Well, I am back in New York after 2 months in the Great Smokey Mountains. It has been 6 years since I worked at Dollywood and I must say everyone there is just as friendly as ever! Although I met many amazing people and could tell you many stories about Maniacs I met while there this year, there is
one that stands out in my mind above all others.
About 2 or 3 weeks in Dollywood, I noticed a very tall young man, wearing a purple shirt standing in line for the golf contest that we held 5 times a day. I thought to myself, wow he seems familiar, but couldn't for the life of me remember where I had seen him. I was standing behind the cash register at the end of the contest and look up to find this same young man standing in front of me.
|He would be the guy in the background wearing a purple shirt... no, the one on the right.|
He introduces himself as Kyle and says he met Ivan and I at Dollywood 6 years ago and with hand over his heart he begins to tell me how much Ivan and I meant to him all those years ago and how his time with us meant so much to him. Of course by now I'm teary eyed and trying my best to place him, I knew he looked familiar... Then along comes his Mom and Dad, and BAM I remember!!!
He was only about 11 or 12 when we met him, I remember his sweet parents always brought Ivan a slushy after he did the Golf contests back then and they were there every day of their vacation because that's what he wanted to do more than anything else while visiting from Florida. I had many delightful conversations with his parents and him and you know what he spent this vacation doing, at the age of 17? He came back to every Golf contest we held.
I still have a little blue and a purple Alien that he won and gave to me. It is because of stories like this, parents like this and maniacs like this that I SO love not only what I do for a living but what Myachi has done for so many. So, Kyle and Mr. and Mrs. Schaeffer, if you are reading this, I want you to know that you have all now impacted my life as well. I admire the relationship you all have with one another and the kindness that you all showed us during your visit, you were sorely missed after you returned home.
Now to all of you Maniacs out there that we met and spent time with at Dollywood, you guys made my summer. It was hard work and hot like you wouldn't believe but meeting and or reuniting with all of you made it all worthwhile. Thanks again to The Schaeffer family for sending me pics and making my time in Tennessee such a pleasure.