A friend of mine here in Philly wrote this piece for People over the summer - it was a great little story about a guy named Terrell Pough, who at 19 was raising his daughter all by himself in tough inner-city Philly. It grew out of a larger project the editors wanted to do about single teen fathers who were raising their kids. Somehow the editors got it in their heads that there were lots of these guys. We looked and looked and looked, though, and only came up with a handful. And none really seemed to fit the bill. Except this guy. My friend here was very excited, spent a lot of time with him and his family. And a lot of good things happened to him as a result - someone gave him a car, the 76ers honored him and, I think, set up some kind of fund for his daughter, all kinds of good stuff. Life seemed to be turning upward.
Until this happened.
Now my poor friend is all torn up. I can understand, of course, but I told her she probably did a great thing for this guy. Had this happened without the People profile, he would have been lucky to rate a brief in the Inquirer, and maybe a short story in the Daily News. He would have died in anonymity, like so many guys in Philadelphia. Now he'll be remembered for the great thing he did, or was trying to do, in taking responsibility for his daughter. And his daughter will have a hell of a rememberance of her father, even if she never had time to get to know him.