Ryan O’Connor’s trip to Game 1 of the World Series started on a plane.
He was returning to Kansas City a few days ago when he struck up a conversation with Royals pitcher Danny Duffy’s dad. He recalls joking with him about how he wished he had a ticket to the big game.
That story somehow came up in conversation Tuesday, when he was serving lunch to a family at Rock & Brews at Prairiefire in Overland Park.
O’Connor had no idea he was talking to Katelyn Davis, wife of Royals’ relief pitcher Wade Davis, and her family.
After dropping the check off at the her table, O’Connor said he was turning to leave when Katelyn Davis said, “Wait, don’t go just yet.” She asked if he was working that night. He said yes.
Then she said, “I was going to give you a tip, but I thought you’d like this better,” and pulled out a ticket to that night’s game against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium.
“I was dumbfounded,” O’Connor, 21, recalled Wednesday. “I didn’t know what to say.”
He went straight to his manager and asked for the night off. When he showed his manager the ticket, “my GM said it gave him chills just seeing it.”
O’Connor’s request was approved. Katelyn Davis told O’Connor that he’d have to sit with them, “but we’re a pretty cool family.”
O’Connor said it was an “awesome” and “amazing” experience.
“I never expected to go to a World Series game,” said the Royals fan from Olathe.
He learned that Katelyn Davis had an extra ticket because her sister could only make it to tonight’s Game 2. “She said the moment seemed just right to give it to me,” O’Connor said.
Though the Royals never had the upper hand in the eventual 7-1 loss, he said the crowd he was with kept their hopes up for the rest of the series.
After the game, O’Connor met Wade Davis, and again saw Duffy’s dad (Duffy pitched Tuesday). The story of his incredibly lucky trip spread like wildfire through media sites late Tuesday into Wednesday. He has been interviewed for radio shows and on television.
“I woke up today to my phone lit up with stuff,” he said. “It’s been quite the experience, but the interviews have made the whole experience better.”
He also thinks his story is another great example — remember relief pitcher Brandon Finnegan giving away free tickets too? — of who the Royals are.
“They’re just all-around good people.”