Thoughts on Those Rich Manhattan Mommies & Disability Line Jumping

The New York Post ran a story yesterday on some wealthy folk from Manhattan that jump lines at places like Disney World by hiring someone with a disability to cut the line for them.

The story is here.

I’ve got to admit, I was not outraged when I read it. Like, at all.

Should I be? Hmm. I don’t know.

My knee jerk reaction was just that it’s all simply about economics, supply and demand. The rich people don’t want to wait in line and they see a good deal, one that costs a lot less than Disney’s deal. The person with a disability (PWD) wants to make some money and is using something they have.

Is it wrong to cut in line by pretending you are all together when you are really strangers?


Is it wrong for people with disabilities to be actively faced with stupendous discrimination in trying to find and keep a job?

And is it wrong for people with disabilities to have to choose between health benefits and a life of borderline poverty or the insecurity of a job and possible death if they leave it? (see Why I Burned My Book for more on this).

Yes, and yes.

Those being “yes” answers, a system is in place right now whereby PWD are not going to win, any which way you slice the cake.

I’m not bothered by a PWD being hired to pretend they are a family member. In fact, I’m glad someone got a job using something they have. I’m glad they get to make $1,000 a day, most likely in cash, and have some money to move beyond the poverty line (if they are on SSI). And if they aren’t, I’m still glad they are making some money! Moreover, I’m glad they get to ride fun rides all day, if they like that kind of thing!

This would be a different story though if it were someone impersonating a person with a disability, or if we had system that didn’t actually penalize a person with a disability for working, or an employment setting that didn’t make it almost impossible for some people to get a job in the first place.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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  1. I totally understand what you are saying about it being a great job, good pay, and a fun day. But its totally exploiting disabled.
    It really irks me because we are a family with a wheelchair bound child that frequents Disneyland on almost a weekly basis. I don’t get a handicap pass for my daughter that’s 3 with DS. She can walk, and there’s really no reason she can’t wait in line, except like every toddler she has zero patience! I actually would like it if they required some kind of proof to get the pass. That would eliminate a TON of people that use the autism excuse, because autism is not visible by looking at the child. Its not fair to true autism families that do need the pass!
    Also, we actually have to wait longer on quite a few rides. This is probably more because he is wheelchair bound than simply disabled. Usually we have to wait for a certain car or boat, and sometimes it actually takes twice as long for us to get on than if we had waited in the regular line!
    I think people should just thank God for their health and their kids health! We’d love it if Jax could walk, or even talk. We’d love it if we didn’t have to drag oxygen, feeding pump and suction on every ride. But we do it because we want him to enjoy life like everyone else. Let them take Jax for a day to get the pass, we’ll see how quickly give him back and say, I’ll wait!

  2. I can see Disney simply limiting the pass to the PWD and one guest (family member or otherwise). Also, doesn’t Disney sell “express lane” passes, too? Doesn’t seem to me like the kind of “corruption” that we should get all in a tizzy over.

  3. The only issue I have with the whole thing is that I have a feeling Disney will make significant changes that will adversely affect PWD in the future. I can totally see them requiring all kinds of paperwork to get a pass, limiting the number of people allowed each day to use the pass, or even eliminating the pass altogether. I don’t have a problem with a PWD making money because like you state–it’s the law of economics. I guess I wish the person who was the guide would comment about the whole thing too. I’d like to hear her perspective about this.

    • I was wanting to hear their perspective, too.
      I don’t see why Disney would need to make a lot of changes – just ask more questions, I think. I mean, it should be pretty obvious if they ask enough, whether or not someone is a family member.

  4. I kind of feel the same way you do but I’m also concerned that this practice will make it harder for legitimate families with disabled members to participate in the “no wait” policies of amusement parks!

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