I saw on the news tonight that longtime EnergySolutions Arena/Delta Center/Salt Palace usher Wally Price has died. Wally was a coworker. And a friend.
Wally worked at the "back" entrance, where the players and VIP's came and left. Legend has it that when Larry H Miller designed his arena, he asked Wally where he wanted to work and built the rest of the arena around it. When Larry died, Wally spent 3 hours in line at the viewing, despite the fact that several people, including at least one Miller family member, told him that he didn't have to wait, he could go to the front of the line. Wally refused, because he was "regular people," and regular people waited in line.
That was Wally. He was regular people. If the ushers had to pick up folding chairs after the game, Wally was right there helping, until our boss told Security to escort him away. This happened multiple times, but Wally wasn't going to let being in his 90s be an excuse for not doing something.
Wally was excited when he discovered that I was a fellow Mormon Democrat. After he discovered this, he always would find something to say to me about the Republicans, the Tea Party, the Legislature, or President Obama. Sometimes he'd just greet me with "How's my favorite Democrat?"
One of Wally's favorite things to say when people told him it was good to see him was "It's better to be seen than to be viewed." I asked him what it meant, and his reply was that if you're being seen, you are breathing and have a pulse, but if you're being viewed, it means that you're lying in a box in the Relief Society Room.
The last time I sat down and spoke with Wally, it was a Jazz game about six weeks ago. I asked him how he was doing. He said that he had a few things wrong with him, but that was expected of a man his age. I told him that a man half his age would be doing good with only a few things wrong with him. He told me that he probably wouldn't be alive much longer, but if he's still around when I ran for office, that I needed to call him so that he could be my first endorsement. I told him that I've heard the "I'm dying" talk for him for the past decade, and that I had given up believing him, and that he would be one of the first people I'd contact if I ever ran for office.
Godspeed Wally Price. Until we meet again, my friend.