Everybody in the World Has a Story: Teen Angst

Sandro Giovannini of Cordoba, Argentina
Sandro Giovannini of Cordoba, Argentina. Everybody in the World Has a Story.
In the popular CBS News series "Everybody Has a Story," a dart was thrown at a map of America every two weeks. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman then went wherever it struck, flipped through the local phone book, and picked a name at random. He then did a story on someone at that house.

With the help of space-age technology, Hartman has gone global to begin a new spin on the series - "Everybody in the World has a Story."

When CBS News teamed up with NASA to explore the outer reaches of conventional journalism, we had a theory: that we could find a compelling, relatable story no matter where in the world astronaut Jeff Williams pointed -- which in this case, is a city in central Argentina called Cordoba.

Cordoba is Argentina's second largest city.

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Sandro Giovannini, 28, lives in Cordoba with his girlfriend, Estrella. They've been dating four years. Although I don't speak any Spanish, it was pretty obvious from the start that theirs is a very loving, playful relationship.

Sandro's story, on the other hand, is anything but giggles. It begins long before Estrella, back when his whimsy and warmth was all anger and angst.

Sandro says when he was a teenager growing up on his parent's farm, he and his dad would argue constantly.

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"Ever since I was a young boy I was different from my dad," Sandro explains. "Or maybe we weren't different; maybe we were so similar we just bumped heads."

His mom, Graciella, says the biggest battles were always over what Sandro should do with his life.

"He said he wanted to be a writer. His dad said, 'You're crazy - I raised you to be a farmer," said Graciella, "'I didn't raise you to be a writer or anything else.'"

The fights escalated until one day, at the age of 16, Sandro ran away from home. His dad was so fed-up he even helped him pack.

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Sandro says he spent the next three nights in a boarding house living off a single apple.

Sandro didn't want to just return home and let his dad win.

"It was tough," says Sandro. "I was young and pride played a big part."

Sandro lasted those three days and then three more. He made it a month, then a year. His mom says she wanted to invite him back many times but his father wouldn't allow it. So Sandro never returned. He got jobs and somehow survived.

But here's the amazing part: even though Sandro was working sometimes 16 hours a day, he still always made time for school. Somehow he avoided the trappings that trip-up most runaways and, not only finished high school, but next year, he'll graduate from college.

"It's a moment I've been waiting for a long time."

It has already taken him seven years, working part-time jobs like the one he has now at a news stand. But Sandro says his diploma will be well worth the sacrifice.

His mother will be there for the graduation - but his father won't. Sandro's dad died suddenly 5 years ago, before they ever had a chance to really make-up.

If his dad were at his graduation, Sandro says: "I think he'd be happy. He would have realized many things about me. I really wish he could be there."

I found this story a hemisphere away, but Sandro says there's a message in it for teenagers everywhere.

"Parents always want what's best for their children," says Sandro. "And what may upset you sometimes is simply done out of love."

Likewise, Sandro says your parents need to understand that sometimes your children know themselves better than you do. Take it from the soon-to-be college graduate -- who still plans to be a writer.

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.