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Re Porter - Chasing Santa
bethany porter

When I decided to become a reporter, no one told me how many times I would embarrass myself. Not once when studying journalism at MTSU did a professor tell me that embarrassment and awkward situations come with the job. I guess it’s a learn-as-you-go kind of thing, but since I started working here a year and a half ago, I have embarrassed myself countless times including when I ran after a firetruck. 

My very first column was about awkward situations that included my first-day disaster and the time I walked all around the fairgrounds five or more times looking for people I unknowingly passed each time. Both of these stories took place in the summer and involved sweating to death. I have since bought a neck fan. 

I guess the longer I work here the more embarrassing I will become. I think it is inevitable. A few weeks ago, Santa came to the mall. He was supposed to be there at 11 a.m. and ride in on a firetruck. I got to the mall a little early, like 10:30 a.m., and sat in my car waiting for Santa. I was minding my own business when I hear a horn. It was around 10:45 and Santa was already on the firetruck headed toward a few children. 

I quickly grabbed my camera and got out of my car. I speed walked in front of Kroger and attempted to shoot Santa, with my camera of course. I get a few pictures then my heart sank when I noticed a whole crowd of kids near Roses. That would be a better picture because, after all, I’m pretty sure Santa isn’t a newspaper subscriber and I’m pretty sure his parents wouldn’t be delighted to see him in the paper. 

I assessed the situation for a second then decide I want the kid picture with Santa. The firetruck just passed Kroger and I decided I needed to be at Roses. I did the unthinkable and took off sprinting next to the firetruck in front of the crowd of people there for Santa. I am sure some people took their eyes off Santa to see what in the world the girl on the other side of the truck was doing.

While I was running, I was also laughing at how ridiculous this was. I was truly a sight to see. It was a miracle I actually had tennis shoes on that day. I trail the truck to Roses and attempt to take pictures of the crowd of kids watching Santa. My pictures were horrible and I was annoyed, but then I noticed the truck stopped. I had no idea the truck was going to stop and let Santa out!   

I had just embarrassed myself running across the mall parking lot attempting to get a cute picture, when I could have simply walked over there because it took forever for Santa to get off the truck ladder, nearly 10 minutes.

Dignity and reporting do not coexist unfortunately. Embarrassing yourself is part of the job and thankfully I have a good sense of humor or I would have crawled into a hole of embarrassment long ago.   

Standard reporter Bethany Porter can be reached at (931) 473-2191.