Last night myself and my two colleagues and friends Hilary Ribons and Seline Jung met Anderson Cooper. Since the Boston Marathon bombing lots of big key figures have been in Boston, including big time journalists like Cooper. It was around 9:30 p.m. when Seline saw Anderson’s tweet. That’s it she said this is our moment to finally meet him. I excitedly agreed and figured we could find him, since earlier we had seen live trucks all over the city. I thought all we had to do was find that CNN live-truck van. After stalking out NBC, ABC and CNN news trucks and asking around we finally were told where Cooper was doing his live show. Like children let loose in a candy store we ran screaming and holding each others hands down the streets of Boston, really it was very much over the top. Luckily, when we neared the set and saw Anderson at work we simmered down and truly enjoyed the works of any live television production. Yes, we were excited when we said “Hi” and thanked him for his work, and then of course when he offered a photo-op! However, I must say that meeting Anderson Cooper was not the highlight of my night. And I am sure Mr. Cooper would agree with me as to why. If you have been following my work these past weeks. You are familiar with my video story about the Boston Marathon witness and hero Carlos Arredondo, which has received a lot of attention and has been featured on local Miami news stations as well as NBCLatino.com. Carlos’s story is special, so please check it out. So, after a week and a half that I met Carlos and worked on his story which he was so incredibly supportive and kind about (truly a journalists’ dream). I had to admit that my earlier encounter that evening meant so much more to me than meeting Anderson Cooper, and as a journalist I would like to say Cooper would agree. Lately, I have been learning that some stories I cover will never ever leave me, and it is actually an incredible thing.
Earlier that evening around 7 p.m. I agreed to walk over to Bolyston Street with Hilary and Seline. Hilary led us to Copley plaza to see the memorial that has been set-up for the victims of the bombing. The memorial included the original barricades from the Marathon full of posters, flowers, and supportive signs and trinkets. I even saw a few supportive signs from Miami. As we approached Copley I finally felt as if some closure reached me from the past couple of weeks because when we arrived Hilary thought she spotted Carlos, the man Seline and I interviewed. I instantly scanned the crowd until I bursted over to a man standing nicely dressed and showered, quite the difference from when I had met him covered in sweat and blood. To my surprise it was Carlos. I bolted forward to him and as he saw me, he smiled and embraced me. Once in his arms I must admit that I began to cry. No words came out— not like I even knew what to say, just tears. That man gently stood there and held me. I cannot explain, how someone who has gone through so much just allowed me to shed my tears. I felt a pang of guilt, but at the same time acknowledged the strength Carlos encapsulates. Soon after he introduced me to two people he was standing with, I began to tell him how his story was just played in my journalism school and he was elated. He told me that he was very happy to hear the video had done so well and received lots of praise and also told me how he knew I would be so successful. He continued to be very kind and warm, I was so happy to see him happy. Finally, for once I felt as if some sort of closure was brought to my journey during the 2013 Boston Marathon week. When we exchanged goodbyes I realized something important— our entire conversation happened in Spanish as it did the day I met him until he changed to English for the camera, I think that’s why he did not forget me.