Elvira Mullin, the 92-year-old Rays fan who has been making headlines lately, finally realized her lifelong dream of attending a major league playoff game on Friday.
Mullin, who once lived in the Gas Plant area now occupied by Tropicana Field, made news because the City Council decided to offer her and her daughter, Delceda Thompson, 75, two highly coveted tickets to the game.
Mullin said Friday she still couldn't believe she'd be seeing her favorite team live at the playoffs after all these years. Best of all, there was one more great surprise in store for one of the Rays' biggest fans.
Mullin was making sure she had packed the essentials — her brand new Rays cap, her team cowbell and a disposable camera. That's when a white-gloved man dressed in a bow-tie rang her doorbell. "I'm Steve," he said. "And I'm here to take you to the game."
Mullin peered beyond Steve Reed the chauffeur to see an enormous white sedan parked out in front — a 1962 Rolls-Royce. Mullin would be riding to the Trop in class.
"A Rolls-Royce? Is that what that is?" Mullin asked. "I've heard of Rolls-Royce, just never seen one."
The car was also Rays-themed, with a team flag attached to the passenger windows on both sides of the car. "Oh wow," said the shocked Mullin as she examined her ride. "I know I've never been in one of those before!"
The ride was offered by Allstar Limousine in St. Petersburg. One of Allstar's managers heard about Mullin's nearly century-long wait to see a playoff game in person.
"She's a dedicated fan, there's no question about it. We were also really amazed that her house was where the stadium now is," said Mike Wilkes, operations manager for Allstar. "We thought that giving her a first-class ride to the game would make it even more special."
Mullin lives just minutes away from Tropicana Field, so Allstar decided to pick her up early and give her a tour of downtown.
"The Rolls-Royce was just the icing on the cake for her," said Terri Scott, the City Council's administrative officer.
It was Scott who by chance spotted Mullin on one of her morning strolls and noticed that she was dressed entirely in Rays gear. After bringing her to the attention of City Council Chairman Jamie Bennett, Mullin was offered two city-issued tickets to Friday's game. She also received a brand new Rays cap, a team cowbell and a city pen.
"Oh boy, I feel like a real celebrity now," Mullin said as she and Thompson were driven around town. Pedestrians looked baffled and entertained as they watched the mammoth white antique with Rays flags fluttering on both its sides roll down Central Avenue. Every so often, someone would stop to take a picture. Mullin would always smile for the camera.
"This is great, this is one of the happiest days," she said as the chauffeur drove her to Tropicana Field. "I'm real happy," added Thompson. "I'm happy because my mom's happy. We're both going to remember this forever."