Mario Alejandro made headlines recently when he attempted to enter a New Jersey theme park wearing a T-shirt bearing a logo related to his service as a U.S. Marine.
At the gate with his wife and children, Six Flags Great Adventure staffers reportedly told him he could not wear the garment, featuring the image of a rifle on the front and the name of a Marine Corps organization on the back, inside the park.
After informing employees that the shirt is “not offensive” and “means something,” the 33-year-old recalled that “they said, “I don’t care. Get out of the park.’”
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The shirt he received from his children for Father’s Day ended up being the reason his family could not spend the day riding roller coasters and enjoying the park. When Six Flags executives received news of the incident, however, Alejandro soon received an apologetic phone call from President John Fitzgerald.
“The fact that this guy took the time to call me,” he said, “to personally explain to me what their policy was and to apologize about the way things happened, it was pretty cool of him.”
Fitzgerald also offered his family free VIP tickets to the park. While Alejandro accepted his apology, however, he is not sure just yet when or if he will take his wife and kids back to the Jackson destination.
A Six Flags spokesperson issued a public statement elaborating on the park’s dress code and the employees’ mistaken attempt to enforce it in this case.
“Six Flags takes great pride in the various ways we honor, celebrate and support our military heroes. We strive to maintain a family-friendly environment and similar to many other public venues we have a dress code. Unfortunately, at the time our employee did not know Mr. Alejandro’s shirt was related to a military charity and we apologize to any military personnel who may have been offended by our mistake.”
The shirt he was wearing was distributed on behalf of the Reconnaissance Foundation, which raises money to assist special operations forces.