EVERETT — If waiting in line was a sport, Glenn Reynolds would go pro.
Reynolds, a 65-year-old retired truck driver from Quincy, started camping out on the grounds of Encore Boston Harbor at 5 p.m. Saturday, a full 17 hours before the casino and resort’s grand opening Sunday morning.
He brought only the essentials: his Boston Red Sox baseball cap and a handmade sign, expertly crafted from an old calendar and the clean side of a pizza box. On the sign, Reynolds had written “Encore” in thick, black cursive. It matched the casino’s logo, letter for letter, with the exception of the last “e,” squished against the right side where he had run out of room.
“I always loved to draw,” he said, admiring his handiwork.
By mid-morning, a labyrinthine line of thousands swelled behind him and the other early risers, some of whom joined the queue as early as 3 a.m. Although he hadn’t slept a wink, Reynolds said he still wasn’t tired. His feet weren’t sore. He was well-hydrated, too. He had picked up four bottles of Brisk lemon iced tea — two for himself, two for the security guards — from a convenience store the day before.
“I can’t sit at home when that adrenaline’s going, no way can I sit there,” he said.
The floodgates have opened! pic.twitter.com/9UH2g3zkHH— Deanna Pan (@DDpan) June 23, 2019
Waiting outside the Encore — where staff doled out water bottles, sandwiches, and trays of snacks to the unabating crowds — was a breeze compared with Reynolds’ previous exploits in patience.
In 2006, Reynolds said, he spent 32 days in a pop-up tent ahead of the grand opening of an IKEA store in Sacramento. (He had done it before, for just eight days in 2005, at the IKEA store in Stoughton.) He got a $3,000 gift card for being the very first customer. He had booked his flight to California with a free voucher from JetBlue, his prize for waiting in line at the Prudential Center when the airline started flying out of Logan International Airport in 2004.
“They might have a lot of names for it,” Reynolds said of his curious compulsion for waiting in line. “But most people, if you explain it to a doctor, they’ll probably say I got something [like], ‘I think you need some medication because you got an issue going on.’”
Reynolds took the T two hours from Quincy to Sullivan Square on Saturday afternoon before disembarking for the Encore. His game plan for opening day was simple: He wanted to see the flower-drenched carousel in the middle of the marble atrium and the gleaming $28 million steel statue of Popeye by Jeff Koons. He wanted to gawk at the priceless artwork, the gaudy red carpet, and the Venetian chandeliers. He said he might gamble a few hundred bucks, but mostly, he just wanted to look around.
Reynolds already plans to return on July 4.
“But I won’t be spending 17 hours [waiting in line],” he said. “I’ll come at a normal hour.”
Deanna Pan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DDpan.