Instead of finding stories as most reporters do, CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman uses a highly sophisticated piece of newsgathering equipment: a dart. He asks a person on the street to throw a dart at a map to help him choose where he'll go next in search of a story. Once there, he picks a subject at random from the phone book. The premise is that "Everybody Has a Story." Hart, Ky., is where he discovered Amanda Harper.
Much to the chagrin of her family, 14-year-old Amanda sings, pretty much every day, pretty much all day. And though she admits it might take a few voice lessons, she's confident that someday she'll be a rich and famous country singer."This is something I really want to do," she says.
Of course, throw a rock in this town and you're going to hit 100 kids who want to be country singers. But Amanda has one thing no one else does. She has her very own living, breathing inspiration. He is Troy Basil, who says, "I think if you've got enough willpower you can do anything you want."
Basil was born blind, taught himself to play guitar, and became one of the most popular bluegrass singers in the country 40 years ago. Today he's down to one last die-hard fan - his granddaughter, Amanda. She recalls, "When I was little, I used to sit there and watch him. You're just like mesmerized."
Basil now sings gospel with Amanda's dad and mom. They sing just for the joy of it. But Amanda still wants that fame, or so she says. But ask her, "Do you ever pray that you're going to be a famous singer?" and she'll answer, "No. Someone might need a bigger prayer than I do, you know."
Kids are often egocentric little creatures. But you hope they grow up and realize that true happiness doesn't come from helping yourself, it comes from helping others.
Amanda seems to be almost there. She says she may even be a nurse, if the country singer thing doesn't work out. Perhaps that's why fate sent a reporter here in the first place. So Amanda could get on television, and get it out of her system.
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Copyright 1999 CBS. All rights reserved.