The Verizon Dude

Conall Mahoney

Photo By Tyler Ash

Conall Mahoney has been a Verizon Wireless sign holder for almost a year now, but he’s not your average human billboard. Because of his signature style of waving and vivacity for his work, many people in Chico know the corner of East Avenue and Cohasset as “his corner.” He moved to California from Florida eight years ago after a series of hurricanes between 2004 and ’05 and he never looked back. After gaining some local fame as the Verizon sign waver, Mahoney created a Facebook fan page where he’s amassed 740 fans so far (search “Verizon Dude” on Facebook to find him). The shades-wearing sign waver also works as a part-time model for a local studio called Invicta’s Art Photography, but for now he’s still known as the “Verizon Dude.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

I get to rock out and make people smile.

What’s the coolest thing that has happened on the job?

I would say the coolest thing would be getting a high-five from a motorcyclist in motion. He leaned down on his knee, reached out his arm and gave me a high-five.

What’s the worst thing?

I’ve gotten flipped off four times in one day before. Somebody has thrown a Gatorade bottle at me. I’ve had somebody spit at me, but they missed. It was kind of degrading—it just makes you want to go home.

Has there ever been another sign waver on your corner?

There was a Nutrishop guy out here and then a truck drove around the corner and said “Get outta there Nutrishop! Verizon owns this corner!” Then another time, there was a lady waving a car-wash sign. I set my sign down and said “Hey, you’re gonna have some competition, all right?” And she said, “Oh yeah? OK, I’ll share my corner with you.” I said, “Your corner? You’re not from around here, are ya?”

Is there anything you do that other sign wavers don’t?

Yes. As opposed to personifying the sign, a lot of people will spin it and try to get people to pay attention to the sign. I try to personify myself, so anything I do with the sign looks pretty cool without the sign. And I do a lot of stage tricks that a singer or guitar player would do—I just do them with a sign.

Have you ever caused a car accident during your job?

I haven’t caused a wreck, but I’ve caused some near-wrecks. I’m not really proud of it but there have been a few people that have been distracted. I want to say, for the record, that if I see a wreck coming I will stop my sign, but there have been some close calls.