People often ask me in all the years I have worked in TV news, who is the best person I ever worked with.?
I have said before that the first person that pops into my head is Robin Meade. Robin is the morning Anchor at HLN and she and I worked together years ago in Miami.
Robin was great on air, professional off air and just one of the nicest people that I ever met.
But, after thinking more about it, I think Robin might have to move down to the second spot on my list of best people I have ever worked with.
I think the best person goes to a Sports Producer that I worked with waaaaaay back when in West Palm Beach.
His name is Mike Caruso and he and I worked together at WPEC, in fact he still works there.
Mike was not only a great guy, he was inspiring.
I was his boss at WPEC and in the entire time I was there, the guy never called in sick. He was never late for work and he did his job with determination and cared about his work.
He also suffers from muscular dystrophy.
Mike has been confined to a wheelchair his entire life. But after getting to know him you forget the chair is even there.
It doesn't stop Mike from using the chair as part of his routine to break the ice. I remember one night he went out to the bar with some co-workers, the next day he comes into work looking a little rough. He says "my gut hurts, my head hurts, hell even my wheels hurt."
Mike always makes you feel good and his attitude was second to none.
I would watch Mike edit and he took great care in picking the right shots. It was sometimes a struggle for him to get the video tapes into the machines. Sitting in a wheelchair with arms that don't work as well as yours and mine, he would have really work to get a tape into the machine to edit. Mike never complained, never asked to have the edit booth designed better for him, he just did what he had to do.
I haven't talked to Mike in years, but we are friends on Facebook and the other day he posted this message:
"I want to thank everyone for the kind words today....have to admit it has been a hard one.....trying not to let people at my job know.....well time to break the news....after 6 months of testing it appears my muscular dystrophy is starting to take over......my muscles are losing mass.....at the rate it is going my arms might be useless in a year or so.....my doxtor and I are going to be aggressive about this and try a new approach.....not giving up folks....I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!"
That paragraph is all you need to know about Mike Caruso. The guy gets the news that he soon may lose use of his arms and instead of thinking "poor me" ..... he's ready to take on his muscular dystrophy and do his best to kick its ass.
I have no doubt that if anyone can do it, It's Mike!
I feel for people that have not got the chance to meet Mike yet, because if you do, you'll walk away inspired.
Yesterday, Mike posted another message on Facebook. It read:
Watch out world I got my swagger back!!!!!!!!!
I for one can say for fact...Mike you never lost your swagger and you never will.
As I said, Robin Meade has been bumped down to number 2 on my list, but before you get a big head Mike.....Robin Meade is still a hell of a lot better looking than you!
Although, you got better wheels.
Mikey....you put the Roll ....in Rock and Roll.
Best to you Mike! You have always inspired me!