From the New York Daily News’ Jordan Lite.
An elderly usher who worked at Shea Stadium for 42 years has filed a $5 million damage suit against the Mets charging he was fired because he’s too old.
William Cook says he’s not the only veteran who has been pushed out by the team.
“They got rid of the old-timers. This is strictly discrimination,” said Cook, 76, of Brooklyn. “There’s no other word that would describe the situation.”
On the field, the Mets have no qualms about playing Julio Franco, who, at 48, is the oldest major leaguer. But Cook said his supervisor told him in April that he wouldn’t “last this season” after he found out how old he was. He was let go in July, and the stress was so bad he had a heart attack, Cook says.
“A day wouldn’t pass when this supervisor wouldn’t ask me how old I was. It was a stress, it was a weight on me: Why is this guy asking me for my age? This went on month after month,” Cook said.
“They treated me like garbage. And at 76, to get anything comparable to what I had, those days are over. You don’t get a job anymore,” he added.
In a complaint filed Monday in Queens Supreme Court, Cook alleges that a supervisor, Vincent Montemarno, berated him in front of other ushers and fans. One supervisor called him a “piece of crap” and “a rat,” the documents said.
Without sounding cavalier about the serious issue of age discrimination, if Mr. Cook or any other “usher” at Shea Stadium has performed a valuable function besides demanding a tip and/or harrassing patrons who have the temerity to change seats during poorly attended blowouts, it’s news to me.