Wednesday, December 24, 2008

south pole meets north pole

Well, Layci did get her penguin. Thanks to a snowball effect started by my blog post on Friday, the young girl got her Christmas wish today. I wrote about how a mysterious benefactor bought a Styrofoam penguin as a surprise for the girl who had admired it but couldn't afford it. The catch was that only the girl's first name was known. The staff at Carole's Interior and Gifts tried finding Layci, without success. I happened to wander into the store last Thursday and heard the story from Carole Brailey.

As I was writing the blog post on Thursday evening, I realized that the story was too good to not also tell on the radio Friday morning. One caller got upset that I was making such a fuss over a little girl in an affluent neighborhood getting a frivolous gift when there are so many needy people elsewhere in the region. She was in financial trouble herself but turned down offers of help from other listeners. This situation played out during the 9:00 a.m. hour, while WATE's Bo Williams was on the air with us.

The News Sentinel's Michael Silence posted a link to my blog post on Friday morning. The Shopper News ran their own version of the story on Monday morning. WATE picked up on the search for Layci in their newscasts Monday night. Reporter Kristyn Caddell told me that she got the story from my blog after discussing it in the newsroom with Bo and others.

Friends of the family heard the coverage and got word to Layci's sister, who is a college student. The girls' parents, Karen and John, brought Layci back to the store today to pick up her gift from Santa. The man in the red suit told me that in previous years he has been onstage as part of the Sevier Heights Baptist Church's Living Christmas Tree. Layci's Dad said that she had done her part to "pay it forward" in the past. She recently participated in a program to collect and distribute shoes for the homeless.

Kristyn was there with a cameraman from WATE to capture the moment for tonight's 6:00 p.m. news. She was kind enough to mention me in her story and to pose for a photo with Layci. In times like these, Kristyn said she was glad to report a story with a happy ending. Merry Christmas Eve!

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Blogger Steve Barden said...

Merry Christmas, Frank!


OpenID JackLail said...

That's a good story, Frank!


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