Reporters love a good mystery and I found one in a viral Facebook post.
A Biloxi woman captured a photo of a Walmart associate, walking side by side with a blind man, as she helped him shop.
It seemed that before Meghann Shaw could even blink, the photo and inspiring words she posted had been shared 800 times. The post was moving toward 10,000 shares Monday morning.
I was able to track down the Walmart associate, identified in a national story as Brittany Walton, and interview her Friday. She said the blind man’s name was “Mr. Roy.” I didn’t have a last name or solid lead on Mr. Roy, so I wrote a story and went home.
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But I knew Mr. Roy would surface. And sure enough he did. A reader emailed me Saturday with Mr. Roy’s full name and telephone number. “He would love to tell his part of the story,” she said.
Roy Morris had heard all about the viral Facebook post, but he had no idea he was on the front page of the Sun Herald on Sunday. I worked Sunday and his apartment was close by in Biloxi, so I offered to take him a couple of newspapers and read the story to him.
Mr. Roy was loves to talk. He told me about his life. He was 26 years old, married and working on an oil rig in Rose Hill, Mississippi, when he had the car accident that cost him his sight.
It was after midnight and he was 14 miles from home when his pride and joy, a black Bonneville Brougham with black interior, left the road and landed in a ditch. The gear shift punctured his right eye. His head swelled up the size of a basketball.
Mr. Roy never saw another thing, not even light.
He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. He found work here and there and eventually returned to school, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2003 from the University of Southern Mississippi.
The father of two said he divorced in 2006. About a year ago, he moved to the Coast, where he secured full-time employment as a switchboard operator for the Veterans Administration in Biloxi.
A friend or his landlord usually takes him shopping, but he hates to lean on them too much. So he went in a taxi cab to Biloxi’s Walmart Supercenter alone for the first time on July 15.
Brittany volunteered to assist him. As they strolled up an aisle, Shaw snapped the picture.
Someone at work told him about the Facebook post.
“She said, ‘You went viral.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ ” he told me. “I just went there to do some shopping that night.”
Morris thought it was very “cool” the post has been shared so many times.
He giggled. He giggles a lot.
And there’s another thing. “I can’t help being a flirt,” the 55-year-old said. “I am.”
We laughed and talked about Waynesboro, where I spent many happy summer weeks on my grandmother’s farm.
Guess where we ended up? Walmart. Mr. Roy had to pick up some new tennis shoes, Vienna sausages and air freshener. He loves Vienna sausages. He bought a 12-pack.
I told him they were not good for him. Of course, he already knew that.
We asked about Brittany when we checked out. Yes, she was working.
She strolled toward us with a smile and offered Mr. Roy her hand. He seemed tickled to have the attention of two women.
When we got back to his apartment, I helped him inside with his groceries. I promised I’d bring him a copy of our followup story.
So I guess I’ll be seeing Mr. Roy again.