Thrillseeker lola tries out extreme park rides

By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

June 27, 2014

LAS VEGAS – While many are skeptical to ride in one of the most exhilarating rides in one of the highest towers in the world, this Filipino lola is fearless.

At 5 feet, lola Ruby Palalay meets the height requirement to take on thrill rides.

These are not just any ordinary amusement rides but the most breathtaking amusement park rides in the world located in Sin City at 1,200 feet above ground level at the top of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino.

Palalay, 80, has been working as a ride operator here since the amusement tower opened in 1996.

While many still have anxiety about taking on the extreme rides, Palalay has a simple reason why she likes to take on the thrill rides: she rides to stay awake and keep herself entertained.

“Masarap. Parang nasa duyan ka lang. (It’s fun. It’s like riding a hammock.)”

She added: “Wala sa edad yun. Nasa lakas ng loob. (It has nothing to do with age but guts.)”

Malalay keeps on record the number of times she’s been on each of the rides. She said she ridden the Big Shot 10,000 times.

“I have different numbers. In the Insanity, I have 2,000 only, but the X-Scream, the one that jumps, I have 580 because I waited for the front seat. I don’t like to sit in any other seat because that is only one cart,” she said.

“Walo ang sasakyan. Pag nahulog yun, wala namang mabuhay doon. Mamatay naman kayong lahat. Ba’t piliin mo yung nasa likod? (There are eight rides. If it falls, no one livesand everyone dies. So why get the one in the back?) Get the one in the front, gets you more excited,” she said.

Palalay was also featured as a cameo star on the Travel Channel.

The Sky Jump is a free fall from the top of the 100 plus story Stratosphere Tower to the ground below. Even some celebrities are afraid to tackle this challenge.

“She is an inspiration to a lot of people so when people don’t want to ride we just bring her up and she’ll ride with people when they’re afraid. She becomes the motivation. We have celebrities that ride with her when they’re afraid. She brings it out in people,” said Richard Codding, tower and retail operations manager.

“She’s been in numerous travel shows, and just does a great job with guest service and she is on the videos and people recognize her and people want to get her picture with her.”

For now, Palalay has no plan to retire. She said working is the only way to keep her active, and that she will continue to ride for as long as she is able.

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