Baseball season marks the return of peanuts, Crackerjacks and the sight of Special Olympics Southern California athlete Trevor Hendershot at the Los Angeles Angels’ team store.
For six years, the 26-year-old from Irvine has balanced the life of athlete and greeter at the official team store for both the Angels and Anaheim Ducks.
Trevor’s father, Bob, said that his son’s employment is a testament to the skills he picked up through Special Olympics Orange County, which he competes with in basketball.
“He was told the best job he could get would be folding towels in a hotel laundromat,” Bob recalled. “Special Olympics helped him strive for more.”
But it wasn’t as simple as filling out an application and being handed a job. Trevor and his father were persistent, just asking for the opportunity for an interview like anyone else. If he wasn’t good enough to earn the job, there would be no hard feelings and no regrets.
What the Angels thought would be a 15-minute meeting turned into nearly an hour of Trevor displaying his charming personality and passion for working with a franchise he grew up rooting for. Trevor impressed them with his knowledge of not only the current roster, but also the 2002 World Series championship team.
Throughout the interview, Trevor’s enthusiasm left them impressed.
“It never would’ve happened if Special Olympics wasn’t there to provide the confidence and physical stamina,” Bob said.
Trevor, who has Down syndrome, is just one of many Special Olympics athletes who have made the successful transition into the work force. Several athletes have similar jobs with Special Olympics Southern California partner Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions.
Trevor’s employment has made an impact not just in his own personal development, but has positively influenced both organizations and store visitors.
“Trevor’s successful employment has opened the doors for the Angels and Ducks to hire other special needs individuals to work at their facilities,” Bob said. “Many special needs parents bring their children by the venues to meet Trevor and to be encouraged to reach for their own dreams in life.”
The hire also exercises the mission of Angels for Higher, a Christian-based movement to encourage employment for Down syndrome individuals at stadiums across the world. Trevor’s story is also detailed in the book, “Trevorized!: SOS Prayers to God Become Blessings,” written by his father and inspired by his hire.