Worst Freebie Ever? Famous Rollercoaster Breaks On 1st Day Of Season

pic by esterThe only thing more fun than getting on a rickety old amusement park ride on the first day of the season is getting on a rickety old amusement park ride on the first day of the season FOR FREE. Which is what visitors to Luna Park went to Coney Island for this weekend, only to get a surprise:

Today is Opening Day at Coney Island, and the first 100 to show up this morning were treated with a free ticket to ride the historic Cyclone roller coaster. Except the wooden coaster, which first opened to the public way back in 1927, wasn’t up to the task.

At noon today, photographer Tod Seelie alerted us, “The Cyclone got stuck near the top on the second run of the year and everyone had to walk back down the tracks.”

Walking 85 feet straight down an ancient wooden roller coaster is a terrifying way to start fake summer. Lucky for all those passengers, Luna Park is On It: 

A rep for Luna Park told us, “Safety is the number one priority for our guests at Luna Park. This was an isolated issue and it is quickly being resolved. Cyclone will reopen after proper inspection. No one was injured. Those on the ride were safely evacuated according to our safety training procedures and will be able to ride again for free.”

For an ordinary, semi-functional ride, the Cyclone costs $9. These people were scared to a bladder-shaking degree pro bono; and to compensate them, they get to relive the experience? I’m not sure how I’d feel about that deal.

It did make me think, though, about freebies that go awry. Ordinarily a thing you expected to pay for that gets tossed to you as a gift is one of life’s most pleasant surprises. In fact I was just thinking that one of the best things about being in my 30s and having my friends largely be in their 30s too is that we can spring this on each other: Guess what, lunch is on me! Or, Don’t worry about it, I’ll get the drinks. The other day I bought some friends breakfast. It made me feel like The Queen Of The World, which is a good return on a $25 investment.

Sometimes though the free thing backfires, like the man who insisted on buying you the drink leers at you creepily from the end of the bar and you have to hide behind the lesbian couple you came with for the rest of the evening, or you get a free ride on a roller coaster and it breaks down at the top of an 85-foot drop, and you have to wonder, “How much can I complain, really, when I didn’t pay for the thing in the first place?” Maybe it’s better to have exchanged $10 for the right to say, “I deserve my dignity, and thank you.”

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