OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Posing as a pizza delivery man, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera surprised longtime Athletics employee Julie Vasconcellos by visiting her in the mail room where she has worked going on 25 years.
Rivera carried in a pizza box Wednesday night and brought Vasconcellos to tears as he thanked her for 2½ decades of hard work behind the scenes.
"This is my way to say thank you, thank you for what you do," Rivera told Vasconcellos, who declined to give her age other than "old." ''Twenty-five years, Julie, that's great! You're special, Julie, that's what it is. People here love you."
Rivera signed a ball for Vasconcellos, gave her several hugs and posed for photos — then he stuck around to chat for another 10 minutes or so.
"Oh, my heart's going to town, oh my God," said Vasconcellos, who had to sit down at one point. "I'm shaking. ... Oh, this is too funny, thank you."
Rivera asked if she was OK, to which she responded, "I'm just shocked. I'm never going to forget your face again."
He chuckled at that one.
The 43-year-old Rivera said this is the most creative display of appreciation yet during his farewell tour before he heads into retirement after his 19th major league season.
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