Full disclosure: Tod Tillotson loves the Yankees. Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t share a learned love for the Mets. But just like any born-and-bred New York boy in the 50s, Tillotson spent his adolescence wholeheartedly rooting for the Yankees before the Mets even existed.
Tillotson had quite a different childhood, however, after an incident left him Deaf at the age of 5: he fell out of his crib as an infant in his Kew Gardens home and hit his head on a radiator.
He attended Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, which back then was a boarding school for Deaf children, and frequented Mill Neck’s Apple Festival each year. "I slept in the Manor House and I loved it; it was so much fun," Tillotson recalled of his time spent at the school.
Years later, in 1964 when he was 15, he landed a job with the Mets organization through a connection his father made with then owner Donald M. Grant. Tillotson worked summer jobs for a few years and helped with mail, filing and special services, before taking on a full-time position as the Mets mailman.
Mill Neck Interpreter Service, a part of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations that provides professional Sign Language interpreters throughout Long Island and the metropolitan area, translates for Tillotson when coworkers aren’t able to understand his speech.
After 50 years working for the Mets, the employee of longest tenure, Tillotson has met his share of professional athletes and celebrities. One, in particular, was Justin Timberlake. "I was standing behind him and said ‘excuse me’ and we started talking to each other," he remembered.
Tillotson makes about six trips to Citi Field, delivering mail and picking it up, walking about eight miles a day. And he has no plans of retiring any time soon.