Reporter Notebook: Meeting Scotty McCreeryPosted: Aug 31, 2012 5:16 PM EDT Updated: Aug 31, 2012 5:28 PM EDT
What a nice kid! I can say that since I'm twice as old as he is. I'm talking about Scottie McCreery.
Scotty is a freshman at North Carolina State University, but you probably know him as the winner of season 10 of the American Idol.
He has also recorded the platinum album "Clear As Day," featuring the hit songs "I Love You This Big," and "The Trouble With Girls."
And today when I encountered him, he was just a young man traveling with his family to watch the Wolfpack play football this weekend.
I was doing a story on gas prices, and for the story I went to the rest area off I-85 in Concord. My idea was to interview drivers and ask them where they had last filled up and how much they paid per gallon. Drivers from Virginia said they paid around $3.60, those from eastern North Carolina were up to $3.75 or so.
I had talked to about a dozen drivers and passengers from all over the place and I was just about ready to leave. Then I saw a car with two NC State flags pull in a the lower end of the driveway. I decided to run and talk to one more driver.
I saw a very tall man and his wife starting to get out of the car, and I noticed what appeared to be a young man and a young girl in the back. Both were busy on their phones.
The man had a somewhat puzzled look as I approached, but when I told him who I was and what I was doing, he started smiling, and agreed to a short interview. I asked him about gas prices. He told me he and his family were on the way to Atlanta for the game, and that it had cost him about $50 to fill up his rented Toyota.
When I was finished we made a little friendly small talk and I wished them safe travel. But then the man's wife said something unusual. "You don't know who we are, do you?" I looked at them both, glanced in the car, and innocently asked if they were from my hometown of Salisbury. They laughed and said no. Then she said "We're the McCreery's." I tried to think of everyone I know named McCreery, and I couldn't come up with a single one. "Scotty, Scotty McCreery."
"Oh yeah!" I blurted. Now it all made sense. Scotty was still on the phone, actually doing a live radio interview. I talked with his mom for a while about a number of things, including their trip, their church life in Garner, NC, and all the upcoming concerts and appearances.
I also asked her if she thought he would mind popping out of the car for a quick interview. She thought it would be fun, and as soon as he finished the radio interview, Scotty jumped out of the backseat and stuck out his hand to say hello.
He was wearing a red, NC State visor, and had a large cross on a chain around his neck. We talked for just a few minutes; I knew his family wanted to get going. Scotty was unfailingly polite and genial.
"Yeah, you just kind of walked up and I was in the car," MCCreery. He said he was excited about going to the game with his family, and wasn't too concerned about the gas prices. "Yeah this is a family trip so I'm not having to fork out the money for the road trip for the gas. It'll be good, it's worth it." And with that I thanked him, he climbed back in the car and the McCreery's wee on their way. For me it was a chance encounter, but one that left a good impression of a very nice and talented young man. Best of luck to you Scotty!