March 3, 2023 • By Dennis Beaver
One of the strangest phone calls I’ve received thus far in 2023 was from “Rudy,” who called to ask if a private business’ ban against him could be lifted.
He began our conversation with, “Can you get a ban they have on me removed?”
Ban? What kind of a ban was he talking about and who are “they?”, I replied.
And thus began a dialogue with someone whose grasp on what’s important seemed lacking when you have a nice paying job with great benefits, family and three children.
“We were at a theme park where everyone had to walk past a metal detector. The security people pulled me over and asked, ‘What’s that metal object in your right front pants pocket? Please remove it’,” he said.
I wondered as well what it could be and asked him.
“It was just shrooms,” Rudy replied. “Just shrooms in a metallic package.
As this was not a clear cell connection, I thought he was saying shrimps. I asked, so why would you have shrimps wrapped in foil in your pants? It may be odd, but I can’t think of any law being broken by having shrimps in your pocket.
“No, Mr. Beaver, s-h-r-o-o-m-s – Magic Mushrooms. They are a psychedelic and there was a large sign listing the things that could not be brought into the park, including shrooms.”
(In case these terms are new to you, these are mushrooms that cause hallucinations when ingested. Their scientific name is psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin and psilocin are the psychoactive chemicals in fungi that can make people feel high. Psilocybin mushrooms are often referred to as: Magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms or, shrooms.)
“So, what happened, Rudy?”
“They copied all my personal information, including driver’s license, and took several photographs of me that we put into a facial recognition data base,” he was told. “So, if you should enter any of our properties, you will be considered as a trespasser and law enforcement notified.”
The worst part of Rudy’s experience – and reason for his phone call – was that, “They handed me a sheet of paper that said I was banned for one year from entering any of their properties or hotels” under their management.
“But Mr. Beaver, we purchased a year-long pass to the parks and visit often. This is horribly embarrassing! Can’t something be done? I have called lawyer after lawyer and they all say that a court will not force the park to lift that ban. But it is so unfair! I’ll bet that if you talk with them, they will want to avoid bad publicity and lift the ban.”
Sorry, but what did you say your job was?
In the confusion over shrimps and shrooms, I had forgotten to ask Rudy what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a correctional officer in my state,” he said in a tone of voice that was completely out of touch with the consequences of what would result if the incident came to the attention of his employer.
“Rudy, pleases correct me if I am wrong, but in your state, possession of shrooms is itself a drug offense. You would lose your job as a CO if management became aware that you were in possession of magic mushrooms and trying to enter the theme park. Had you considered that possibility?”
Long silence. “My god, I never did! But can’t something be done?” he asked in a sad tone of voice, adding, “My family still are not completely aware of what happened.”
Saying I’m sorry can’t hurt
Rudy’s phone call gave me an idea. I called the theme park and spoke with their head of security, not mentioning Rudy’s name, but stating the facts, and saying, “He revealed himself as having IQ in the idiot range, but I think the experience boosted him into normal.
“Of course I am not writing an article that mentions your company’s name, but suppose he writes a sincere letter of apology to the park and agrees to pay for whatever this incident has cost in terms of hours lost. Would there be a possibility of the ban being lifted?
“With their three children, the embarrassment would be punishment that far outweighed the crime. So, what do you think? I am certain he will accept your decision.”
The gentleman asked that I give him 24 hours and he would call me back with an answer.
But I didn’t have to wait that long. He phoned 30 minutes later.
“Mr. Beaver, you’ve got a deal. Thanks for the idea.”
Rudy’s letter was touching. He sent me an email a week later from the park – I hope he always remembers the kindness shown him.
Respect the Rules and We All Have a Great Time
Theme parks have many rules about what is permitted and what will get you in trouble.
These are available online and are posted at the parks themselves. It is worthwhile being familiar with them, as my reader discovered.
There was one request the park’s security manager asked of me:
“Mr. Beaver, You might want mention that a problem all theme parks have on a frequent basis is when companies reward their employees on visits. We want everyone to have a good time, but please, no drugs, and keep drinking to a respectable amount.”
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.