Just when I think it’s about time to chuck this whole newspaper business — and believe me I’m usually one phone call or email away from that on any given day – I get a letter like this one reminding me that once in a great while the newspaper can and actually does, help.
This arrived on Wednesday from Rebekah Easley, who sometimes writes letters to the Open Forum. After I read it, I immediately shared it with all of our reporters and editors. It’s a great reminder that the work we do can be very important. Even the stories that seem to be pretty small in the large scheme of things. Actually, as it turns out, especially those.
Here’s what Ms. Easley had to say.
Dear Mr. Taylor,
“This letter is to tell you how much I appreciate the news content of the Times News. Some time ago you printed an article about scammers preying on the elderly. The article contained a warning to grandparents about getting a phone call supposedly by one of their grandchildren saying they were in trouble of some kind (an accident or some other type of emergency) and needed money. Monday morning we had a similar experience and it was a shock. The young man who professed to be my grandson sounded so much like him that my husband was getting into a tizzy. Remembering the article, I asked for the phone and when I spoke to this young man he sounded a lot like my grandson but there was peculiarities in his speech and his words. First of all, he had a slight accent and he called us grandmaw and grandpaw which he never does. He told me “I flew down to Mexico last night with a friend of a friend and when we were in the car (from plane to car?) the police stopped us and when they searched the car they found drugs and arrested us.. So help me Grams, I didn’t know he had drugs and you know I have never used drugs. They have appointed me an attorney but I am still in jail. There is a policeman here that has been helpful and I can switch you over to him right away.” The so-called “helpful policeman” answered right away and identified himself as “Steve Williams.” I asked him what did Josh need and he replied that he needed $3,800 for bail. (Please remember that I am aware of what is going on because of the article) so I told him that I didn’t have that much money on hand and would have to go to the bank. I told him to call me back in an hour and he could give me the address of where I should send the money and there was dead silence on the phone. He was gone, no more to be heard from. (He sure had an unusual Hispanic accent to have a name like that)
I would not have been as prepared as to how I should handle the situation without the newspaper article and for that I thank you.”
MY TAKE: Bless you Ms. Easley. We’re delighted to help. Knowing we made a difference makes the day worthwhile.
And maybe I won’t chuck the entire business after all. Unless, of course, I don’t like the next phone call.