Today University


My kids and I tagged along on my husband’s business trip to Mexico last week so we headed to the airport on a cold, snowy morning for a 7:00am flight. We trudged through security and were making our way to our gate among the tide of travelers.

My husband is six-feet tall, giving him a better view of the world than 5-foot-4-inch me. “There’s Katie Couric,” he casually said. Sure enough, not five feet in front of me was Katie. I was so excited. Katie Couric is an iconic celebrity in my world. I was a fan of the Today Show in my earlier adult years. I followed Katie’s life – the birth of her daughters, the early death of her husband to colon cancer. She was raised in the Washington area (Virginia, actually) so I always felt a connection for a hometown girl. It looked like some other people had recognized her and were chatting and walking with her.

We kept our onward movement and ended up walking next to Katie. She looked at us and smiled.

“Hi Katie,” I said.

Thus began a lovely interaction.

“Were you here visiting family?” I asked.

“Actually, I interviewed Rand Paul. He’s running for president,” she replied.

She remarked how she was surprised that so many people had recognized her this early morning as she felt she looked terrible.

“Katie, you look like a regular person,” I assured her.

“I’m Susan and this is Brad,” I said. “Since we know your name, it seems only fair that you know ours.”

We chatted about our upcoming trip. Then Katie told us that her mother had died recently and they had sold her house.

“My mother died too and my dad’s selling their house,” I commiserated.

She was so lovely and nice and normal. It was such a thrill for me. I called my sister when we changed planes. Our mother was a huge Today show fan. We used to joke that she studied at the University of the Today Show, where she got much of her news and information. She always thought that my husband looked like Matt Lauer, although Katie did not mention the resemblance.

After Katie left, our kids asked, “Who was that?” Of course, they had no idea the magnitude of the celebrity sighting. They sort of understood after hearing me tell the story to several people at the meeting we attended.

“I can’t believe you did that,” one of the spouses said. “I would never do that – I would worry that I was bothering her or intruding on her privacy.”

I think I’m a pretty good reader of people and felt like taking a risk. Katie was open and receptive to chatting. If she wasn’t, I would have left her alone. We were walking to our destinations the whole time – I did not ask for an autograph (does anyone even do that anymore?) or take a selfie with her. We were just two people making a connection that cold, early morning. I like to think my mother got a huge kick out of my celebrity sighting from her grand view up in heaven.

“Maybe your mother sent her,” another spouse suggested. Maybe she did.

I like to take occasional chances. If not Today, than when?