried to get Alejandro to purchase a Tower Man/Great Adventure T-shirt. A snapshot of Great Adventure clothing features celebrities such as:
|Celebrity||Claim to Fame|
|Rachel Canning||Teen who moved out of her parents’ house because she didn’t want to live by their rules. Additionally, she sued them for child support, private school tuition, medical and related bills, college expenses, and legal fees.|
|Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ)||Bullying and Bridgegate. Enough said.|
|Gabriel Diaz||New York cab driver suspended for wearing a Nazi armband while driving his cab and picking up fares.|
|Rihanna||Nothing says “fun and amusement” like a T-shirt featuring a full-size photo of Rihanna just after Chris Brown beat the living crap out of her.|
|Lisa Swain (D-NJ)||Fair Lawn councilwoman upset about possibly losing her taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.|
One week after the incident, Alejandro received an apology from the President of Six Flags Great Adventure, John Fitzgerald.
“Mr. Fitzgerald called Mr. Alejandro personally to apologize,” said a Great Adventure spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He thanked Mr. Alejandro for his service to the United States of America. He apologized to Mr. Alejandro. He apologized to Mr. Alejandro’s family. He apologized to Mr. Alejandro’s dog. And he commented how sorry he was that the incident had garnered nationwide attention.”
In addition to the apology, the Alejandro family has been invited back to Great Adventure for an all-expense-paid day of fun and frivolity – with VIP status.
“The Alejandro family is considering this generous offer,” said a spokesman for the Alejandro family, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But they’re not sure they’ll accept at this time.
“First off, the traffic on the [New Jersey] Turnpike and I-195 is terrible. Second, the lines for the rides and food at Great Adventure stretch on forever. And lastly, the family will probably hold out for a pass good for free visits for the rest of their lives.
“Given the unspeakable trauma, pain, and suffering they’ve been through, it’s the least Six Flags can do.”