You know how radio DJs always are doing something crazy to attract attention? You know, like climbing to the top of a billboard and refusing to come down until the home team finally wins a game, or something like that? Well, the hosts of the Morning Show at KOMP 92.3-FM did something a little less narcissistic — and a little more philanthropic — before the Super Bowl to call attention to themselves.
They made four proposition bets on the big game for homeless Las Vegans (and doubled down for listeners). Two of the bets paid off.
You should have seen the expression on Victor the homeless guy’s face when the KOMP morning team handed him $375.
Victor had the Seahawks at minus 14½. Of course, Victor didn’t know that he had the Seahawks, or that he had won, because Victor doesn’t have a TV.
“I’m gonna buy me some clothes, I’m gonna buy me some jazz music, I’m gonna save some, so I can get some identification, so I can get a job. I’m gonna get me a haircut,” he said with the happy, toothless grin of a pro hockey player who had just won the Stanley Cup.
“I’m not going to get drugs or drinking or anything. Well, I might. You know, I might have a couple of beers to celebrate,” said Victor, who by then was bouncing up and down with his fists thumping the air, as if one of Peyton Manning’s deflected passes had just floated into his arms.
“But you know what I really want to do? I want to get my life right, so I can live like you guys do. You know what I’m sayin’? You guys give somebody $350 — $375 huh? — that’s like almost $400.”
Victor repeated each word comprising the rounded-off windfall with emphasis: Four ... Hundred ... Dollars. As if he still couldn’t believe it.
Amanda’s prop bet was “yes” on would there be a safety. Yes, there would be a safety. On the first play from scrimmage. Amanda won $350. Maybe she will use the money to go back to Kansas City, where’s she from, to see her kids. Although it’s pretty darn cold back in K.C. right now.
Amanda looks like she hasn’t been on the streets for nearly as long as Victor has. She told the KOMP guys she is a mortician, or at least works in the mortician business. She thought perhaps she could find a job here. That was three months ago. She told the KOMP guys you have to know somebody to get into the mortician business here.
She doesn’t know anybody like that here.
Doug Marsh, one of the KOMP Morning Show hosts, had the idea to make Super Bowl wagers for the homeless people. It was a little easier than climbing a billboard until Denver picked up a first down.
A self-proclaimed degenerate gambler, he didn’t use his own money to make the bets, or even the money of Andy Kaye, who helps host the Morning Show on the rare occasion he’s not throwing out the first pitch at 51s games.
Marsh made the bets with Dollar Loan Center’s money. Dollar Loan Center is one of the show’s sponsors.
He said you want to believe that Victor was being sincere about getting some clothes and a haircut and applying for a job and turning his life around; that Amanda would use her winnings to walk a couple of blocks down Fremont Street to the Greyhound terminal, to buy a bus ticket to Kansas City, to see her kids.
Maybe the odds of those things happening are no more greater than Peyton Manning leading Denver back from that huge halftime deficit on Sunday.
“Who knows if it will make a difference?” Marsh said. “But for one day ...”
But for one day, Victor and Amanda had a shot at redemption, and they would not have to ask a stranger for spare change.
Victor had $375 in his hand, and as he said, that’s almost $400, and he was bouncing up and down, and he was sort of waving that $375 around, though not intentionally.
The KOMP guys told Victor he might want to put the money in his pocket.
“Oh, yeah,” Victor said.
It probably had been awhile since he had held that kind of money. He probably had forgotten that’s what you are supposed to do with it, to put it in your pocket.
“I like to keep it in my hand, because I don’t like losing it,” Victor said.
After the KOMP guys returned to the studio, they put the audio of Victor receiving his money on the air, and on the 92.3 website. They said they had heard from people from as far away as Germany, who said they are pulling for Victor to buy some clothes and to get a haircut and all those other things he mentioned.
Las Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.