A New Jersey veteran who was denied entry into Six Flags Great Adventure because of his T-shirt supporting fellow Marines has reportedly received an apology from the park’s president.
Mario Alejandro, 33, whose shirt featuring an M-16 rifle and reading “Keep Calm and Return Fire” drew national attention and controversy after he wore it to the park with his wife and kids last week, told NJ.com that he received a phone call from the park’s president on Saturday.
The humbling call followed Alejandro’s public outrage over his treatment by the park’s security officials who deemed his T-shirt – which supports Recon Marines and their families – offensive.
In a shared statement by a park spokeswoman, the park said the employees responsible for Alejandro’s snubbed entry didn’t realize it was a military T-shirt.
“Six Flags takes great pride in the various ways we honor, celebrate and support our military heroes,” Kristin B. Siebeneicher stated in an email Monday. “We strive to maintain a family-friendly environment and similar to many other public venues we have a dress code. Unfortunately, at the time our employee did not know Mr. Alejandro’s shirt was related to a military charity and we apologize to any military personnel who may have been offended by our mistake.”
The back of Alejandro’s T-shirt reads “Reconnaissance Foundation,” the Marines Corps foundation where he said his children purchased the shirt for him as a Father’s Day gift.
At the time of the incident, Alejandro said he identified it to the park’s staff as a military T-shirt. Whether that remained true or not, the proud Marine expressed his appreciation for the park president’s call.
“The fact that this guy took the time to call me, to personally explain to me what their policy was and to apologize about the way things happened, it was pretty cool of him,” he told NJ.com.
He said park president John Fitzgerald also offered him and his family free VIP tickets back to the park, though he couldn’t say it’s a gift he’ll readily – if ever – be using.
A request for comment from the theme park was not immediately returned.