"Can you be at the East Oregonian office tomorrow morning at 9:30?" Carol asked over my voice mail. The SLP that coordinated and raised money so that Taylor would get a voice for Christmas (see the blog post "A Voice for Christmas") had called me the night before to go help her do an interview for the paper.
Yes, Taylor was getting his voice and yes, the Tango device had arrived in the mail. She had wrapped it with ribbons and a bow, and the plan was that this morning, Friday, December 21st, we were going to hold an interview for the paper and then go to Taylor's house with the reporter and photographer in-tow to get photos. (The article would be in either the issue Christmas Eve, or the day after Christmas - since there is no paper delivered on Christmas Day.)
I was excited to think that we were actually going to Taylor's house and that we were going to watch him open the greatest gift I could imagine being given to a boy this year. My Christmas spirit "richter scale" was registering a strong 8 or greater...major stuff!
I looked at my watch. It was 8:30 a.m. and I had several things to do in the office before I could leave. As I reached for my list, the phone rang.
"Hello, Lon? This is Ceci West from Blink Twice. I bet you weren't expecting to hear from me this morning!"
"No, I wasn't!" I said.
Ceci explained that she was the marketing director for Blink Twice, the company that makes the Tango. I had sent my blog story links to them several days before thinking the company would enjoy hearing the story.
"I had to get out my tissues while I read Tyler's story," said Ceci. "We wanted you to know that to sweeten the pot, we would like to give Tyler and his family a free, one-on-one webinar with our training and education specialist."
I felt the need to pinch myself. "This is great! Thank you so much!" I replied.
Ceci continued, "Richard, our president and founder read the blog entries too and just loved the story. I went in his office yesterday to tell him about it and he was already reading it."
"We are getting ready to go to Taylor's house and deliver the Tango here in a few minutes." I explained. "The SLP and I are meeting at the newspaper office first for an interview and then we are all going to the house."
"Well, Richard would love to give you a direct quote for the paper if you would like. I can connect you to him." offered Ceci.
I asked if I could call back once we were at the newspaper office and let the reporter get the quote. Ceci said that would be fine. We chatted for a few minutes more and then I was out the door.
At the newspaper office, I explained the new developments - the free training and the direct quote from the founder, Richard Ellenson.
The interview went well, and after we explained to the reporter how this amazing miracle had happened, we got out the phone and called Blink Twice. We were connected to Richard, who was genuinely excited and supportive. He shared that this story was making it a special Christmas for him too.
"Thank you for developing such a wonderful device that is making such a terrific Christmas for Taylor." I told him. "Let me turn you over to the reporter."
I handed the phone to her.
After a couple of minutes of writing notes, she said "Thank you," and then hung up.
"OK," said the reporter, "Richard told me that we were supposed to have a group hug. Since he can't be here, he said to share one and include him too!" We all huddled in a group hug and then got ready to head over to Taylor's house.
There will be pictures of Taylor opening his Tango under the tree, but in the meantime I will be sharing what happened that morning - after the article comes out in the paper and Christmas day has come.
I am so thrilled to have the honor to share this story with you and I hope you will continue to follow it as it unfolds. There is more to share, but this update has been enough for now! Get ready for some great pictures and the final story as Taylor finally gets his voice.
I am so thankful that I have seen that Christmas miracles really can and do still happen. I hope this is true for you too as you share with your family and friends over the next couple of days.