Backstage Blog: A Hysterical Pregnancy...Mistake
Posted: Tue 07/10/2012 03:09 PM
Todd is 5 years older than me and is one of those big brothers that a kid can spend their entire life trying to live up to. Smart, funny, beloved... He was a golden child and is now a pretty golden grown-up. He's a guy that can be counted on in almost any situation—but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t make the occasional hilarious mistake.
About 15 years ago, Todd and I were in Orlando, Florida, en route to a cruise ship. I was about to begin my second contract as an improv comic onboard, and I was bringing my big brother along for his first. We were waiting in the airport at the baggage carousel when a homeless man approached my brother and asked him for money. Todd said that he didn’t have any and the man turned and left. He slowly walked over to some chairs, where an equally disheveled woman was waiting. From where we were standing, we could easily see her protruding belly and surmised that she was pregnant. A touching look came over Todd’s face. You could see him imagining the difficult life that would lay before that child and felt deep guilt for not helping the man.
Todd walked over to the couple and handed the man a twenty dollar bill. Todd waved off the man's thanks, pointed to the woman’s belly and said, "You just take good care of that baby, OK?"
To which the man replied, "She’s not pregnant."
Never before in the history of man do I think that three words ever did so much damage to one human psyche. All the color drained from Todd’s face and he tried to stammer through an apology. For the only time that I can recall, Todd was at a loss for words.
After several excruciating moments, he was saved by the woman who finally said, "For another 20 bucks, you can insult me again. Shoot, for $40, you can say I look like I'm having triplets."
We all burst into laughter. We stayed and chatted with the couple until ours were the only two bags left on the carousel. They had an all-too-common story of layoffs, sudden illness and prejudice. They were victims of circumstance, but refused to give up the fight. Asking for money hurt the man at his core, but he would do ANYTHING to care for this woman. And she loved him for it—pure and simple. They were an inspiring pair. We gave them as much as we could and they were gracious and kind and thankful and truly wonderful.
They took Todd's e-mail address that day and, years later, he received an e-mail with a picture of the couple in their living room. They explained in the e-mail that they both had found work and had moved into a duplex and were doing very well. And then he added, at the end of the letter, "Notice anything about my wife?"
We studied the picture again and realized she was pregnant. And we knew that kid was going to be just fine.
What's always struck me about this story is not what you'd think. It’s wonderful that they were able to put themselves in a better position. It's a testament to courage and perseverance and the triumph of will. But, the part that really hits me, is that this one awkward, embarrassing, funny moment stayed with all four of us for all those years. It was just a goofy little mistake, yet it brought us together for a moment and still stuck in the brain of that man for years...at least enough to let us know when the time came that Todd's "take care of that kid" advice could actually come in handy.
It's those little moments that you can never plan for that end up staying with you.
So, in honor of this moment from the annals of Todd history, I suggested the question, "Is it normal to have complimented a woman on her pregnancy and then found out she wasn’t pregnant?"
I can’t tell you the answer, but I will say that A LOT more people in the office shared similar stories, once I broached the subject. Even Barry's done it! If it's normal or not...well, there’s only one way to find out. Watch Linda and Jason tackle that question and share their stories on Saturday's episode.
I don't know if that couple is still in Orlando, but their kid is probably about seven now. I don’t know what the kid likes or does or wants to be, but I DO know he has kind, funny, hard-working, determined parents who know exactly the kind of circumstances they want to protect their child from. And that seems like a hell of a good start.