Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, June 22, 2007

What's in a name?

Several years ago when I was a television and radio reporter, my photographer and I happened to be close to a bank robbery that was underway. The police radio in the car alerted everyone.

We parked the car and ran toward the bank, hoping to capture pictures of the robbers fleeing and possibly their arrest, since the gen d'arms were also on their way.

As I rushed down the street a girl about eight years old ran up to me.

"Colleen Patrick! Can I have your autograph?"

It hit me as both of us huffed our way toward the bank.

While few robbers have ever been filmed dashing out of the bank and/or being captured ... what difference would it really make to the lives of viewers to see this?

And how many kids want the autograph of a journalist? Especially a woman journalist? Especially .. me?

Aren't kids her age usually more interested in rock stars and movie actors?

More, the closer we got to the bank the riskier it was to have her there.

So I stopped.

My photographer yelled at me, angry. I don't blame him.

But there are thousands of bank robberies in the nation every year and one eight year old girl who might someday want to be a journalist and for whatever reason, on that day, think that being a smart, assertive woman is a cool thing.

"What's your name?" I asked as I took her pen and paper, writing a thoughtful note.

As soon as I finished, I ran double time to catch up with my photographer. "Gotta go! Good luck!"

I caught hell from my boss that afternoon, as I should have. He had every right to be upset that I trailed off a story, letting my photographer go it alone.

I think what made him angrier was the little smirk I had on my face as he scolded me. But I couldn't help thinking of the little girl who absolutely glowed just because I took a moment to write something I hope she found inspiring and scrawled my name.

Oh - by the time my photographer arrived at the bank, the robbers had escaped. No one was hurt during the heist and they were arrested later that day.

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