Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Someone Worth Knowing

Posted March 5, 2008 2:28 p.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2008 10:00 p.m. EST

I get a lot of calls and e-mails from people who knew a victim in a case that I am covering.  Sometimes, they want to correct me, other times, they want to add something to my report and sometimes, they just want to talk about the person who died.

The other night, I was on my way home from work when  I got a call from a woman named Linda who had been waited on at a Cary restaurant by a young man who was killed in a car crash Saturday morning.  Matthew Kraft, 21, and his girlfriend, Michelle Dixon, were sitting at a light on Rock Quarry Road getting ready to turn when a driver suspected of being drunk crashed into Kraft's car.  Kraft was critically injured and died Sunday morning at the hospital.  Dixon survived with little physical injuries, but surely emotional scars that may take a lifetime to heal.

Linda was clearly distraught.  Her voice cracked as she told me how she and her husband had been so impressed by Kraft that they had told his manager what a great asset he was to the restaurant.  She said she and her husband always hoped they would get Matt as their waiter when they went back.  She struggled to find the right words to explain how she felt:  "You know when someone just has that kind of personality that really touches you."  She described him as so friendly and warm that she and her husband felt like they knew him well even though he had only waited on them a few times.  When they heard the news they were devastated and felt compelled to give me a call.

Mostly Linda wanted Kraft's parents to know that he was someone special, not your average kid, but someone who made an impression on everyone he met.  I suspect they already know that, but I'm sure in the wake of this tragedy it's also nice to hear from other people whose lives he touched .

It is moments like this that I am reminded that everyone who is killed is someone's son, someone's brother, friend, husband, boyfriend, co-worker, employee, and on, and on, and on.   I only get a chance to meet these people through the memories of their friends and family.  But often the details they share give me a very real picture of who this person was.   I often come away wishing I had met them in life because there's no doubt in my mind that Matthew Kraft was someone worth knowing.

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About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.