Being a reporter has allowed me to meet a lot of really fascinating people whom I never would have met otherwise, and every once in a while it hits me just how cool my job is.
I’ve always tried to keep an open mind about people, and not judge them before I get to know them, but every once in while this job reminds me of just how important that is.
You’ve probably read about many of the interesting people I’ve met, but a lot of the important bits happen in between the lines - things that never make it into the paper, because they’re not necessarily ‘news-worthy.’
I wrote one story about a guy who was riding across the country on an electric bicycle to promote it.
Now at first glance, this guy was a bit of an intimidating figure, with long hair and a cigarette hanging out of his thick, scraggly beard, but he turned out to be the nicest, more hilarious guy I’ve met in a long time. He kept me laughing through the whole ‘interview,’ and I kind of wished I could just quote him word for word and put it all in the story.
At one point I asked him if he knew what town he was in, and he squinched his eyes, thought really hard and confessed that he had no idea. I told him he was in Grenfell, and it was pretty windy so I guess he didn’t quite hear me. “GRAND FALLS??” he said incredulously. Later he asked ‘Today is the 12th, right?’ I informed him it was actually the 15th, and he replied ‘The 15th!!! I have to get some kilometres on this thing!!” And he was dead serious - too funny. I can’t remember what else we talked about, but he was awesome.
Then just last week, a group dropped by on their ‘healing walk,’ which is featured in this week’s paper. They got a few strange looks as they stormed into the Sun office talking excitedly about their journey and how they wanted to help the world, but their enthusiasm was just infectious, and in the end they really brightened up my day. Hey, I even got a group hug out of it!
And I’ve never forgotten Dorian Baxter, A.K.A. Elvis Priestly, one of my first interview subjects here at the Grenfell Sun. I must admit when I first heard he was an Anglican minister/Elvis impersonator, a certain image popped into my head of a flamboyant, loud and slightly cooky character. When I actually sat down and spoke with him however, I found him to be cultured, soft-spoken and eloquent - and just a real pleasure to talk to.
I guess my point is, every day I’m reminded that judging someone before you’ve heard their story, whether it be because of their appearance, colour, creed, background, because they wear their hat funny- whatever people judge people for - is just silly, not to mention a guaranteed way to miss out on some amazing people.
I have a very simple rule in life, and that’s to treat everyone with equal respect until they give me a reason not to. I know that’s certainly nothing that hasn’t been said before - I just like to bring it up every now and then.