Today I got sent to look into a tip on a story related to a big storm that blew through town last night. One of my colleagues received an email this morning from a friend who had heard on the police scanner last night something about dogs getting rescued from house upon which a tree had fallen.
I drove over to the house, finding it pretty well smashed up by a huge maple tree that fell over on it. There were two broadcast reporters there from some TV stations. They were talking to the landlord and shooting B-roll. I got a word with the landlord, who told me the house was ruined and would be demolished soon. He pointed me in the direction of the tenant, who he said had just moved in the day before.
Well, I thought, that makes the story more interesting.
The tenant had refused to be on camera, giving me the first interview with him. I asked him basic questions about how long he’d been in the house, how he found the tree on his house, about the dogs. Then he said something that really got my attention: “I had just wrecked my car on the way home, but wanted to check on the dogs.”
Wait, you wrecked your car the same night?
As it turns out, he had left work early because the storm took out the power at pizza shop he works at. On his way home, with no streetlights, he had collided with a downed tree that was laying across the entire east-bound side of the street. The car, he said was totaled. He managed to get a ride home from his mother, only to discover that another tree had collapsed and destroyed his house he had just moved in to.
He managed to get inside the house, where luckily the dogs were unhurt. But all of his belongings were ruined by the rain.
This unbelievable story is here: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/176561/columbia-man-totals-car-driving-home-in-storm-finds-tree-on-house/
I’m attributing my getting this unbelievable story to two things:
1. Paying attention and not letting the car wreck thing pass me by.
2. My being a dog person. Having lost all of his material belongings last night, the guy could have understandably brushed me off. But by being sympathetic and telling him I also have a big dog that I rescued, he opened right up to me and gave me all the information I needed.