Last week I invited you to read about my experience covering my first ever press conference. You may remember one of the conclusions that I arrived at while bonding with the Fire Chief, “it’s a small world after all!” Upon completion of my last assignment, I have a lot more evidence to support that claim.
This week I was asked to cover a story about the decisions that 6 local fire departments made to share their services, so I thought to myself, who better to contact than my new buddy, Fred Cowper, the Fire Chief? I knew before my meeting with the Chief (and coincidently the four day anniversary of our new friendship) I had to do my homework! Everyone in the area had already covered the story, so how and what could I do differently to ensure I was not beating the poor dead horse and furthermore intrigue an audience that had heard the same story repeatedly from numerous different outlets?
An extensive google search, two cups of coffee and roughly forty minutes later, I found what I was looking for! A brief article discussing ISO ratings magically surfaced from the never-ending string of stories that I was feverishly sifting through, leading me to believe I was on the right track!
The article explained: The further a home is located from a fire station, the larger insurance risk it becomes and in turn the higher insurance premium the owner is responsible for paying (don’t worry it took me a while to process too). While covering the press conference I learned the main objective for sharing services is to shorten emergency response times. If homes are located closer to a fire station than they were previously, they should now pay lower insurance premiums right (ding, ding, ding)?
I took my hypothesis straight to the Fire Chief’s office. The friendly salutation I had naively envisioned quickly faded as I was greeted by a brief urgent statement. “I’m sorry you only have 5 minutes for this interview.” Spending 1 minute panicking and 2 minutes setting up my equipment, I had just enough time to ask the Chief about ISO ratings.
Come to find out, my idea was far less of a novel theory than I had originally given myself credit for. The fire department had received a series of calls from residents with the same inquiry, but on the flip side I at least had proof that people were interested in finding out more about that specific aspect of the story. I squeezed 1 additional question in, and my time was up (back to the drawing board).
I decided it was time to go straight to the source. I needed to contact an insurance agency to validate my findings. I thought this would be a fairly simple task, which in hindsight has allowed me to dispel my prior belief in women’s intuition. Call after call I was told, “We are not qualified to speak on that subject,” “You will have to call corporate,” “Here is another number,” which I found out were code for “get lost!”
I was eventually greeted by an uncommonly friendly voice that happily took my name and organization and to top it all off, within seconds transferred me to their boss…who actually answered his phone! I quickly scheduled an interview for the next morning and before I got off the phone, received what I thought was an email confirmation from the agency.
Looks can be deceiving. I opened the email and to my surprise it was written by an old friend who just so happened to work at the insurance agency… and coincidentally just answered my phone call. Confused by the amount of time that had passed since we had last spoken, the professional dialog that we exchanged and the general purpose for the call we had no idea that we were talking to the same person we grew up with. “It’s a small world after all,” but wait it gets smaller!
As I arrived for my interview early the next morning (after quickly wiping off McMuffin remnants from my black skirt) I was greeted by a familiar face. The receptionist was from the same little college that I attend, and with a class average of 8-10 students that is truly a coincidence! But wait there’s more…I was later introduced to the gentlemen I planned to interview. We casually discussed our backgrounds as I set up my equipment, only to discover we were from the same small town (technically one of the smallest incorporated villages in Michigan) and he was actually a friend of my uncles.
But wait there’s more…I’m just pulling your leg. If that is not evidence that my life would make a great episode of the Twilight Zone, it should at least prove to you that it is in fact “a small, small world after all.”
Check out my latest labor of love!
My long lost friend Haley