Frightening Confrontation

Monday, May 19th 2008, 5:51 pm
By: News 9

"Act as though a camera is recording your every action... and your mother is watching the streaming video."

When people see me coming, there's usually a photographer not far behind.  But what happens when people think the camera can't see them?  I believe I saw it first hand during my latest story. 

It all started when I got a call from a viewer asking for help.  An 78 year old woman (who's blind) says her home's siding was falling down, but the company didn't want to stand behind their warranty.  My heart dropped when she told me the name of the company.  Just a year and a half ago, I did a story about David Terrell of Terrell's Siding and Windows.  Then, he was accused of the same thing - even a judge ruled that he needed to pay the homeowner back - but he never has.  Back then he told me he was getting out of the business.  But here we are again, investigating a new complaint.

We didn't have any luck finding him at his business.. so we went to his house.  Now every time before a confrontation, I try to go through every possible scenario in my head.  But nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.

As we walked up, we saw Terrell in his garage.  At first, he didn't say a word.  He just made a beeline toward the door that led inside his house.  I really thought he was going to go inside.  But instead, he pushed the garage door button.  By the time I knew what was happening, it was too late.  My photographer was outside, and I was inside.  It's only then that Terrell asked me to leave.  How could I!!!  He just closed me in.  And for the first time, I found myself in a tense, and frankly frightening situation.  I was in a closed in area, with a person who's not happy to see me, and he probably thinks no one can see him since the photographer was outside.  Once the garage door shut, he did start talking to me about Betty Wheeler's siding.  But as I was about to ask him about the warranty, he must have noticed I was holding the microphone.  Because that's when he went for it.  He tried to pull it out of my hand, but I wouldn't let go.  As I tried to pull it back, his arm didn't budge.  About that time my photographer started beating on the garage door.  It's then that Terrell showed me out a side door and side gate.

Would he have done the same thing if the camera had been inside the garage with me?  Who knows.  But from experience, most people do act differently when there's a camera on them.  You tend to think twice.  And in life, that's not always a bad thing.  Imagine someone driving cuts you off... or your dog eats the remote (for the 3rd time - yes it's happened)... or your kid is throwing a tantrum and you've had it!  Would you act the same way if your reaction was broadcast live for everyone to see?  Maybe we'd have less to regret if we acted as though a camera was recording our every action... and mom was watching the streaming video.

(By the way, some of you have noticed an extra person in the garage when I went to confront Terrell.  You may have seen someone's hands grabbing a piece of material from under the garage door.  It was a guy working on Terrell's home.  While the contractor was in the garage when the door went down, I'm not sure if he stayed in there, or took off through the side door.  I was too focused on Terrell to notice.)