Working for the Modesto A’s

Back in 2004, sometime around groundhog’s day, I wanted to do something to help support myself and my new bride.  But being physically disabled (still unable to walk or even stand on my own) and not completing even community college, job choices were very limited – until the day I found a job posting on the Modesto A’s website.

Wanting to help out financially.

Kimberly and I have been married a little over 7 months at the start of 2004.  As like most newlyweds, we believed that our two incomes combined would be a financial win or the both of us, it wasn’t.  Kimberly was working three-part time/adjunct professor jobs at Modesto Junior College as well as working for me as my in-home support services person (A program available to the disabled in Stanislaus county).  As I was still confined to a wheelchair I had just my struggling eBay business that barely paid its operating expenses and my SSI check – which was drastically cut because of the money Kimberly earned.

The bottom line was we were getting by – barely.  Although Kimberly never said anything to me, I felt that since I was the man I needed to do whatever I could to bring money into our family’s budget.

Searching for work

Being physically disabled which had confined me to a wheelchair for the time being, and still recovering from the ischemic stroke to my spinal cord was going to be an obstacle to find a job that I could perform.  Additional obstacles to my job search was occasional memory problems, sometimes not being able t think of the word I wanted to say, and not even completing junior college.  (Not to mention I feared that some employers would not even give me a chance because of my multiple disabilities.)

Every day, between listing items on eBay and processing the few orders that cam on, I scratched my brain trying to figure out where I could find a job.

At the most unlikely spot, I saw a job that I knew I could do!

One afternoon, I decided to take a break from eBay and job searching.  I went to the web site of the single A baseball affiliate of the Oakland A’s, the Modesto A’s, to check out the schedule and purchase a small game package for myself and Kimberly.

On the landing page was an announcement that the Modesto A’s were looking for ushers, ticket takers, concession clerks and others to work at the ballpark during the 2004 season.

Ticket Taker – That’s the ticket!

The position of ticket taker sounded right up my alley.  All I needed to do was sit at the gates, take a person’s ticket – check to make sure it was for that night’s game – tear it and tell them to enjoy the game.  I could do that!

I also felt confident that I had a fair chance of getting the job because the higher-ups in the club knew me.

Kimberly and I had purchased game packs the past few seasons.  Heck, I had worked with the club closely two years earlier when I wanted to propose to Kimberly during a game.

I quickly completed an application, submitted it and eagerly waited to hear back from the club.

Seriously, it was not a long wait to hear back from the club.  In fact, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when they called.

I was at the corner of Oakdale Road and Floyd avenue, riding the scooter that had belonged to Kimberly’s grandmother (who had passed away a few weeks before our engagement), passing by the bus stop next McDonald’s on my way back to my apartment.

The man who called my cell phone from the Modesto A’s was someone I did not know.  He was very serious, and I tried to contain my excitement as I agreed to a time for an in-person interview.

The day of the interview

The day of the interview I had Kimberly drive me to the club’s offices at John Thurman Field.  She unloaded my wheelchair and I transferred into it.  I had her wait in the car while I wheeled myself into the park and the main office.

I didn’t think it would look good if my wife was with me – I feared that it would send a message that I needed someone to take care of me which may give them a reason to believe that I was unable to perform the job.

The office staff had to move a few boxes out of a hallway, so I could wheel myself to my interview.  That was a little awkward for me.  If I could have walked I could have made it down that hallway.  It was awkward for the office staff as well.  They seemed embraced that their office was not accessible.

The Interview

I wheeled myself into the office to meet the man who was going to interview me.  I extend my hand and with pride and enthusiasm in my voice, I introduced myself to him.

The room was dark, so I was unable to read any body language from the man sitting behind the desk who was interviewing me.  But I perceived from his voice that he was either nervous, uncomfortable or already had decided against hiring me.  But I remained positive and I did my best during the interview.  When it was over, I extend my hand again and thanked him for his time.

Did I get the job or not?

The next day I was told I didn’t get the job.  I was bummed but I was no worse of than I was before applying.  Then about two days later the GM of the club called and apologized for the mix up as he explained they would love to have me with the club if I still wanted the job.

Orientation Day

When orientation day came I was ready.  I came with a few bottles of water to help if it became hot.  I also brought a clipboard, pen and paper to take notes.

Orientation took half the day, but I learned a lot.  Unfortunately, most of what I learned had nothing to do with my job, but I did learn we did get free tickets to games.  Some we could use and others we had to give out to people in the community.  I used ours to take myself, my wife and my Nephew Tim to a ballgame during the season.

My Job

My job was exactly what I expected it to be.  Sit on the scooter, collect tickets form the fans and welcome them to the ballpark.

I enjoyed my job at first.  But the pay wasn’t great.  Some nights it wasn’t worth the gas money to even come to work.  Although it has always been important to me that when I take a job, to commit to it for one year.  I grew tired of my ob by the end of June ad started looking for a new one.

As soon as I did find a new job, a job that paid better and was an job that didn’t have me working in the hot sun, I resigned from the ball club.