So the BBC interview with the wrong “Guy” aired a few minutes ago on Anderson Cooper 360. It made me remember an incident that happened to me when I was reporting for the station on the river a few years back.
Memphis had a run of tragic stories of young children left on day care vans. Several of these children died from the heat. The first child who died was named Destiny. A few years passed when we had yet another one of these senseless tragedies.
When I came into work the following morning I found a note from one of our evening news anchors who had found the telephone number of Destiny’s mother. The newsroom thought it would be an interesting story to talk with her about this latest tragedy.
So I called Destiny’s mom, told her who I was and asked if she’d mind me interviewing her for a followup story. “Why do you want to talk to me?” she asked. “Well…” I hesitantly said, “because of Destiny”. She said okay and we arranged a time when we could stop by her home and interview her.
When I walked into her home we started with some small talk. My videographer began setting up a tripod and lights while Destiny’s mom and I chit chatted about what might be done to help daycare drivers get every child off every van. She seemed very interested in talking about the tragedy and had some strong opinions but was a bit surprised that we wanted to talk with her. I asked if any of the other stations had contacted her. No.
My videographer gave me the thumbs up and we started the interview.
While we talked, I mentioned something about Destiny and she said “yes, I remember that.” It seemed odd the way she said “I remember” and I started getting a strange feeling we were not talking to Destiny’s mom. I glanced around the room and saw not one photograph of a child on the walls.
Then I asked her…are you Destiny’s mom? “No…I don’t have any children”.
“You didn’t have a daughter named Destiny who died on a daycare van a couple of years ago?” “No”.
“Well if you’re not Destiny’s mom…why are we here?”
“I don’t know”, she said “I thought it was kinda strange that you called me”
“Did Pam talk with you last night?”
“No. She left a message on my answering machine and then you called this morning”.
“But when I talked with you I said I wanted to talk to you about….”
And then it hit me.
“Destiny”. She honestly thought the reason I had called to interview her was because of destiny. She thought I was destined to call her and she was destined to be interviewed.
Joe and I packed up the gear, drove out of the driveway and down the street. Pulled over to the side and didn’t stop laughing for 10 minutes.
The interview of course never hit the air and we never did locate Destiny’s real mother but I never will forget that morning. God bless her, she was willing to do this interview just because of destiny.