Anna Dievendorf stuffed her bare, frozen hands into the pouch of her Boston Red Sox hoodie. Along with four of her closest friends, she stood outside of Fenway Park on Wednesday night, boasting two giant signs which asked for free tickets to Game 1 of the 2013 World Series between the Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The sophomore at Northeastern University had reason to believe the scheme would work. Her Sociology of Boston professor, Len Albright, had performed the gimmick to perfection multiple times, the first coming back in 2008. After drawing a punny sign asking for a ticket to Game 5 of that year's World Series, Albright managed to gain entrance to Citizens Bank Park and watch his beloved Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Tampa Bay Rays and capture the franchise's first championship since 1980 -- free of charge.
Back in September, the professor issued the class an assignment called, 'Observations at Fenway.' In part, anyone who made a sign asking for free tickets and got into the game would receive extra credit.
Several students tried the strategy. They all got in.
Deviendorf decided to give it a shot for the World Series. With the plan apparently owning such a tremendous success rate, why not?
She gathered up some of her closest friends from school and set off from Huntington Avenue to Yawkey Way, bearing signs that screamed the phrases, 'Will Take You Home To Meet My Parents for FREE TICKETS,' and, 'Take Us Out to the Ball Game! Free Tickets?'
The group first gathered on the south end of Yawkey Way, just outside of Gate D.
"We got a lot of attention," she said. "A lot of people liked our signs and were laughing and taking pictures with us. A couple of media people came over. We were getting all this attention, but no tickets."
After cheering and pleading with no avail, they walked down Van Ness Street to stand outside Gate B, hoping for their fortunes to take a turn for the unfathomable.
That's when a random stranger approached and began asking them fun questions about their current endeavor and their fandom of the Red Sox.
"Who is the biggest Red Sox fan here?" He said. The man proceeded to poll the pack, asking which of the students was the biggest fan. When they finally determined it was Dievendorf, he handed her a crisp red, white and navy blue ticket for section 89 in right field. For free. "Miracles can happen," he said.
Her friends gasped, half-numbed and half-agape out of shock.
"He just pulled this beautiful ticket out of his wallet," Dievendorf said. "It was absolutely surreal."
Who would give up a World Series ticket worth several hundred dollars in face value for free? Hell, give to a friend, not some random person you just met on the street. But more importantly, who is this mystery man, and why did he have a free pass to a thrilling 8-1 Sox victory ready to distribute?
Noah Buffett-Kennedy grew up in Arlington, Mass. before heading west to study at the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Today, he is an attorney, practicing startup law with a friend. He also partakes in a few business ventures, owning a small hotel in San Diego with another friend. Buffet-Kennedy also invests in wefunder.com, a site dedicated to finding passionate investors for innovative startups.
One of Buffett-Kennedy's best friends is due to wed this weekend in New York City. He made the trip from San Francisco to Boston to take in the game and then planned to head down to the Big Apple to celebrate.
He just needed the tickets. So, Buffett-Kennedy and an acquaintance went to the Park to try and scalp tickets the day of the big game.
"I was thinking about buying a ticket for way more than face value," he said. "Then, I found this guy who -- as long as I agreed to by four -- offered to sell them all for just about face value."
With his newly purchased tickets in hands, Buffett-Kennedy called up one of his best friends from college, whom he hadn't seen in 10 years, and invited him to the game. But, everyone else he would have wanted to bring were already in New York for the wedding,
"At one point I thought about selling them, but then I heard that was illegal and I didn't want to get in trouble," he said with a chuckle. "I was having a really good day -- I made a bunch of money that day -- so I was like, 'you know what? I'm just gonna give them away."
Buffett-Kennedy amateur investing had struck gold that day.
He first approached an Iraq War Veteran, carrying an authentic ID card -- who he admitted looked homeless -- hoping to make a poor man's year. He would later instruct Dievendorf to buy the man a hot dog, but the man unfortunately scalped the ticket and never entered the historic ballpark.
With his one ticket remaining, Buffet-Kennedy wanted to help a truly passionate fan's dreams come true.
"I was trying to look for the perfect person," Buffet-Kennedy said. "It was about 30 minutes before game-time when I saw Anna and her friends and they had posters up, it was awesome. I was super-sympathetic to those guys, they just seemed like nice kids. I wanted to give it to whichever one of them deserved it most."
He may have enjoyed the exchange even more than Dievendorf did.
"I don't really believe in karma, but I do believe that the best and most beautiful thing about human beings is that we're programmed to do nice things for each other." Buffet-Kennedy said. "When we do nice things for each other, it's the best feeling you can get. So, that was really great.
Both parties say they'll be telling this story for their rest of their lives.
"Everyone around me was really interested in what happened," Dievendorf said of her section. "I basically made best friends with everyone around me through this story. Nobody could believe what just happened and when I told somebody new the story, they would be like, 'Oh my god, dude! Look, this girl got a free ticket!'"
There may not be such a thing as a free lunch. Apparently receiving free tickets to an historical baseball game is a walk in the park.