About a week ago, the conversation on Softy's show turned to the Mariners, as it so often does.  Softy was talking about the changes in demand for Mariners tickets over the past 12 years.  In 2001, Softy said, it was impossible to hold on to Mariners tickets, the phone lines would light for any giveaway involving a pair of tickets; that's understandable, they set a MLB record for most wins in the regular season; who wouldn't want to see that?!?  Softy then compared that time to the current situation and lamented that now we can barely give away tickets, a bit of an exaggeration, but the point was understood.  Perhaps, in our profession, it's easy to become jaded to the opportunities available to us, perhaps many of us take things for granted that others would be thrilled about.  I know that I still enjoy going to a Mariners game and I watch them on TV every night, but I understood what Softy was saying. 

   As I scrolled through the text messages on the topic, one stood out.  So many texts come in complaining about the local teams, annoyed by the topic or the host; you name it, we get it; this text, from Mark Fowler was different.  Mark wrote in to say that he had an opportunity for us for the next time we couldn't get rid of tickets.  Mark told me that he has a family of six, he and two of his sons are disabled and all of them are die-hard Mariners fans and it's very difficult for all of them to be able to go to a game.  I sent Mark a text back and told him, if we ever had an extra pair or two, we would let him know.  Mark is a long time listener of the station, and the fact that he was reaching out, and was still optimistic about the Mariners was a breath of fresh air!  What happened next is proof positive that our jobs provide us with some really cool opportunities; I sent an email over the Kevin Martinez, PR guru for the Mariners, and explained the text I got from Mark.  I asked Kevin if he could help me send this family to a game.  He responded immediately and asked if Mark and his family would be able to go to the game on May 11th.  I gave Mark a call and told him who I was, which surprised him, then asked if the Fowler family would be able to go to a Mariners game the following Saturday.  The emotion in Mark’s voice is something I will never forget, he was so surprised and so grateful.  It was apparent that Mark sent in his text as a true Mariners fan and KJR listener and didn’t anticipate much coming from it; to be able to give them the opportunity to see the Mariners was the best feeling in the world. 

  Kevin emailed me tickets, which I sent on to Mark and the Silver Cloud Hotel hooked them up with some parking for the game.  I emailed Mark the tickets and parking info and asked him to send me a photo of the family at the game; he responded with this- “I'm speechless and my wife is literally in tears. I would be honored to take photos for you. I can't thank you enough. You have now replaced Softly as my favorite KJR personality. Thank you so much!! The Fowler family.” Yeah, I liked the part about replacing Softy as his favorite as well! I thought about the Fowlers all day on Saturday and couldn’t wait to hear how it went and when I came into work today I had this waiting for me-

Good morning Ashley;

Wow what a game, even though the outcome wasn't what everyone hoped for.  My family had a wonderful time, and we owe it all to you and Kevin.  But mostly you. It's not often that a person comes along who genuinely cares about others.

We took photos with our phones which I'm trying to get from the kids, however they are nothing compared to the one I'm sending.

I spoke to one of the mariner photographers ( Ben Van Houten) and he took the photo that I am sending.

In the photo are from left to right- Me in my wheelchair, my wife of 29 years (Shelley), my youngest son Nathanielle, his best friend Elliott, my oldest son Tony, and on the far right is our miracle son Andrew.  Tony and Andrew are both disabled. Tony from an accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury and Andrew, from birth. Missing is my 16 yr old, Nicholas. He had a rugby playoff game and was unable to attend.

My family will never forget what you did for us. Thank you so much.

Mark Fowler

To Mark and his family, I say Thank YOU! Thank you for reminding me what it’s all about, family and sharing special moments with loved ones.  Thank you for being a diehard Mariners fan, I too am a Mariners fan to the core, but it’s sometimes hard to remember that, given the often pessimistic attitude of sports fans.  Optimism can be difficult to maintain when everyone around you is driving the bitter bus.  Thank you for reminding me why I love the Mariners and why I love this city.

Sincerely, Your #1 fan,

Ashley Ryan