Sunday, November 15, 2009

Typo led to balloon boy's grandmother

The most popular story online in the past 24 hours, by far, has been the report about the balloon boy's grandmother who lives -- where else! -- in Bradenton.

And we have the story thanks to our TV partner, Bay News 9. The station had been airing the news on Friday that Richard Heene had pleaded guilty to staging the now-infamous balloon chase, leading authorities to believe that his son Falcon was inside. People worldwide had followed the chase, only to learn that the boy was found safe at the Heenes’ home.

One glitch in the report: Bay News 9 had misspelled Heene's name. His mother -- Falcon's grandmother -- happened to be watching and called to tell them. And an alert program manager quickly called Jim Jones on our metro desk to let us know.

Jim soon had Rae Sprow on the phone, and the conversation was neighborly. Sprow even sent us photos from the family's visit to Bradenton early last year.

She's standing by her son. He's lucky -- imagine her terror when she thought her grandson was trapped, then fallen from a likely death trap.

Here's hoping Mrs. Sprow gets to hug her grandkids soon.

-- Joan

Rae Sprow with Falcon and another grandson, fishing on Anna Maria Island pier.

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