You’ll excuse diehard Seattle Seahawks fan Diego Montes if he doesn’t seem terribly excited the next time he sees an NFL game in person. It’s just that the bar has been set pretty high when the Perfection Glass employee’s first such experience came courtesy of an all-expenses paid trip from his employer to last week’s Super Bowl in the metropolitan New York City area, where his longtime favorite team manhandled the Denver Broncos for their first championship.
Montes says the nearly week-long journey was a dream come true.
“It was an unbelievable trip,” says Montes, a 12-year employee of the Seattle-area glass company. “I still can’t believe that I went to the Super Bowl. I had to ask my wife to pinch me to make sure it was real.”
A devout Seahawks fan who routinely sported his team’s jerseys at work and its vaunted “12th Man” flag honoring team fans along his truck, Montes, 36, had no idea what was coming when company owner Shawn Linhoff and other company executives called him into the office on the Tuesday following Seattle’s thrilling NFC Championship game win over the rival San Francisco 49ers on January 26.
Montes was stunned to hear that Linhoff had decided the day before to send him to the Super Bowl, as much a reward for his unbridled passion for the Seahawks as it was a sincere token of appreciation for the years of faithful service Montes has given the company in his role in the field as a glazier who installs mirrors and shower doors.
“Shawn Linhoff put it all together,” says Robert J. Rojas, the company’s vice president of operations. “Diego is such a die-hard fan and he’s done such a great job for us for 12 years. We just thought there was no better way to reward him than this. He was just in heaven.”
Montes says he was stunned by the gesture.
“I’m not gonna cry here,” he responded, “but I’m gonna cry at my house.”
The Kennewick, Wash.-based company picked up the tab for Montes’ Super Bowl ticket, airfare, hotel and meals for nearly a week as he made the most of his first trip to New York, including visits with a friend and going to places such as the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center and Ground Zero, among others.
Things just got better on Super Bowl Sunday.
With the Seahawks firmly in control from the outset of what would be an easy 43-8 victory, many Broncos began filing out of the stadium early, allowing Montes to move down close enough to the field to take pictures with the Seahawks cheerleaders and the wife of coach Pete Carroll.
Montes returned home on February 4, but not without first stopping to buy souvenirs for almost all of his colleagues. He says it was an experience he’ll never forget.
“It was one of the best trips of my life,” he says. “It was an awesome time.”