Well it’s baseball season but since I don’t give a shit about a sport that revolves around payroll discrepancies (you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think big market teams have an advantage), I will just occasionally tell random personal stories about past experiences at Pirates games. Though I am not a fan of the team or the sport in general (sitting through my kid’s two and a half hour little league games that always seem to coincide with Pens playoff games don’t help endear me to it) I have actually been to a lot of Pirates games. During high-school and college I worked for them part-time as a minimum wage pee-on doing odd jobs on game days. I probably went to every home game during those years (albeit as an employee). There were some notable moments that I will probably write about at some point (it’s a freaking long season) but for the most part the job was uneventful.
One of the best assignments was when you were on golf cart duty. This was back at Three Rivers Stadium which for those who don’t recall was much larger than PNC park and had lots of parking lots directly adjacent. There were four entrances with long ramps leading from the parking lots. The walk to the gates could be a struggle for anyone who was old or handicapped so we had a couple of large golf carts that patrolled the parking lots prior to games to offer rides. The carts could seat five passengers comfortably. It was a great gig for several reasons, but the primary one was tips!
You could easily pocket an extra hundred dollars or more from tips on days when you were lucky enough to land golf cart duty. For a college kid like me at that time, that extra cash was a huge deal. We soon found out that drunk guys who wanted to impress their drunk friends were the best fucking tippers. Old people and handicapped people (who the carts were actually intended for) were the worst tippers so we avoided them at all costs. (Not only did they rarely tip but they also took FOREVER to get in and out of the cart so it infringed on the time that you could have been picking up DRUNKEN ASSHOLES WHO HAD WADS OF CASH.) By the way we were forbidden by management to accept tips so just in case any of my superiors were watching, my standard response to anyone who offered a tip was “Thanks! Just leave it on the dash.” An older, wiser employee also tipped me off to starting the day with some of your own cash on the dash like a tip jar, so riders would understand that TIPS WERE ENCOURAGED AND EXPECTED. Pretty sure the IRS statute of limitations has passed so I also want to say FUCK YOU IRS I NEVER REPORTED A PENNY OF MY DIRTY GOLF CART MONEY. (Just kidding! LOL. I have no idea what the IRS statute of limitations is.)
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a terrible sense of direction. (My first job was ten minutes from my house and the commute was mostly through residential streets. Once there was construction on one street which forced me to take a different route and I was FORTY-FIVE MINUTES late that day.) I am even worse at giving directions. I don’t know how many fans at Pirates games would ask me for directions as they left the stadium and ended up getting car-jacked in the middle of nowhere because I had no idea what I was talking about. Anyway, golf cart duty didn’t really require a good sense of direction because you’d have to be a fucking idiot to get lost going from the parking lot to the stadium. BUT I AM THAT FUCKING IDIOT.
To be fair, in this particular incident, the rider wasn’t simply going to the stadium, but asked if I could take her as close to the Carnegie Science Center as possible. She was a young mother, probably in her early thirties, carrying an infant in one of those carriers that you strap to your chest. It was Fall and it was getting dark and the game had already started but she was supposed to meet someone who hadn’t shown so she wanted to go back to the Science Center to see if they were still there. I told her that not only could I take her close to the Science Center, but I could take her right to it! She thanked me and hopped on.
I had remembered that there was a path that went from the stadium directly to the back of the Science Center along the river. It was kind of a remote, wooded area. I can’t remember why, but someone had shown me the path once and for some reason I thought that I could find it and take this woman and her child to their destination. Well, I was wrong. There were a couple different paths and I ended up taking the wrong one. I remember back-tracking once or twice and really starting to feel like a fucking idiot. What should have been a quick two minute ride was probably going on ten minutes and I was feeling really embarrassed. YOU COULD SEE THE FUCKING SCIENCE CENTER FROM THE STADIUM. HOW THE FUCK COULD I GET LOST? Finally, I hear the woman say (in a quivering voice) “Just please let me out here.” I was puzzled but before I came to a complete stop she jumped out with her baby and started sprinting away.
It took me a few seconds to piece it together but then it hit me that HOLY SHIT SHE THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO RAPE AND KILL HER AND HER KID AND THROW THEM IN THE RIVER. I felt horrible. How could she think that? Not only was I a nice guy forgoing tips from drunks to take her out of the way to the Science center, but I was clearly a Pirates employee with a uniform and a name tag. Name tags are so official! I was upset that she terribly and unfairly mislabeled me but I also felt really bad for her. I obviously had no intentions of scaring her let alone hurting her or her baby. To make matters worse by that point I kind of knew where I was but to get back to the stadium, I would have had to go in the same direction that she ran off too. I couldn’t make it seem like I was chasing her, so I had to just kind of sit there and wait. In shame. (First and only time anyone ever confused me for a psychopath.) I wonder if she ever told anybody about it? I hope she ended up making out okay because she did kind of just run off into the darkness all alone. I wonder how much faster she would have made it to the Science Center on foot in the first place? I wonder if God has video footage of the incident so some day I could sit in his office and review it with him and maybe he could pinpoint exactly where it was that I started giving off rape vibes? Well, anyway, if she happens to be reading, I would like to clear the air and apologize and hopefully she understands that I was just lost and not trying to make a hat out of her boobs. And also, FUCK HER for making me feel like a scumbag! Not cool, lady!