Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Difference One Person Makes
So today I made it back to L.A. and as planned, I took my wife and 3 grandkids to Dodger Stadium for the day game fiasco against the Cincinnati Reds. There really isn’t much to say about the Dodgers and their foibles. This season, there simply isn’t much good to talk about. So let me tell you about our day and the Dodger Stadium experience as a whole.
We left our San Diego hotel at 8:45 am with the plan of arriving at Dodger Stadium by 11:00 am, an hour before game time. Everything went as planned, in fact, we made excellent time and arrived at around 10:45 am at our Left Field Pavilion seats. I chose those seats because I wanted to relive those days of my youth and tell my grandkids about them. Shortly after arriving, I realized that I had made a big mistake.
The sun was unbearable and our seats, in row G, section 303, were getting beaten down very hard by the rays. My wife always comes prepared and in her purse she has more gadgets than Batman’s utility belt. This time she was ready for the dangers of sun exposure, having brought three different brands of sunscreen of varying SPF ratings. After ponying up on Dodger dogs, drinks, chips, cotton candy and ice cream, all before the first pitch, I knew I was in trouble when my 7 year-old grandson, David, asked me how much longer we’d be there while the FIRST batter stepped into the batter’s box in the first inning.
My wife had already packed up and moved with Sofia to the shade by inning number two. David, Eric and I toughed it out in the sun.
By the middle of the second, it was just David and I that remained at our seats.
I took the kids down to the concession stand and bought them all Dodger hats. That seemed to please them, for about another half an inning.
My wife called from the shade and told me that they all wanted frozen lemonade’s by inning number three, I gave up on the game when told at the concession stand that they were sold out of them. The score was 6-1 Reds and I was getting burnt to a crisp and I was watching the game solo in row G by myself. I looked back the 25 or so rows where everyone else was in the shade and I saw it. Nobody wanted to be there. They weren’t having any fun. Sure the food was all at half price, but you can only eat so many Dodger Dogs. I went to them and announced that we should pack up and head off to our hotel. The kids were okay with that because they knew that meant they would be going to the hotel pool. My wife, bless her heart, expressed disappointment because she knew how much I enjoy going to games and how infrequent trips back to L.A. are for me.
We got to the exit and started to depart when a security supervisor (I believe he was a supervisor) named Mark stopped us and asked if anything was wrong. He said, “I don’t want to see anyone leave unhappy, is there anything I can do to help?.” I thought a number of things, one of which was that he could help a lot if he somehow got this team a bullpen and a few more bats but instead I said, “the kids are wilting in this heat, and it’s just too hot out there for them.” He mentioned that we could move to the shade and they could bring us ice water if we needed it. I mentioned that once the frozen lemonades were sold out, that was the end for us and he asked, “If I could get you some frozen lemonades from the field level stands, would you stay?” Everyone nodded yes and he set it up. He told my wife to return to the shady seats in the upper pavilion and he took me to the Field Level.
Mark then went from aisle to aisle checking with each vendor if they had frozen lemonades. When that proved unsuccessful, he took me to the front of the concession line, then he got me my frozen lemonades and took me back to the Pavilion.
It was customer service that was above and beyond anything I expected. I thought I was back in the O’Malley days.
So to Mark C., (last name withheld for privacy concerns), I say thank you. You are all class, You made my family’s Dodger Stadium experience a positive one and the Dodger organization should be commended for your actions. I have fired off an email to the Dodgers to let them know of my appreciation for his efforts.
We made it through the 8th inning, which I credit Mark C. for. As far as getting to the hotel pool, well, they went swimming later, but David and Sofia conked out in the back seat of the car long before we even arrived at the hotel.