GREEN BAY, Wis. — The temperature at Lambeau Field was a frigid 0 degrees Friday morning, with a wind chill of 20-below zero. But that didn’t stop an estimated 600-plus die-hard Packers fans from waiting in line outside for hours for a chance to get tickets to Donald Driver’s upcoming retirement ceremony this Wednesday.
With only 1,000 of the free tickets available, each person who made it to the distribution window had the opportunity to receive four. Most people took the full allotment, but there were some who took fewer.
Ticket distribution began at 8:56 a.m., and 18 minutes later they were all gone. Hundreds of people were turned away, teeth chattering, with no tickets to show for a morning spent in many layers.
One person who certainly earned her tickets was 21-year-old Hailey Marks of Oshkosh, Wis. She, along with her mother, was the first in line and arrived at Lambeau Field at 2:30 a.m.
“It was definitely worth the wait,” said Marks, who will attend the event inside the Lambeau Field Atrium with three friends.
With Marks’ mother unable to attend Driver’s ceremony, the pair gave its second set of tickets to random senior citizens waiting in line who likely would not have made it to the ticket window before the tickets were gone. Two of those lucky recipients were Greg and Marilyn Kippenhan of Greenville, Wis.
“We never met her,” Kippenhan said of Marks. “We walked up, got here at 7:30 and thought we’d be here in plenty of time, but it was all filled up already. I walked by and said, ‘Let’s go.’ There were 300 people in line already. We were coming back, she was standing there in the front and she said, ‘Do you want two tickets?’ I said, ‘Really?’ I couldn’t believe it. She said, ‘You can stay inside and stay warm and I’ll be here for you.’
“It was like a gift from God.”
For Marks, who was wearing four layers of clothing and stocked with plenty of hand-warmers, it was just intended to be a kind gesture.
“I’m just trying to be nice,” she said.
There are really only two rules for those who received the free tickets to Driver’s retirement event: no autographs and no resale.
Well, it took all of one hour for the second rule to be broken.
The first set of tickets posted on Craigslist was being offered for $80 each. Soon after, someone posted their tickets for $200 each.
Driver wasn’t happy, though, when he found out about it.
“It’s sad that someone would charge people to buy tickets to my event when I gave them the tickets for free,” Driver posted on Twitter. “Please! Don’t anyone buy them!”
There are also several Craigslist posters looking for tickets. One person, who wants to make the trip from Indiana for the ceremony, posted that he was willing to pay $100 per ticket.
Marks was not the only fan who was giving away extra tickets to those waiting in the cold, and assuredly there will be more people to try to make money off Driver’s big day. But one thing that was undeniably proven Friday morning, as Packers fans braved the freezing cold weather, is that Driver is one of the most popular players to ever put on a Green Bay uniform.
“He’s the best player,” said Green Bay’s Bob Rohr, 68, who also received two tickets from Marks. “Nobody surpasses him. He’s a class act, I tell ya.”