Fort Myers Florida Weekly

15 years later this couple a fixture at the park

Dick and Linda Mellon have worked Twins spring training for 15 years.

Dick and Linda Mellon have worked Twins spring training for 15 years.

Working Minnesota Twins spring training game at CenturyLink Sports Complex is not merely a job for Dick and Linda Mellon.

The Bonita Springs residents have been fixtures at the ballpark for more than 15 years. Mrs. Mellon started working concessions there in 2001 and her husband joined the staff the following year.

They can’t stay away, not even now as they’re cruising through their mid-70s.

It started with a newspaper want ad. Mrs. Mellon recalled the ad looking for part-time help at the ballpark asked, “Do you like baseball?”

The ad then asked those interested to come to the ballpark and fill out a form.

“I can remember my son (P.J.) saying to me because he’s been here since the ’96 ‘you’re not going to get that job,’” Mrs. Mellon said. “It’s a county job.”

But a call came a couple of days later from the stadium’s food and beverage manager. Mrs. Mellon was hired. And she is now on her seventh food and beverage manager.

She has stayed for a simple reason – she likes it.

“You get a chance to meet people from everywhere,” Mrs. Mellon said, sitting in the ballpark stands with her husband on a January afternoon. “I have a lot of regular customers. Not so much when I first started but now. I know their first names. I never ask for last names. I always ask for their first name and what they drink so when they come up if I have the opportunity I’ll have it all poured for them.”

That knack for remembering faces, names and drinks amazes her husband, who should. They will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary in October.

“She has one of those minds if you come up to her like three times the fourth time she will recognize you,” Mr. Mellon, 76, said.

It’s quite a feat. The Twins attracted 121,005 fans to their 15 home games last year, an average of 8,067 per game.

A connection is made between the woman selling beer and the regular fans, those who come back game after game and year after year. Mrs. Mellon said she received an email last year from one fan telling her that a regular customer had died.

The Mellons moved to Bonita Springs from Rhode Island, where they had resided in Cranston and then Exeter. Mr. Mellon worked for phone companies in repairs and Mrs. Mellon worked in banking and then in accounting for an automobile dealer.

Now, they work to help fans enjoy ballgames. They think their jobs are a lot better way to spend their time than watching television all day.

“We’ve heard so many retired people complaining about everything,” Mr. Mellon said. “I find it (the job) keeps me from being an old piss pot.”

When they’re out with the crowd and the Cracker Jack and the beer, they’re part of something grand.

“We’re part of life,” Mr. Mellon said.

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