Bus Rides, the Airport and Pinball

By Melvyns28

January 05, 2022

21 days ago

   So it began in the summer of 77' when my parents took us kids to the bowling alley 7 miles from our house. while everybody (8 of us) were bowling. I was enamored with the sounds coming from the large room in the back. As a 7 year old I wondered over to that room that was filled with arcades and pinball. I damn near peed myself. I never seen anything like it. A dude playing Grand Prix said "hey kid, do you want to finish my game I have to leave?" That was my first pin I ever played and I was hooked. I asked my dad if I could have some quarters to play. He said "this bowling event cost enough so no."

   Fast forward two weeks and the first day of summer, my brother was moving to Texas for work so we had to take him to the airport. There as we were walking through the parking garage I saw an empty airport cart. I grabbed it and returned it to it's station not knowing I would get a quarter back for my efferts. A big fat light went off in my head. The Metro bus system route went right by my house all the way to Seattle International Airport and back passing by the bowling alley. Almost every day I would get up in the morning, get on the bus, ride it to the airport and chase down those abandond carts returning them to their stations for quarters. It would take me 3 to 4 hours to collect 8 to 10 bucks. I would take the bus back stopping by the bowling alley to play Pinball. I saved .75 cents for a couple of candy bars for the bus ride home. Rinse and repeat almost everyday. 

   A few years later I got a paper route and no longer needed to go to the airport, so came Flash, Gorgar, Firepower. etc.  pins just got better and I made more money to play them. I never thought as a kid that these pins that I loved to play so much would one day be owned by me. I've owned every pin I ever played at one point as a kid. I've owned over 60 pins now.

And the rest is history.

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15 days ago

Great story. Growing up in Tacoma I think I know the place you are talking about. My first Pinball experience growing up was at the B & I with Ivan the Gorilla (No I didn't play pinball with him). I just never got that far north.

15 days ago

One of the best stories I ever heard on pinside.

15 days ago

I enjoyed this one. Thanks for this!

14 days ago

Yep..............it started in a bowling alley for me also. About the same time. Good times

14 days ago

The B and I. Awesome. Played many, many, many times at the B and I. Also the Bowling alleys in Parkland, and Tower lanes and the Narrows alleys. Also Magoo's Anex in the North End. All good!

11 days ago

Great story, Melvyn. Indeed one of the best I've read. Thank you.

9 days ago

So much to love.

A 7 year old riding the bus to the airport to cash in luggage carts to play pinball? Crazy and awesome and definitely not something that could happen today - child protective services would be called!

I imagine you have not been afraid of work in the ensuing years.....

6 days ago

Thats an awesome story! thanks for the fun read!

4 days ago

Cool story. I also got hooked in a bowling alley...in Salem. My dad was in a Thursday bowling league at Cherry City Bowl, and I'd play pinball while he bowled. "Back then", it was a dime per game and with free games, I could play for about an hour on 30 cents lol.

19 hours ago

Love this story dude! Those titles, especially Flash were my wheelhouse back in the day. Just finished a refurb on a Six Million Dollar Man, hit me up if you're ever out on the peninsula!

Gig Harbor, WA

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