Some Characters We Met in 2014

WSVN — Patrick and Howard hear from tens of thousands of people contacting Help Me Howard each year. Many are memorable, some are unbelievable, and tonight they are here as we wrap up the 16th year of Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser with a few of those people.

It’s indisputable: South Florida is filled with interesting characters, and like everyone else, once in a while they need some help from Help Me Howard.

Omar Rajpute: “I can openly say that girls love me.”

There was the never modest Omar Rajpute, who complained because he was banned from a gay South Beach nightclub because he’s not gay.

Omar Rajpute: “They told me because I am straight. That’s one of the reasons.”

Turns out the law says you cannot ban a straight guy from a gay club.

Of course, you can’t slice up a person’s World Cup jersey, either, but Bob says his ex-wife did that when his shirts were mistakenly shipped to her address.

Bob Blair: “And I opened it up. The two jerseys were cut in half, and I knew exactly that she had found those jerseys, my ex-wife, and she cut them right down the middle.”

Ain’t love grand?

And being well known should be good. It was used against us.

Ronald Spease: “Me knowing a lot of people watch Help Me Howard, it kind of enhanced my chances of getting something in return from them.”

What Ronald did was tell people he was raising money to bury his dead wife as part of a Help Me Howard segment … except he doesn’t have a wife.

Luis Cruz: “I feel bad, and I gave $100 to him.”

It’s a felony to do what Ronald did. After we tracked him down, he said he was sorry he lied to dozens of people. Some didn’t believe his apology.

Veronica Trollerud: “I think he is a very good actor.”

We did meet a lot of wonderful people.

Betty Bentley: “I have always been a happy person. I’m always happy.”

Betty is a good, honest person, and contacted us after she found thousands of dollars in savings bonds.

Betty Bentley: “I don’t believe in taking what’s not mine.”

The owner of the savings bonds had passed away. Betty asked us to find the next of kin. We did, and Betty sent the bonds to her.

Edward Watson: “Oh, she loved it tremendously.”

Ed’s mother collected teddy bears. After she passed away he had to sell the house, and wanted to donate 130 bears.

Edward Watson: “We want them to go to good use, you know? Put a smile on a kid’s face.”

He called us. We took them to the Lotus House that cares for homeless kids.

Ed was happy … and sad.

Patrick Fraser: “A little melancholy?”

Edward Watson: Yeah.”

Patrick Fraser: “Because?”

Edward Watson: “It’s a part of my family.”

But on Christmas, 130 kids who were once homeless got a teddy bear, thanks to Ed and his mother.

Jean had an interesting complaint.

Jean Benacchio: “They just don’t want us to know what we are being taxed.”

Jean wanted to force the state to put a sticker on gas pumps revealing they’re charging a 54-cent tax on each gallon of gas you buy.

Jean Benacchio: “If they see it on the pump, then somebody is going to say. ‘You know, that’s really ridiculous.'”

Speaking of ridiculous, meet Alex Williams.

Alex Williams: “How could this be my child when you and I had protected sex? You wanna know the answer?”

Alex called us after a woman sued him for child support, so he asked, how did he father the child if they had safe sex?

Alex Williams: “The answer was, ‘I took the contents out of the rubber and I impregnated myself. This is your child.'”

The woman may have tried it, but a DNA test delivered the news Alex wanted to hear.

Phoebe François: “There is a zero percent probability that you are the father of this child.”

We could go on for an hour. So many interesting, wonderful people we met, and a few less than stellar people. But they told us to wrap it up, so let’s finish with Addie Owens.

Addie Owens: “We are the oldest women of color club in the State of Florida.”

Addie called us because the Broward Women’s Club was about to lose a $75,000 grant to buy a new bus. We did a little work.

They got their new bus, and we got what everyone needs to hear more often: a warm, beautiful thank you.

Addie Owens: “Thanks, you guys. I love you.”

We really are lucky. I mean, we have a job that is not like any other job — getting to help people solve their problems — and when they leave smiling, it leaves us smiling.

A bear of a problem slicing up your peace of mind? Wanna gas up and bus it away? Contact us. We don’t hide anything. We just want to convert your problem to a success and cash in.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
E-mail: helpmeHoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN