Meet Bette Sullivan, another passenger in my book “1001 Train Rides in Chicago” soon to be published by Eckhartz Press.
Growing up on the North Side, Bette Sullivan naturally became a diehard Cubs fan. While she and her husband Fred worked and raised their family in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood, they only went to a few games a year, despite living a few miles from Wrigley Field. Fred passed away three years ago, and now her three kids and their families are scattered across the country.
In early 2016, a neighbor told her that the Cubs like to hire senior citizens as ushers. Bette thought that this might be a perfect opportunity to keep her busy in a social setting. She went down to the ballpark, filled out some forms, and to her amazement was hired about a month later as a “Guest Services Ambassador.” Even more amazing that year, she was able to be at the park for almost every home game that the Cubs played on the way to their first World Series championship in over a hundred years.
She gets the Brown Line at Rockwell; a one block walk from her home. Bette takes the train to Belmont, and usually walks down Sheffield for three blocks to get to the ballpark. There are so many people milling around Wrigleyville after the game that she always feels safe walking back to Belmont, even at night.
Bette, a social person by disposition, derives great pleasure in ushering. She enjoys kibitzing with the fans and the vendors and has even made a few friends among her usher colleagues. She gets a kick out of wearing her “uniform” of a Cubs shirt and hat. People on the train often chat with her. Sometimes she feels like a celebrity.
She hopes that she continues working there. She really doesn’t care about what she gets paid. It’s pretty much pin money anyway. Fred left her well provided, and if she ever wanted to sell her house, she would probably get a million dollars for it.
The job really keeps her connected to people and the world around her. She misses the action during the off-season, although she enjoys traveling to visit her family out of state. But she constantly dreams about the excitement at being at the ballpark, as she patiently awaits the next Opening Day.