A California mother has paid the ultimate professional price for her commitment to her son and husband's baseball passion: She was forced to give up her job.
As reported by the Santa Rose Press-Democrat, Billie Ann Tomei, the mother of Petaluma (Calif.) National Little League star Cole Tomei and wife of the team's coach, Trevor, was fired for taking her vacation time to cheer on her family during the team's appearance in the San Bernardino region. Billie Ann had been serving as an office manager for a CPA, and with her boss out of town, he refused to let her leave the office even though she had accrued enough vacation time to take the trip.
"He wouldn't let me take time off," Tomei told the Press-Democrat. "He told me, 'If you go, write yourself your last check.' So I wrote myself my last check."
What the elder Tomei saw was a run for the ages, culminating in a trip to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. Once there, the Petaluma youngsters pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in recent baseball history, scoring 10 runs within their final three outs of regulation to force extra innings in the U.S. championship game before eventually falling to Goodlettsville, Tenn.
The team's run ended with a third-place finish at the event thanks to a 12-4 victory against Panama in the tournament's consolation game on Sunday.
If there were any concerns that Billie Ann Tomei might regret walking away from her job for a baseball tournament, those were answered by her actions on Aug. 19. Tomei's mother made the trip to Pennsylvania from California to cheer on Cole but was to return home on the 19th. Billie Ann flew with her so that she wouldn't have to fly alone, then immediately turned around and flew back to Philadelphia. When she landed, Tomei was told that there weren't any rental cars available.
With just hours before Cole and the Petaluma squad played again, she did the only thing she could imagine: She jumped in a taxi and took it all the way to Williamsport. The trip cost her $400.
"I gave the taxi driver $400 and told him to take me as far as he could take me," Tomei said. "It was all the money I had. Fortunately, he was really kind and brought me all the way. I owe him $150."
Billie Ann Tomei, thy name is dedication. Even if the Petaluma kiddos didn't win the Little League crown, Tomei almost certainly won plenty of admiration for her refusal to back down to all the different factors bent on keeping her from seeing her son and husband on the biggest stage in their level of their chosen sport.
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