WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Traffic to The Big E can be a bit frustrating at times, but just imagine trying to park thousands of those cars each day.
There is a dedicated group of people at Gate 9 who do that just that and love what they do.
After waiting 2 hours of traffic to get into the fair, you may be a bit aggravated, “then we just try to be polite to them as they come in and they cool down,” says Richard Fales, gate captain at The Big E.
The crew at Gate 9 is here to greet you with a friendly smile, and each day, pouring their heart and soul into the job.
“We are all retired. None of us really have to do this. Some people actually do this while they are on vacation from their regular job and they enjoy it,” explains Jeffrey Felix, a Gate 9 employee.
With four lanes of steady traffic flow, it isn’t always easy directing 10,000 cars efficiently.
“The lines are here. The lines are down there and we eventually get them all squeezed in,” Felix adds.
Three weeks, nine hours a day in the parking lot – rain or shine, hot and cold – you can count on them being there.
Each worker is decorated in pins marking years of service here at The Big E.
“This is my fourth year,” Felix says, while another parking attendant notes “This is my ninth year.”
And for Fales…37 years.
Coming up to the gate you probably have one thing on your mind: “I’m relieved to be at the gate and excited to be in the park to enjoy some food,” says Marcy Wise of Springfield.
But next time coming through sign number, think twice about sending a smile to the folks who rip your ticket and send you on your merry way.
“[What do you think about this guy?] I think he’s pretty awesome. He looks like he’s enjoying himself,” quips Mike Truken from Connecticut.