Trampolining park manager told amputee to leave for ‘not being in control’
She’s won awards for her trampolining
An award-winning disabled trampolinist, who lost both of her legs and hands as a child, was told to leave a trampoline park because she might injure other people.
A manager at Flip Out’s Sandwell branch, asked 16-year-old Ellie Bishop to leave due to “not being in control.”
Ellie lost her legs and lower arms after having meningitis as a child. She is a passionate horse rider who trampolines three times a week and has won awards for it.
He told her she was “likely to injure herself or others”, despite the fact she’d already been using the trampoline park for an hour before. He even told her “If you don’t have feet, you cannot bounce” and “people like her” shouldn’t have been using the equipment.
Ellie was humiliated as she left the park after being told to walk around the sides rather than use the trampolines correctly to exit.
Ellie signed a waiver prior to entry to the trampoline park, accepting responsibility for any injuries she could potentially sustain.
Nowhere on the park’s website does it state customers with certain disabilities cannot use the equipment.
Ellie told The Tab: “I felt like the manager had a problem with disabled people, as no rules were made visible to me before attending.”
After much persistence, only Ellie was refunded the £10 and her friends who left with her were not.
The manager said he was not stopping the others from their second hour, although they had forfeited this when Ellie had been asked to leave. According to Ellie, the member of staff even held on to the money tightly as she went to take it back.
Ellie’s mother has since received a full refund for the accompanying party, after a conversation with Flip Out Sandwell on the phone prior to Ellie’s visit.
Another member of staff suggested Ellie return to the trampoline park during off-peak times.
Ellie does not let being an amputee impede her life. After the incident, she said: “I felt completely embarrassed and discriminated against.
“The company should have stated before the session if there was an issue with me being an amputee, not into my second hour in front of multiple other customers.
“He was shouting at me in front of everyone saying that if I have no feet, I cannot bounce.”
Ellie lives a very independent life and faces obstacles much larger, such a discriminative comment is completely unacceptable. Even more so considering the manager had seen her bouncing for the last hour previously.
What had started out as a great activity for Ellie, was completely overshadowed by the poor treatment she received from a manager who should know better and who has made a young girl feel belittled, stating hurtful comments suggesting Ellie “not being capable of anything”.
The policy is one person per trampoline, what made Ellie any different when she had demonstrated how perfectly capable she was?
Izzy Hussein from Flip Out Sandwell said: “First and foremost we’d like to apologise to Ellie as Flip Out prides itself on being inclusive and offering activities which everyone can enjoy.
“Secondly all customers can be assured that safety is our number one priority and we strive to ensure that everyone who visits can enjoy all of the activities in a safe environment. Last Saturday was particularly busy, due to an opening promotion. The manager was concerned that Ellie was in the extreme free running area which is for advanced users and identified the potential for her and other customers to be injured.
“We’d like to offer complimentary sessions to Ellie and her family and very much hope she will visit us again at Flip Out Sandwell.”