The chaos and wear of covering a gigantic breaking news story like the Tucson shootings for days on end is not without a few lighter moments. For instance, we at KOLD News 13 had food delivered to us all last week. We've eaten everything on the menu: Mexican, Chinese, pizza, sandwiches, salads, hot wings and more. Feed your staff and they'll keep on running like Energizer bunnies. The station picked up the tab for some of it. Other meals came as a thank-you from the networks for helping them get on top of the story when it started breaking.
On the night of the shootings, I took a call from a Mama Rosa's delivery guy who said he was in the parking lot with some pizzas for us, courtesy of CNN. With the rest of the fully-staffed newsroom busy on other things, I volunteered to let the guy and his food in. I slipped to the back door, expecting things would go quickly: five or six boxes and we're done.
When he started unloading in the night, however, I soon found out the folks in Atlanta had sent us over a smorgasbord. It started with at least four gigantic pizza boxes. Then came two or three containers of salad. We walked in four bags full of utensils and seasonings, then two trays of pasta, wrapping up with two cheesecakes. The feast covered the entire length of the news conference room table and two chairs. We shoved old pizza boxes out of the way to make room for the fresh food.
They loved us at the network. They really, really loved us. Someone asked what the tab was out of curiosity. The delivery guy couldn't remember. He wasn't asked to collect anything, and he hadn't been in on the order before driving it out to us. Needless to say, we all ate well that night, as well as we could between live shots and writing and phone calls and editing. Enough feast lasted for the morning crew, who put together a special Sunday AM show as Tucsonans were rising and heading to church in prayer for the living and the dead.
It's unfortunate that such gifts are borne of such tragedy, yet it also shows generosity isn't dead. We would see it many times in the days ahead -- this time from Tucsonans as the community came together. We knew about Tucson's giving reputation long before the gunfire. We hope it will take stronger root now.