Mistaken identity

You’re here today?  They told me you only come here on weekends.

You’re — that guy.

The speaker was a woman working at a warehouse store.  I had stopped in one day last week on the way home from work, a weeknight.  I hadn’t seen her before.  But she knew me.  Apparently, she watches TV.

Good to see you.  Now I’m gonna go tell my friend I saw Richard Belcher in here on a weekday.  Have a blessed day!

“You too!” I said cheerily, and walked off.

Richard Belcher, WSB

As you probably know, Belcher is an enterprising hard-news animal who breaks stories on WSB.  Like me, he’s got the grey maned, middle-aged / old guy thing going.  Belcher is a distinctive looking guy.

I’m the guy who just sort of looks like him at first glance, pretty much everywhere I go.

“Hey.  Hey!”  A stranger is smiling and pointing in recognition.  “You’re that newsman.  What’s your name again?”

Dale Russell, WAGA

“Richards.”  I go with the last name because I know that’s what they want to hear.

Yessir!  Richards Belcher.  Great to meet you.”

At first glance, I’m frequently also Jeff Dore, Dale Russell and Randy Travis.  I kinda get Dore, another grey-haired guy.  Russell and I have the same initials, so I get that.  But Travis and I don’t look anything alike.

“Hey!  Randy Travis!”

Jeff Dore, WSB

“No, but I know Randy.  I’ll tell him you said hi.”

It’s not just from a distance.  A couple of years ago, I met a friend for a beer at the Grove, a pub in my neighborhood.  A fortyish woman sitting next to me interjected in our conversation.  “Soon as I heard your voice, I knew who you were.  You do a great job on the news.”

Randy Travis, WAGA

She began complaining about local news, one of my favorite topics.  “So much blood and guts.  But you do a great job.”  As she drank, her level of friendliness increased.  I put my my ring-bearing left hand on prominent display, and diverted the conversation back toward the amused man I’d originally met there.

She finally paid her tab and started to stagger out.

“It was great talking with you,” she said.  “Can’t wait to tell my girlfriends I shared a barstool with Richard Belcher.”

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form, zero, zilch, nada. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

22 thoughts on “Mistaken identity

  1. Mark

    You’re much better looking than any of those guys. Except maybe John Bachman.But then you don’t seem to get mistaken for him. ;)

    Reply
  2. Lisa Clark

    Ha! Back in the late 80′s I was at the grocery store and passed a woman who pointed at me, shook her head and declared “I KNOW you’re on the news but DON’T tell me your name …!” Annoyingly, we were locked in a rhythm which meant we crossed paths practically every aisle, no matter how much I hurried. Finally … somewhere in the vicinity of the paper towels she shouted “I’ve GOT it! Monica Kaufman!!! Can I have your autograph??” I dutifully signed her shopping list: “Thanks for watching … Monica.”

    Reply
    1. Mark

      This would be a better story if we knew what you looked like, “Monica.” (giggle) I secretly hope you’re a tall, skinny, white woman.

      Reply
  3. Deanna

    Don’t feel bad. I have a friend who’s a local reporter and is fairly new to Atlanta. He was really excited when he was sitting at a traffic light and the guy in the car next to his gestured for him to roll down his window and said, “Hey! Don’t I know you?”

    For just a moment my buddy was proudly thinking that his media presence in Atlanta was finally becoming widely-recognized. And then the guy continued, “I know! I know! You waited on me last night at Olive Garden!”

    Reply
  4. Randy Travis

    This is a little off topic but when I covered the World Series in Minnesota back in 1991 I would come back to the hotel room to find notes in my room from the maids. “I saw you perform at the Fairgrounds last summer,” one said. “Could I have an autograph?” they all said.

    I signed everything they left me. Right name at least. But once again the wrong guy.

    Reply
  5. burke brennan

    As Dale Cardwell’s unauthorized stunt double, I feel your pain. At first, I used to correct people, which made them feel embarrassed and/or disappointed. Now when people say they loved my stuff on WSB, I just play along, thank them, and tell them to tune in on FOX 5 at 11:30 on Sundays …

    Reply
  6. chamblee54

    I was in a parking lot once, and it was pouring down rain. (This was pre drought, when rain was unpopular.) Who should walk by but Guy Sharpe. He looked at me, and it almost seemed like he was apologizing.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Several years ago I saw you at a bar in L5P and could not recall your name. And I was a big fan of your funny man about town stories. I still laugh thinking about the hunters convention you covered and posed in a picture with a dead deer.

    It’s a strange thing to be a fan of some guy on Tv who constantly states his name and not recall his name when sighted in public.

    Keith Whitney is the same way. I see him at home depot on Ponce often and never remember his name. Used to see Wes Sargensen at Zesto on Ponce a lot, too.

    It’s like I only know you guys if you’re in Tv.

    Reply

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