Underwater Programming Laboratories
Warning: Don not attempt to perform or recreate any of the activities or actions in this story. Riding an amusement ride/attraction may expose you to forces or experiences beyond what you are capable of safely mentally or physically withstanding. Always observe and follow posted warnings and restrictions before riding any ride/attrition and always follow all instructions given by ride/attraction operators.
“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”
During the first season the rapport between some of the Yukon Striker crew and I grew the more I rode. More of them were asking me about the daily and total counts and for tips on how to get different experiences while riding. One of them in particular would tell me I was crazy when I would answer her with different things I had experimented with to make the ride experience more intense when she asked. During an extended delay I was talking with the greeter at the queue entrance. She asked me how I knew who the head of ride operations was and I told her my son worked at the park. When she asked me where, I told her he was a team lead at Xtreme Skyflyer. Without hesitation she asked Alan, and replied yes. She then turned to another crew member and asked him if he knew I was Alan’s dad. He replied yes, that he had seen us riding together during my son’s break.
From that point on I was no longer the guy that rode Yukon Striker all day. I was now Alan’s dad. Normally I would pick my son up after park close if we were both in the park that day. Shortly after getting my new title my son had informed me that he didn’t need a ride home because they were running an employee event on Xtreme Skyflyer for employees after the park closed. I found out the next day that during the employee ride time that night several employees from around the park who my son had never met found him and let him know they had heard about what his dad had been up to on Yukon Striker. More would approach him in the break room about me. Apparently people’s attention to what I was doing was spreading through the employees around the park.
After my 500th dive, I sent an email to Grace, the director of communications at Canada’s Wonderland, from outside the front gate just after park close. I asked her to pass on my appreciation for all the hard work of the crew and supervision of Yukon Striker for keeping it running efficiently and for their support that got me to 500 dives. I also included the link and screen shot of my stats page on my website. I don’t know how many hands it passed through but by the time I picked up my son shortly after that he already knew I had reached 500 because one of the area supervisors had shown him the message and screen shot of my achievement.
I am not sure if I was becoming famous, infamous, or notorious but I would be recognized 71 dives later. My 571st run started off as normal as most until the lift stopped about a third of the way up. I quickly set the bezel on my watch out of interest to see how long we would be stopped for. None of the guests on board appeared to be concerned and after tem minutes, we were on our way up the rest of the lift. At the top, before approaching the brink, we stopped again for about three and a half minutes. When we started moving again, I looked down at the final break run and saw a train in the upper break run which meant we were going no further than the MCBR, mid course brake run. I forgot we had transitioned to the drop chain and was caught by surprise when it released. Being in the third row, it was startling and a welcome experience to have that burst of unexpected excitement. From there it was a normal run and we stopped in the MCBR.
After a while, one of the guests commented that maybe they had forgotten about us. I told them that there was probably a whole bunch of people with name tags back at the station working on trying to get us back to the station. I wasn’t worried. We were sitting aboard a giant machine with all sorts of safety system, fail safes, and redundancies to keep us safe. Once they figured it out, we would be on our way. After twenty minutes, I could hear voices from behind us. It was a maintenance person and a group of area supervisors that had just walked about eighty feet up a spiral staircase carrying large bottles of water. The first thing they asked us was to find out if anyone needed medical attention which I was very impressed with. Then they started passing out the bottles of water to everyone. I don’t know where that water came from, but it was ice cold and just what we needed.
I asked one of them where one of the area supervisors by name was and she wanted to know how I knew about him. When I introduced myself as Alan’s dad she knew immediately who I was and replied that he was not available. A bit later I asked if one of the maintenance staff was working on whatever was wrong and she replied that he was not here today and that they had lots of good people working on it.
While we were waiting, they started taking the evacuation bridge sections out of their storage holders and spacing them out along the break run. We started getting excited because it looked like we were going to be evacuated from the MCBR and would get to walk down the stairs. The technician told us that he wanted to send us back to the station if he could rather than taking us off in the MCBR. A few minutes later he told us they were going to try again and to hold on. Moments later the breaks released and the train started moving. As we entered the station, there were maintenance people lined up on either side of the platform. It looked like an honour guard welcoming us back.
After arriving back at the station, there were people taking down the names of everyone on the train. I waited and let everyone else go first and get on their way. I was not in any rush as the only ride in the park I was interested in was currently not operational. The two that were taking down names were a supervisor and the head of operations at the park. When head of operations wanted my name, I threw out Alan’s dad as my answer. She had a look of confusion, looked at some of the other staff, and then asked if that was supposed to mean something. The supervisor that was also taking down names as well told her that Alan was one of their supervisors on Flight Deck. I thought for sure she would have heard about what I had been up to by now.
When I picked my son up after park close, he came out with a big smile on his face. I asked him if I was still infamous. He told me that he had been contacted by the area supervisor I was talking to in the MCBR and that I had been evacuated off of Yukon Striker. He also knew about who I had been asking about. Then he told me he also knew about me telling head of operations that I was Alan’s dad and her not knowing what that meant. Attention was not something that I was seeking but I was definitely getting noticed.