When WISH anchor-reporter Daniel Miller climbed down into a storm drain on Saturday morning to rescue 11 trapped ducklings, he was just trying to help out. He certainly had no idea of the kind of publicity that his trip into the Target parking lot sewer would eventually bring.
Since returning the ducklings to their mother, and compiling a quick piece on the rescue for WISH’s evening newscast (video above), Miller has become somewhat of a celebrity as video of the rescue has bounced around on the internet this week and been covered by news outlets around the county. Ellen DeGeneres even gave him a shout-out on Twitter.
“I cover stories all the time,” Miller told TVSpy recently. “I did not in any way expect that all of this would happen.”
Miller says that his Saturday began as just a regular work day. He anchored WISH’s morning newscast and then went out with photographer Jason Thompson to report on a man who was found dead in the middle of a street. When Miller returned to the station, the assignment editor told him that calls were coming in from local residents about a group of ducklings trapped in a storm drain. Miller and Thompson drove over to check it out and found a crowd gathered in the Target parking lot.
Thompson began grabbing shots of the crowd while Miller bent down to take a closer look at the drain. He says that the drain’s metal grate was surprisingly easy to remove so he took it off to get a better look at the 11 ducklings.
“If I don’t, who else would do it?” Miller remembers thinking at the moment when he lowered himself into the storm drain and began scooping up the ducklings.
A police officer offered him a glove to use and a man who had driven up to see why a crowd had gathered offered him a cloth bag to carry the ducklings in. Miller, who calls himself an “animal person,” says that he was able to quickly pick up the first 10 ducklings but the last one gave him a bit of trouble. After some coaxing, he was finally able to retrieve the stubborn duckling and return it to its mother.
While the mother duck was happy to have her babies back, Miller’s own mother had reason to celebrate as well. When Miller called his mom on Mother’s Day, the day after the rescue, he intended to tell her the story. It turned out, though, that his mom, who lives in North Carolina, already knew all about it.