Do me a favor.... before you even read this, watch the story I shot today with Alan Cavanna.
Now that we have that out the way, let me tell you the rest of this story.
We were reporting on an intersection that had seen 13 wrecks in 3 years. The latest victims from last night, included an elderly couple probably pushing 80 years or more. After gathering all the elements we needed for this story, we figured we would give the old college try at getting said couple to talk on camera about their experience.
What happened roughly 30 seconds after Alan knocked on their door is something neither of us expected. As Cavanna descended their front stoop and I waited in the wings with my fancy cam shouldered, an old man in a tattered red sweater came to the front door with a fresh head wound and declared "Help me! I NEED HELP! My wife is on the floor and I can't get her up."
I quickly holstered my camera and Alan and I entered their residence to find this man's wife lying face up on the hardwood floor of their humble home. She was complaining of back pains and wanted us to help her up. She couldn't remember if she fell or what happened. We declined, insisting that they call an ambulance. Not knowing our next step, and with their great protest, we decided to find someone more familiar to them to encourage them along. I alerted the neighbors we'd just interviewed, who knew them well and they quickly called 911.
We waited for the Medic to arrive and then departed.
I came away from this situation with a couple of takeaways. First, I appreciated the fact that Alan and I were on the same page. As this situation unfolded Alan and I practically finished each other sentences in agreeing that none of this would make air or even be mentioned in our story. This might seem odd to the unabashed, but when I put my camera away and Alan and I transitioned into our human forms, as opposed to blood thirsty exploiters of the human race, we were able to, albeit in a small form, HELP someone.
I kept asking myself all day: "What if we hadn't bothered to knock on their door?"
It's small and meaningless in most people's eyes but there are news crews out there who shale remain nameless, that would have pimped this situation for all it's worth; making a spectacle of the situation and finding some perverse way to incorporate it into the story.
We didn't do that. Please excuse this little pat on the back but I'm pretty proud of how the situation turned out. Neighbors thanked us. The old man in the tattered sweater thanked us. Gratitude and thank you's are few and far between in our business. We were reminded of a mantra I've been preaching the entire time I've been pushing a camera lens, people matter more than anything.
Hat's off to Mr. Cavanna for his professionalism. He's moving onto his dream job with NASCAR next month, and if he and I don't do another story together, I hope this is the memory he'll carry with him about this tattooed photog.
And if it isn't, I'm sure he'll tell you about the time I held his water bottle hostage for over a month.