Friday, June 27, 2014

An Open Letter to A-Rod

By Mahlia Lindquist
Dear Mr. Rodriguez,

I understand that you go by A-Rod, but we don’t know each other, so it feels a bit awkward to use your nickname. Until last week, I had never even heard of you, but I recently learned from Wikipedia that you are world famous.

I beg your pardon for not knowing that, but don’t take it personally. I tend to be clueless about celebrities, especially athletes. For example, when I started law school at Georgetown and heard talk of Patrick Ewing, I assumed he was one of the more well known law school professors. Of course, I eventually learned that Patrick Ewing was a star basketball player, just like now I know you are a great baseball player.

Me, I’m neither rich nor famous. Not that I am complaining. I am comfortable with lovely friends and family, including several wonderful nieces. One of my nieces is Bobbie, which brings me to the point of this letter.

Bobbie works at the front desk of a fancy gym with many wealthy patrons and some celebrity members, such as yourself. She gets paid $8 per hour. She is also a full time student at a community college. Although Bobbie is not famous, she is fairly remarkable. Her middle name is Joy, and it is apropos. She is effervescent and hardworking. She is an A student and hopes to transfer to the University of Miami. She will need a lot of financial aid because she gets nothing from either of her parents, and at $8 per hour it’s impossible to save much. Bobbie was raised in difficult and unstable environments and has not had the easy life enjoyed by all five of her cousins. Yet, I have never known her to be resentful of the disparity. I have also never known her to be rude, even when provoked by someone who is less than polite, which is what you were to her last week.

You may remember that she checked you in at the gym. Bobbie is probably one of the few people on this planet besides me who doesn't know of you. When you signed in simply as A-Rod and she was puzzled because she couldn’t find your name in the system, you were irritated and asked, “don’t you know who I am?” When Bobbie requested your friends to fill out the paperwork that guests of mere mortals must complete, you just walked away, returning shortly with her manager, who went through the motions of sucking up to you. 

Bobbie came to me upset, thinking she had done something wrong. She said that she had offended a VIP member of the gym, but still wasn’t sure who he was. Hearing the story, the first thing I thought was "this A-Rod is an A-hole" and did a quick internet search. But after reading about you, I realize that you’ve had a lot of problems lately and probably were just having a bad day.  Heck, I am ashamed to think of all the times I've been in a bad mood and taken it out on an underpaid service worker. 

I got to thinking that if you knew about Bobbie and how you made her feel, you might want to make amends. I have two ideas on how to do that.

One, you could help her get a raise. Based on her manager’s response, making you happy seems to be important to the company. The gym is part of a privately held corporation, with estimated annual revenues of over $744 million. With that kind of money, you might use your influence to see if there’s wiggle room to pay a living wage to employees who cheerfully serve their affluent and sometimes unreasonable clientele. 

Second, it would be great if you could help Bobbie achieve her dream of attending UM.  I imagine you have clout there, seeing as UM's  baseball stadium is named after you and all. If you were to put in a good word for Bobbie with the admissions and financial aid offices, I can promise that you would be doing a good thing for someone who deserves it and who is sure to pay it forward for years to come. 

Mr. Rodriguez, a lot of people have said a lot of bad things about you. Because you are A-Rod, it all gets reported, even if the stories are distorted or even false, and that can’t feel good.  I’ve noticed that hardly any of the stories about you mention your millions of dollars in philanthropy, which must seem unfair. It’s not too late to salvage your reputation, and no grand gestures or large contributions are required. You don't even need to help out Bobbie. All you need is empathy going forward.

You came to Miami as a child and had to struggle to learn english. Your dad left your mom alone to care for three kids and she waitressed to support all of you. Yet, you’ve been blessed with people in your life who took an interest in you and supported your talent. Please remember that the next young lady behind the desk has struggles of her own and is trying to make her way in life, just like you did.  The next waitress serving you might be a single parent struggling to support a family, just like your mom did. Think of how you would feel if someone treated your daughters, Natasha or Ella, the way you treated Bobbie. 


With empathy, little by little, you will change your reputation, your life and even the world for the better.  And, oh yes, though not strictly required, if you do what you can for Bobbie, that will help too -- her aunt will blog all about it.




  1. Ok...Now, Mr. A-Rod...step up!

  2. Great piece, now how will you get him to read it? Shall I do a little tweet and maybe share this to his fb page, if I can figure out how.

  3. ok I posted on his page

  4. Thanks! Let's see if he does the right thing -- or anything at all.

    BTW, I was watching an episode of Orange is the New Black and there was a reference to A-Rod. I was so excited that I knew what they are talking about!

    1. Great letter. You are a neat person, I can tell.

  5. While I do not agree with a rod being an a hole...this lady is just as fake. She claims to know of him and apparently knew his entire life half way through the letter. I mean did she spent a week searching him up. She was detailing everything he does...shes just trying to get money like a rod has done his entire life...too bad for the young girl.

  6. Hahaha this lady is so fake...saying she never heard of him and had look him she knows even how he was raised. I hope a rod helps the niece but this lady should be ashamed of herself.