Updated: Mar 13, 2020
As the evening comes to a close and everyone prepares to enter sleep I begin to look back at a journey that placed me in front of theme park doors. On a bright weekend day, I remember sitting in my family house in Littleton, talking with family and thinking about what my next job steps were going to be. At that point, I had worked in a restaurant and at several different retail outlets in the local malls. I was exhausted by both industries and wanted something unique. I was unsure of what that consisted of and similar to Tony in West Side Story, I was reaching for something, but did not know what. For me, it was not Maria, but instead a new life within a unique environment.
At that point, I was handed the newspaper that had an oversized ad of fun, sun and friendship. The ad got my attention, possibly due to the size, or the thrill of needing something different. I studied the ad and decided why not apply for a summer position at a theme park. The idea seemed intriguing. At that point, we did not have an online application, or other easier methods of applying for jobs. Applying for jobs meant that you dress up, you drive to the location, fill out the application and wait to be contacted, which is exactly what I did. I dressed up in a nice business outfit, drove to Denver from Littleton, parked underneath the 1-25 high way, walked into a building with my references and dates of past employment, stood in line, and filled out the application.
I was told, if we like you, we will call you. I got into my beat up, bright yellow Subaru wagon and drove back to Littleton. I waited and waited for that phone call and finally received it. I was scheduled an interview and had no idea as to what was in store for me. I went to my first interview and then six more followed. I remember thinking to myself, this seems odd, however, they could not figure out the best location for me. I already had work experience and was able to talk to guests in a very fluent manner and therefore, that somehow made their decision so much harder.
I finally ended up in area 1, which is in front of a theme park. I worked operating rides in KiddieLand, answering phones, handling first hand guest issues, and processing season passes. As the summer continued on, I realized how much I enjoyed the family that surrounded me. I had created bonds that even to this today are still very strong, but also created a foundation with every foot step on that pavement. My seasonal time had come to an end and I was surprised one day with an employee of the month award. I was presented the award in our theater and won a rafting trip with the other department winners. I was happy; I was where I needed to be and where I longed to be.
As I lay here thinking of how that journey started and how in one month from now, the theme park doors will open for its 130th birthday a chill came over me, for I started my journey at 20 and now at 44, I still find the job unique, fun, and fascinating. I might have moved through different positions, but still find the theme park as my forever escape for family, friends, and uniqueness.