I found myself explaining to a woman over the phone how to share a link on her facebook page tonight.  Then I found myself kicking myself for the internal sigh I had when the woman asked me to her.  The conversation ended with her crying and with me holding back my own tears.

The woman called to ask if there was a way to get a copy of a story that the station aired.  She was watching it on her computer and wanted a copy for her and her mom.  I started to explain that the newsroom administrator handles video requests.   She stopped me to ask if she could just copy the video from the Web site.

I didn’t understand if she meant if there was a way she could embed the video on another site, or if she meant if there was a way she herself could record the video to a DVD.  “Well, (pause), no ma’am there’s really no way for you to record the video yourself.  Unfortunately, only the newsroom administrator can take your video request.”

“So there’s no way I can share the video?  I’m clicking the share button on the video.  Can’t I put the video on facebook?” she asked.

“Oh, yes of course you can share the link on facebook, ma’am.”

“How do I do that?  Do I start on your site or on facebook?” 

Internally I sighed.  I admit I didn’t want to take the time to explain how to share a link on facebook.  Before I answered the phone I’d been asked to confirm a stabbing report and make sure we had permission to go live from a certain location in the 10pm news.  I took a breath and buckled down for what could be quite a long phone conversation.

Step by step I took her through it.  She checked to make sure it worked.  Then she started to cry.

She explained she was the sister of the soldier the station featured today returning home after being injured in Iraq.  She and her mother live in California and were not able to be in Denver when he returned home.  She told me how wonderful it was to be able to see her brother being greeted at the airport by family and friends.  The video made it all real.  She said when her mother cried after watching the story she decided to call to ask about the video.

She needed to share her joy.  She needed to tell someone the fear she and her mother have had ever since learning their brother/son had been injured in September.  I was the one on the phone so she told me.  She talked of some of the tragedies the family has experienced over the last year, which includes losing a home in the California wildfires and the passing of her father.

She cried and laughed in sorrow, in relief and in joy.  I’m just the person who answered the phone, yet I got to experience a tiny part of these emotions with her.  I fought back my tears through the end of the call.

When she was over I thought, “Thank you for letting me answer the phone.”   As emotional as hearing all she had to pour out was, I am truly glad I listened.  I’m glad I didn’t turn her away when I had work to do.  Beyond being thankful for a job, sometimes being on the news desk shows me much for which to be thankful.