With an influx of people in metro Atlanta for Super Bowl 53, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has taken time to highlight five faces in the crowd of thousands each day leading up to the big game. They may be from miles away, or they may be your neighbor. Here are the five stories from Tuesday you should know.
Atlanta family at odds when it comes to Rams, Pats
Two years ago, with the Falcons leading 28-3, four-year-old Liam Patel made a bet with his father.
If the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LI, the father Darsit Patel would take him to Boston to get a Tom Brady jersey.
With Tom Brady at media day Monday at State Farm Arena, a now six-year-old Liam cheered — wearing his blue Tom Brady jersey. In many ways, that 2017 Patriots win damaged the family relationships.
Darsit and Ketal Patel met in the early 2000s as students at UGA. They instilled in their children — Liam and 8-year-old Ava — a strong love for the Atlanta Falcons.
“We are big Falcons fans and we raised them as Falcons fans,” said Darsit Patel. “But Liam became a Patriots fan and Brady fan when they played the Falcons.”
The Patels also raised their children to love the Georgia Bulldogs.
But Bulldogs graduate.
Watching the draft, Ava Patel became a fan of the Cleveland Browns and Nick Chubb.
“She is the ultimate Chubb fan,” Ketal Patel said.
Ava’s Christmas present this year was a trip to Cleveland to see the Browns.
Liam’s? Another trip to Foxboro.
Still, former Bulldog Todd Gurley stars in the backfield for the Rams, which is partly why the women in the family are for the Rams.
Former Dawg Sony Michel stars for the Patriots, which is where the men’s allegience leans. And of course there is Brady.
“All he does is tell us how many rings Brady has,” Darsit said of his son.
As the family waited anxiously for the Pats to show up Monday, Liam’s parents know what he’ll say when he sees Brady.
Liam smiles and blurts: “LFG!!!!!”
The Patels laugh.
“That is Tom Brady’s favorite expression,” Darsit Patel said. “Let’s f——g go!!!”
— Ernie Suggs
Four Seasons Hotel worker delivers room service with a smile
During Super Bowl LIII, Abby Hagos will start her work shift at 5:30 a.m., when many Atlantans are hitting the snooze button for an extra hour or so to sleep.
Hagos delivers room service to guests at the Four Season Hotel in Midtown.
She’s been at the luxury hotel chain for 22 years, one of the longest-serving employees at the hotel.
Her goal, she said, is to make the dining experience memorable for guests.
She does so with a smile, timeliness and friendly demeanor. It’s a practice she has honed after several years in the hospitality industry, where personalized, good service can sometimes determine whether a guest returns.
When they do, many remember Hagos because she doesn’t mind going the extra mile.
One of her co-workers makes a delicious tea, which is good for energy and to help with cold symptoms. If Hagos notices, a guest feels under the weather, she suggests they try the tea.
She won’t identify some of the famous people who have stayed in the hotel. If she recognizes a guest who is registered under another name, she refers to them by the name they have given the hotel.
More than 150,000 out-of-town fans are expected to visit the city during Super Bowl LIII. And Hagos is excited about the guests she will get to meet and serve during the busy weekend.
A native of Eritrea, Hagos moved to the United States in 1984 with her husband. The two met in Sudan and are the parents of three adult children.
She’s been named employee of the month. Twice.
“I’m proud of myself for working here,” she said.
— Shelia M. Poole
Artist behind Tiny Doors ATL shows off a much larger piece
On Thursday Karen Anderson, the artist also known as Tiny Doors ATL, introduced a “Not So Tiny Door” to her repertoire.
Standing outside the Hotel Indigo, dressed in a short, fuzzy orange jacket and a raspberry knit hat (to match her hair), Anderson was Lilliputian next to her newest creation.
That door, a blue-green giant, is 14 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. That’s considerably bigger than her usual creations, which are all, well, tiny. (About 7 inches tall, each weighs less than a pound.)
“The world’s eyes are on ATL right now,” said the 36-year-old artist. “Atlanta has so much rich culture, it would be impossible to miss the street art here.”
It might be easy to miss street art that’s only seven inches tall, so she amped up her scale.
“This was an opportunity for me to bring some street art in a big way.”
This door was sponsored by Indigo’s parent company, IHG Hotels, to welcome Super Bowl visitors with what they call “Home Team Hospitality.”
It will also give visitors an excuse to hunt out some other Anderson doors: in front of the Fox Theatre, on the BeltLine, at the Georgia Aquarium, at the Krog Street Tunnel, in Cabbagetown and a few other places.
The Ann Arbor native is an unabashed fan of her new home, even when Atlanta is embarrassingly paranoid about snow.
“A snow day is a state of mind in Atlanta,” said Anderson. “We all just agree that it’s going to be a snow day, and whether it snows or not doesn’t really matter. I think its collectively pretty cute.”
— Bo Emerson
Italian TV reporter helps his country ‘get a feel for Atlanta’
Several hundred reporters are working this week in a massive media work space inside the Georgia World Congress Center. One of them is Marco Russo, a TV reporter from Italy who works for the sports streaming service DAZN.
“We will talk about the match,” said Russo who is based in Milan. “But it’s important for us to bring the atmosphere to people in Italy. We want the people in Italy to feel what we are feeling.”
He and a colleague have already worked on a feature about the World of Coca-Cola, and they plan to feature a segment about the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park later this week.
“We want people to get a feel for Atlanta,” said Russo, 26. “I’m from southern Italy where people are known for being very warm and that is like the people here.”
Russo said he’s been struck by the friendly atmosphere in Atlanta.
“People here are nice, they help with you with directions, anything,” he said. “And the smiles. Everyone smiles at you.”
Russo said interest in football and the NFL is growing in Italy. He said as many as 500,000 Italians will be turning to DAZN to watch the big game Sunday. With a six hour time difference, a 6:30 p.m. kick off Sunday translates into an after-midnight start time in Italy. Russo said many fans of the game will head to the bars to watch the game. Others will stay home and some, he said, will sip coffee to stay awake for the entire game.
Even so, soccer remains the most popular sport – by a lot.
“Soccer is like a religion in Italy,” he said. “Like seriously.”
— Helena Oliviero
Steakhouse server can’t escape from New England roots
Artelle Peters, 64, has worked in the restaurant industry for 30 years. You might even say that hospitality runs in the blood of this Native American who is a member of the Wampanoag tribe.
“We were the first tribe to welcome the Pilgrims,” he said with pride.
Peters has been welcoming guests at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Buckhead for the last eight years. And, as Atlanta hosts this year’s Super Bowl, this pro server has been taking care of an amped-up sports crowd and VIPs for the past few days who are getting wined and dined thanks to corporate buyouts.
With so much traffic at the restaurant this week, Peters has had to stay on his game, but he has had time to look up and see a few famous faces take a seat at the restaurant, including Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Having moved to Atlanta from Florida 25 years ago, Peters has developed an allegiance to the Peach State, but when it comes to Super Bowl LIII, he’ll be rooting for New England. After all, he did live in Boston for a spell and he’s a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He noted that others from Team Davio’s will stand squarely in New England’s corner when they line up against the L.A. Rams.
“The owner, Steve (DiFillippo), is from there,” he said. “We are big Patriots fans.”
But, said Peters, when it comes to the weather, Atlanta beats Beantown hands down.
“Boston is too cold. Florida is too hot. Atlanta is just right.”
— Ligaya Figueras
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