Sunday

It's Not Enough, SeaWorld



So, I've been waiting to write this post about SeaWorld San Diego for three weeks now. I've been waiting to hear back from SeaWorld San Diego about an incident that happened to my family there - at SeaWorld San Diego.

And I've finally heard back from SeaWorld San Diego about the incident that happened there - at SeaWorld San Diego. So now I'm going to tell you about what happened at SeaWorld San Diego and how I feel about it.

(I am not nuts. I'm just trying to put "SeaWorld San Diego" in this post as many times as I can so it will get picked up by search engines. So people will read this and it will somehow affect SeaWorld San Diego in the hopes that they will actually do something about "the situation" <--- Oh, and no, not the Jersey Shore Situation. Wrong SEO. I'm totally getting off track here....)

Anyway . . .so my family took a much needed vacation to San Diego a few weeks ago. We had a really nice time. We stayed at a nice resort where the boys could play in the sand near the water, we went to Coronado Beach (gorgeous beach, quaint and darling town), and went to LegoLand (we LOVED LegoLand, so perfect for our kids' ages as they are obsessed with Legos right now and the rides were just their size).

And of course we went to SeaWorld San Diego.

We had gone to SeaWorld Orlando on our Make-A-Wish trip with Joey. We thought it was okay (probably just the circumstance under which we were there). Since Slim is also obsessed with sharks and other underwater creatures, SeaWorld San Diego was a must.

We were impressed with many aspects of our visit. The park was immaculately clean, the shows were darling, and every single employee - from clerks to custodians to guest relations - was beyond friendly, helpful, and smiling. Hubby and I kept commenting to each other all day about this.

The day after we were at SeaWorld San Diego, PETA was to be protesting there about the treatment of its killer whales. From what I understand, this is not the first time SeaWorld has come under criticism.

Of course, every bit of evidence we saw was to the contrary - happy, loving trainers and workers reminding visitors to be careful with the animals and smiling even as kids (mine) interrupted their prepared speeches about the animals.

We became aware that a television crew was on site filming a commercial for SeaWorld. In general, I found these people to be a little blunt, cold, and almost annoyed by the presence of visitors. One sign in the turtle house read, "Television filming in progress. If you don't want to be on camera, then stay out!" Or, seriously, something to that effect. So we stayed away. I didn't want my kids to get yelled at or anything.

So, later, we were walking by another location where filming was taking place. It was off to the side and gated. As we were walking, Slim was slightly behind us, walking in his Slim way, looking at the ground not paying attention at all.

I saw a woman sitting in a director's chair pointing at him and talking to the man next to her. I kept looking at her to see what she might be talking about.

And then "the incident" occured.

Slim wandered aimlessly in the direction of the gated off area. A SeaWorld employee, who obviously drew the short straw and was assigned to be the minion protecting the gate of hell, quickly steered him away.

Without missing a beat, Slim changed direction and followed us. No harm, no foul. Right?

Wrong. Not according to the director chair bitch who is probably related to some other bitch who has been in the news lately.

This woman, who had been pointing at Slim, then took her fingers, shaped them into a gun, and pantomimed shooting Slim!

I am shaking again, even as I write this.

I mean WHAT. THE. FUCK??? (And you should know people, I hardly ever drop the F-bomb. This is how upset I still am about this.)

The child did absolutely nothing wrong. This is my child who IS likely to bust in somewhere and interrupt; but he didn't even do that, so WHAT ON EARTH was this woman thinking??

I was livid, and stunned. I stood there and stared at her, and she stared back at me with a smirk on her face. I did the only thing I could think to do at the time - I flipped her off and kept walking, hugging Slim to me  (thank God neither he nor the other boys had seen what she'd done).

I was shaking as I told Hubby about it moments later - I wish he had seen because he would have yelled at her all of the things I then thought about yelling, two minutes too late.

In this day and age of social media, he suggested going back and taking her picture and putting it all over YouTube and Twitter and my blog. I was too chicken of a confrontation, though. I am so not a confrontational person. Plus, I didn't want to get us kicked out of the park.

And let me tell you, it absolutely RUINED the rest of my day. I couldn't stop shaking and thinking about it.

Of course I filled out an incident report at Guest Services and went home with plans of writing about it and submitting it all over the web (if only I had the bitch's picture!).

But, I waited to see what SeaWorld's response would be.

After all, SeaWorld is obviously a family friendly place. They want families there, so to allow a person from a company hired by SeaWorld to do this, is unfathomable.

Right?

Three weeks later, I got a short letter as a response:

Dear Ms. Frog:

Thank you for your correspondence. We greatly appreciate you sharing your concerns with us. I am terribly sorry for your experience during your recent visit to our park. We agree; the action you described by a member of the production crew is unacceptable. We are following up with the agency that coordinated and oversaw this commercial filming production as this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

Again, I want to genuinely apologize for the behavior of the member of the production crew and express how sorry we are that it detracted from your family's experience while visiting the park.

Sincerely,
Dave Koontz
SeaWorld San Diego

Well played, Dave Koontz's administrative assistant. This is exactly what a mom would want to hear.

However, for me, it is not enough. I am a mom, darn it. I want to know how this production company was punished, not that they got a "talking to." I want to know that you stood up for a family at your park and fired this company for not adhering to your family values.

Do you think I'll ever hear back from Mr. Koontz about the final outcome?

No, I don't either.

Some people might say, 'Oh, Kathy, just let it go. That's just how the world is.' But I don't want to let it go, nor do I want to simply accept that people are just rude. I, for one, am tired of rude people. I don't accept that it is okay to be rude to someone just because you do not know them, so what does it matter?

Well, it matters. It matters how you treat people, especially children. Especially in this gun-crazed, psycho pedophile, terrorist-laden society - yes, it matters.

We cannot let rudeness and ugliness become standard behavior just because that is what most people are doing. What happened to smiles and kindness? What happened to helping and caring for all people? What happened to acceptance and understanding?

I could have been one of those people who took this to the media. I'm sure they would have jumped on this story given the problems SeaWorld was experiencing that week. But that's not what I wanted. I wanted to know what would be done.

And I'm still asking, what is going to be done? That behavior is offensive and scary and stupid, and the fact that an adult did it toward a child who was doing nothing wrong is even more disturbing. It shouldn't be allowed to continue, and it should be known that it will not be tolerated. After all, it is California. Production companies must be a dime a dozen. I just want to know that SeaWorld is spending its dime on a different production company.

The woman who did this will never get punished, but I want her to know that her actions lost her company a job. I want people to know that their actions do have consequences, because, after all, isn't that what we're all trying to teach our children?

I think I'll keep Mr. Koontz's name on file and follow up with him in a few weeks. I think he thought he heard the last of this when he asked his AA to draft a letter to this crazy mom.

But I'm not done because it's not enough.


What do you think I should do? Just drop it and accept the apology, or follow up and find out what happened to the production company?

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