Maryville mall apologizes to soldier on Segway

Mall apologizes to soldier on Segway; he says statement makes him look like a liar

Posted:
The text of the statement released by Foothills Mall management. The text of the statement released by Foothills Mall management.
Trost hauls the device in his truck wherever he goes and uses it to get around because too much walking causes chronic nerve pain in his legs. Trost hauls the device in his truck wherever he goes and uses it to get around because too much walking causes chronic nerve pain in his legs.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Officials of a Maryville mall have apologized to a disabled soldier who uses a Segway and was ordered to leave the mall last week.

Master Sgt. Michael Trost says their statement makes him look like a liar.

MSgt. Trost was at Foothills Mall on Thursday. He says a security guard asked him to leave because he was on a Segway.

Mall officials say they never asked him to leave, they just asked him to drive safely in the mall.

Trost is upset about what their statement, saying, "This whole thing has gone down a very unfortunate road and has been really trying on my wife and I." 

Four days after the incident, a statement released by Foothills Mall management said "the mall management team offers their sincere apology to Master Sgt. Michael Trost."

The statement goes on to say that day Trost "was stopped by a security guard based on complaints that the Segway was being driven in an unsafe manner."

Trost hauls the device in his truck wherever he goes and uses it to get around because too much walking causes chronic nerve pain in his legs.

"My Segway is set on ‘turtle mode'. Turtle mode goes no faster than a Jazzy or an electric wheelchair. In no way was I unsafe or did I cause any danger to anyone or myself in the mall," Trost said.

Turtle mode is the lowest speed setting on Trost's Segway.

The mall statement says "Once Master Sgt. Trost made security aware that he was disabled, he was then allowed to continue on inside the shopping center. But he was cautioned about driving in a safe manner."

The soldier says that's totally false.

"The security guard told me to take my Segway and get out of the mall. I stand by that statement," he said.

While he says he was kicked out of the mall for being on a Segway, the mall says he was not kicked out.

Trost served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a Purple Heart recipient.

A little over a year ago he was fighting for his life. Today, he says, he is fighting for his good name.

Mall managers say they "continue to support all veterans."

"I will tell you I was humiliated, not just as a veteran, but as a person with a disability," Trost said.

Trost and his wife have hired an attorney, but they can't say if they will be suing the mall over this incident.

They have asked the public not to boycott the mall because of anger over this incident.

Trost and his wife remind that the businesses in the mall had nothing to do with it, saying it was a security issue.

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