Someone is banging on the van door. I know it is a kid or a parent that wants to see the Phanatic. But the appearance is over and I am exhausted. I am half in and half out of the costume and I can’t destroy the illusion that the Phillie Phanatic is real and I just want a few minutes of peace!
The Phanatic van was both a blessing and a curse. It was a mobile performance studio. I could pull right up to any event, dress, take breaks and the private space provided me the ability to suspend belief. The Phanatic was a living, breathing creature! The curse was that everyone knew where the Phanatic was.
The van featured wonderful artwork that screamed, “This is the Phanatic’s van!” Prompting every man, woman and child to knock on the door and ask for a moment with the big green guy.
Another bang on the door. As I reached for the latch on the door, I was thinking, “Why are you doing this?” The Phanatic costume was in a green heap on the floor. This is bound to be a mom with her young daughter and the site of a disembodied Phillie Phanatic will scar her for life!
Yet still, I opened the door. To my surprise, I saw the face of a young man about 30 years old. He smiled weakly and said, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I’m thinking, “No you can’t! I’m sweating, uncomfortable and it is cramped in here. Not to mention the Phanatic is “out of body!” But instead I said, “Sure come on in. Please excuse the Phanatic for not being…presentable.”
He sat down and said, “I’m embarrassed to be here.” I thought he meant he was embarrassed to be a fan of the Phillie Phanatic, so I said with a smile, “No worries the Phanatic has fans of all ages.” “No”, he said, “I just left my wife alone with my son in his hospital room! My son just got out of brain surgery yesterday and he is not responsive. My wife and I are panicked. I couldn’t take it anymore so I just left, not sure where I was headed.
But then I turned the corner and I saw the Phillie Phanatic jumping into his van. My son has become a huge Phillies fan because he loves the Phanatic and I thought, this is why I left. If I could get the Phanatic to visit maybe that would help my son in some way. Could you please help?”
Just 30 minutes earlier I was sitting in the van, sweating, exhausted and thinking that I had the worst job in the world! After all, I am always working when everyone else was celebrating. I couldn’t celebrate the holidays with my family. I wish I had a normal job. It’s the worst!
“Yes!” I said. I jumped into the Phanatic costume and we hustled down the street, around the corner and right into Thomas Jefferson hospital, ignoring all protocol and approvals. Up the elevator, as the Phanatic was high fiving surprised visitors and hospital staff, with the anxious father leading the way to his son’s room. Dad walked into the room first where his wife greeted him with a hug. The Phanatic peeked in with his head first and then stumbled into the room.
His son immediately shot up to a sitting position exclaiming, “Hey, it’s the Phanatic!” Mom started to cry and then laughed as a doctor arrived because of the commotion created by the arrival of the big green guy. No one completely understood what happened in that hospital room, including me, but a few minutes later I was back in the Phanatic’s van feeling so happy that I had gone along for the ride.
The knock on the van door that day was perspective! During difficult times in my life I find myself remembering that day. Perspective is always knocking and waiting for us to open the door. Let perspective in and remember…It’s not the worst!
Looking forward to hearing your stories about how perspective has helped you during the last few months. Please stop by daveraymondspeaks.com and let me know how it has helped you.