Madelyn Sheaffer went to Adventure Oasis Water Park in Independence, Mo. with five members of her family on Tuesday afternoon. At some point after the group arrived, she escorted her niece and nephew into the water to play.
As soon as she hit the water, the 43-year-old woman was asked by the water park staff to put on shorts; she was apparently wearing bottoms that were “too small.” Sheaffer asked to speak to the supervisor on duty, who told her she either needed to cover up, or leave the park.
Sheaffer feels strongly that she was “singled out” and “discriminated upon” by the staff. “This was not a thong. It was a standard, summertime, two piece, string bikini,” she said. “The same as everyone else, who felt confident enough in their body to wear one.”
Scheaffer had apparently recently lost over 100 pounds. “I am a 43-year-old woman who did not have the confidence, or the body, to put on a bikini until [I was] 40 years old,” she said. “I will not be discriminated against because I look too good in one.”
She also made note of how many other women were at the park wearing similar suits, explaining she felt she was wrongfully singled out amongst the crowd. “I felt like it was both age and body discrimination and I felt like I could look around me and I could see a handful of other girls half my age, wearing the same size swimming suit and not being singled out and told to put on clothes or leave,” Scheaffer added.
When she asked the supervisor of the park to call the police so that she could file a complaint, she was booted from the park by the officers who arrived. Scheaffer followed through with her complaint anyhow.
According to the City of Independence, it is entirely up to the manager of the park to decide whether or not a patron’s attire is appropriate.