Help with MySQL COALESCE

In my Ruby on Rails app, I am trying to run a query to populate a drop-
down select box. The query may return NULL values, in which case I
want to display a value like 'N/A'.
My query works directly in MySql:
select distinct(coalesce(time, "N/A")) from mytable;

But when I run this in the app using mytable.find(),
the null value is returned as a 0. The database column is an integer.
Is Ruby somehow changing my desired value to 0 because it's an
integer??
Again, I get the desired results in MySql.

In Ruby on Rails, how can I replace the NULL value with some text
value that will make more sense to
the user?

Yes, Rails is changing the value to an int because of the db schema.
Rails will return nil if the field is null so why don't you just do
the 'COALESCE' in rails

<%= my_table.time || 'N/A' %>

Andrew Timberlake
http://ramblingsonrails.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewtimberlake

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain