Using a dart and phone book to find a news story usually means a long drive from the city, a long stare from the locals, and at least one unforseen circumstance. This time, CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman says, the unforeseen - Katherine Herrington - was a doozy.
He thought fate had led him to the home of Roger and Evelyn Lovejoy, the name he picked out of the phone book. But the person who answered the phone was Katherine Herrington.
She says she has no relation to the Lovejoys. Why did she answer the phone? Well, their house is "sort of " her house, she says.
"She's kind of like a daughter," says Roger Lovejoy. "Well, she's more like a granddaughter, really."
All the rules say is that Hartman has to do a story on someone at the house, which he liberally interpreted to include this one very sweet neighbor's kid.
A lot of kids don't like to hang out with older people. But Katherine says, "Not me, I'm different."
Her story begins a world away from the Nevada desert. She spent the first five years of her life in the seediest part of Sacramento, Calif. She lived with her mother and her mother's drug-dealing friends, sometimes in a house, sometimes in a garage, and sometimes on the street.
Custody fell to Katherine's father Harry. "It's been tough," he says. He is a disabled miner who was glad to have her - but soon exhausted by her.
"You know, you don't appreciate good people until you need help," he says.
Evelyn Lovejoy says, "She just looked up at me with those big brown eyes and I just kind of fell for her."
She always wanted a little girl and offered to take Katherine as often as her husband would allow - which wasn't much, she says, "He'd say no."
"No not tonight," adds Roger Lovejoy. "I don't want any kids hollering. Raising a ruckus around the place."
"And she'd say, 'How come,'" Evelyn interjects stating, "She grew on him."
Roger Lovejoy says, "After a while when she wasn't around, I'd say, 'Well, where's Katherine?' I started missing her when she wasn't here."
Seven years later, Katherine has become such a part of their lives - she even has her own bedroom at the Lovejoys. She comes over just about everyday after school, usually stays for dinner and then goes over to her dad's for the rest of the night. She splits her weekends, too.
They say it is like shared custody. "We just care about her very,
very much, very much," Evelyn Lovejoy says.
As for Katherine, she says, "I would hate to do without them."
At a time when so much is wrong in the world, it's nice to be reminded that some things are still very, very right.