Melanie Bailey ‘overwhelmed’ by it all

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Melanie Bailey

Today Melanie Bailey is back to school at Devils Lake in her first period gym class but everything is far from normal for the high school senior.

One week ago today the world learned what the staff at DLHS already knew, what an extraordinary young woman Bailey is when the story broke that she’d carried an injured opponent a quarter of a mile on her back to get medical  help. This incident happened Saturday, Oct. 11 at a cross country meet held at the Ponderosa Golf Course in Glyndon, Minn., sponsored by Fargo schools for the EDC.

Bailey, competing for Devils Lake, noticed that the girl running ahead of her was badly limping, sobbing, unable to continue so she stopped to offer help. Although the taller and somewhat heavier Danielle Lanoue, from Fargo South High School, told her to keep running, Bailey refused. Instead she tried several ways to help her opponent get to where she could receive medical attention. She settled on taking the girl’s full weight on her back and carried her approximately 1/4 of a mile. They were photographed by Janelle Hogenson of West Fargo.

In her first interview about the incident, Bailey told the Journal she didn’t think she’d done anything extraordinary, she was just “doing the right thing.”

But that was just the beginning of the story. Since that story was published, it has been duplicated, added to and done again and again by so many different news and sports agencies it’s hard to keep track of them all.

Shortly after that first interview Bailey left on a trip to New York City with her grandmother, Cynthia Lindquist. They’d long planned this visit to the Big Apple scheduled for Teacher’s Convention weekend, Oct. 16 and 17. They returned to Devils Lake Tuesday, and today was Bailey’s first day back to school since she’s become something of a celebrity.

She said that the whole thing has been overwhelming. “I never thought I’d ever get on the front page of the Devils Lake Journal. I was so excited when that story came out,” she admitted.

She took a picture of the Journal’s front page from Oct. 15 and posted it on her Facebook page, thrilled to be recognized for her good deed.

Little did she know that her story would go around the country and that she would be interviewed by radio, TV and magazine reporters from around the nation.

“They even found me when my grandmother and I were in New York,” she said. Fox news had her get into hair and make up for their interview. ABC gave her a tour of their New York headquarters. She even received a text from The Doctors show from CBS.

Her trip with grandmother was punctuated with texts and posts and phone calls from news agencies, “You wouldn’t believe it,” she said.

It all became pretty overwhelming, she admitted. “At first, I enjoyed the attention we were getting, but I admit, it got old pretty fast - even a little frightening.

“I expected maybe a pat on the back or two, I guess, and for people to say ‘good job’ when they learned about what happened, but not in my wildest dreams did I think anything like this would happen,” she exclaimed.

“I was really surprised by all of this attention,” she admitted.

“I was shocked you put my story on the front page of the Journal last week - now all of this - what can I say?’

She went to drama practice on Tuesday evening and the coach asked her if she needed a cape to wear. Confused Bailey asked him what he was talking about, since she is playing a teacher in the play. He said it was because she was a “Super Hero” now, good naturedly ribbing her about her new-found fame.

She said most everyone has been so supportive and kind that she has really been grateful.

“Aw, I bet it will all die down eventually and by Christmas nobody will remember who Melanie Bailey is,” she said.

Maybe, maybe not.

When she finished the interview with the Journal there were messages waiting for her from Men’s Health magazine, among others, and she said Sports Illustrated had gotten in touch with her, as well.

Next week Tuesday she flies out to Los Angeles to appear on a popular talk show, but she couldn’t reveal which one it was because they’d asked her to keep it secret. Her grandmother, plus Danielle Lenoue and Danielle’s parents will accompany her on that trip. “I wouldn’t have gone unless Danielle was included,” she said. “None of this would have happened without her.”

Rumors are that Bailey will be recognized by the Devils Lake School Board and possibly the Mayor and city of Devils Lake, as well, so we haven’t heard the last of this story yet, even locally, not by a long shot.

In the meantime, she has three hours of missed phy ed class to make up, now, and some catching up at school to do and no doubt some more interviews lie ahead.