Friday, April 06, 2007

New job comes with bear suit

This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from which has an interesting story about these little bears.

MOTHER of four and grandmother of another quartet of littlies, Angela Kesper loves kids. One month ago she found her dream job in our Classifieds.
The opportunity of a lifetime virtually jumped off the page, with a big headline asking: "Mr Hooker Bear – can you fill his shoes?"
Angela beat about a dozen applicants to wear the bear suit and become the fan-cooled heart and soul of the real estate group’s presence in the Redlands.
LJ Hooker Cleveland, which bought the $5000 suit about four years ago, needed the right person to play a major role in a new program to promote the image.
"I just thought it would be a fun thing to do with all the kids," Angela says.
"It’s my first time in a suit.
"Everyone laughs when I tell them what I am doing – no one believes me,"
Angela says husband Darrin, a tyre fitter, "has a bit of a chuckle" about his wife’s new career.
The couple recently moved from Victoria Point to Redland Bay after settling in the Redlands about 13 years ago.
NEW Zealand-born Angela, who became an Aussie citizen in 1994, already has had four assignments as Mr Hooker Bear.
Kids are notoriously rough with such larger-than-life cartoon characters, and Angela already knows the trepidation of being trapped in a swarm of youngsters, all wanting to give a cuddle and getting just a little overexcited.
"I was mobbed -- they got hold of my legs and I couldn’t move," Angela says.
AGENCY spokeswoman Mary Luke says Mr Hooker Bear always needs a handler.
Mary has not experienced the suit’s interior – "no way" – but trusts the reports from others.
"It’s very very hot but has a fan in the head to keep it cool," she says.
"Once in the suit you can’t see in front. You look out the mouth and can only see down."
Mary says the bear has so far made about 20 public appearances a year but will be on parade more in future.
"We are looking to ‘up’ the program," she says. "Right now, we are writing to schools and kindergartens.
"That’s why we needed someone for the role."
Mr Hooker Bear features fortnightly at Thornlands State School Swimming Club, which the agency sponsors.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great characters in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on

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