One of the most familiar faces at Whataburger Field during baseball season doesn't belong to a player on the Hooks roster. Carlos Cavazos has been with the organization from the beginning, and has shown great ability beyond his disability.
Cavazos says his journey with the Hooks started out by simply going to a job fair, and getting a subsequent call back.
Recalling a conversation with his first boss, Cavazos says, "She goes, 'Are you interested in being an usher?' I told her, 'Well, I'm in a wheelchair.' And she kind of paused for a while. And she said, 'Well, how about being a greeter?' And I said okay."
That seems to have been the approach to Carlos' disability since he started working with the Hooks -- acknowledge it, then move on.
"All my life I've been independent," Cavazos explains. "So coming into this organization, they treat me like every other person instead of babying me. And that's what I love about this organization."
Cavazos says that independent spirit was instilled in him by his mother for the time he was a small child. He was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that prevents a baby's spinal cord from properly developing. But Cavazos says his mom never let him think that there's anything he can't do.
That attitude has served him well in the Hooks organization, where he's worked his way up to lead greeter.
"I'm going on my third season and if Carlos wasn't here, I know things at all of our gates wouldn't run as smooth as they would," says Brett Howsley, customer service manager for the Hooks and one of Cavazos' supervisors.
"There's been times I help out at the gates -- scan tickets, check bags -- and there's a lot I don't know up there. So I directly look at Carlos. 'Carlos, I need your help.' So even though I'm his supervisor, he knows more than I do at the gates with the scanners, the procedures. So, his experience really comes in handy."
Howsley also calls Cavazos somewhat of a local celebrity because of his other venture in sports. He and a couple of his friends founded a wheelchair basketball team called the Corpus Christi Rimz several years ago.
Speaking of his experience with the team, Cavazos explains, "I never had it when I was child so now that I'm older and we founded it, it's a whole new world for me to play adaptive sports."
While that may be a new world, Whataburger Field is like home for Cavazos. He hopes his work ethic and positive attitude can be an inspiration to anyone who may be struggling to deal with their disability.
"Just because you have a disability, it doesn't mean that your life's ended. You've got to push yourself. Nobody's going to push it for you. So get out there."
Howsley says that outlook is what has made Cavazos a favorite of the fan base and the organization.
"Everyone in the front office loves him. We love him," Howsley says. "So, it definitely wouldn't be the same if he wasn't here."
Fortunately, Cavazos says he doesn't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
"As long as they keep me here in this organization, I'm here to stay. They can't get rid of me yet."
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