"Hear that voice? That's Danelle."
The ponytailed man was so excited to have his favorite anchorwoman bossing him around on the DIA train, it seemed a shame to correct him. But once I start talking — and correcting — Colorado, I can't stop. "Adele Arakawa," I said.
"Yeah, that's Danelle," he replied. "She's hot. And the guy is the Colorado Rockies announcer." Former Colorado Rockies announcer, actually, since Alan Roach gave up that job about the same time that he and Danelle/Adele were tapped to replace Pete Smythe and Reynelda Muse, respectively, as the official voices of DIA. But I didn't bother to point this out, because I had something else to share with my fellow traveler.
"And there's a third person, " I said.
"No way," he said.
"No way," echoed a businessman who'd been eavesdropping on the exchange.
"Way," I said. "Listen." And a few seconds later, a familiar voice welcomed us all to Denver, "the Mile High City." Not familiar enough, apparently, because neither man could guess who the voice belonged to.
"That's the mayor," I said. "John Hickenlooper."
"You're kidding!" said ponytail.
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"The Looper? I can win a few beers with that fact," said businessguy.
Fact is, last summer, when the voices and music on DIA's trains were updated, Denver's mayor was added to the mix. And perhaps remembering that giant photo of Wellington Webb that once greeted travelers at DIA, Hickenlooper opted to stay anonymous. But the inside joke was lost on outsiders.
And now, finally, the city has seen the error of its ways. Twenty-four hours after my encounter with Danelle's fan, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs confirmed that the mayor's message is being re-recorded. Within the next month, everyone will know that Mayor John Hickenlooper is welcoming them to Colorado.
Now if the city could just remove its prudey-pants restrictions on DIA's free wi-fi...