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EXCLUSIVE: Robin Roberts Reflects on Her Extraordinary Father

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Robin Roberts and Dad

This excerpts from Dare To Be Extraordinary: A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers are taken from the chapter on ABC Broadcaster and Good Morning America host, Robin Roberts.

Robin Roberts brings joy, honesty, and news to millions of loyal Good Morning America viewers each day. When she laughs, we laugh. When she cries, we cry. People are naturally drawn to her just as they were drawn to her loving father, Colonel Lawrence Edward Roberts, a man she describes as a true officer and a gentleman...

In Roberts’ eyes, her father was a gentle giant. He was compassionate and although he had a straight-laced, buttoned up persona, and a deep voice, there was a real softness to him.…

Roberts loved to answer the telephone: “Colonel Roberts’ quarters, Robin speaking.” Her father would just look at her as if to say, “Oh my gosh, what have I raised?” …When the future broadcaster was ten years old, her family lived on Keesler Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi where her father was a commander. Her uncle and his family came to visit. Excited, Roberts wanted to run outside to greet them the moment she saw her uncle’s car pull up in the yard. Her dad calmly put his arm around her shoulders and said, “No.” He wanted her to conduct herself like a young lady and expressed that when they got in the house, she could jump up and down and knock her cousins over like a Labrador retriever if she chose to…

Colonel Roberts never had to sit Roberts or any of his children down to talk about going to college or doing something important with their lives. Greatness was just expected...

She remembers a time in college when she had her heart set on buying a motorcycle, and she felt that she needed to tell somebody. So she called her sister, Dorothy … About an hour later her telephone rang … “Dorothy won’t tell us what it is but she said that you’re going to do something you shouldn’t do, so technically she didn’t violate your trust,” her mother said.

Roberts told her mother the truth: “I’m getting a motorcycle tomorrow.”

Immediately her mother put her dad on the phone. Her father firmly said to his youngest child, “Under no circumstances will you buy a motorcycle. No daughter of mine will do that. You know it’s a deathtrap. You have a car to get you from point A to point B. You know, if that’s gonna be the case you can bring that car home, and you can just ride your bicycle to your classes.” Her father went on and on until Roberts relented. “Fine, I won’t buy a motorcycle!” Robin said and hung up.

Many years later, her dad asked her, “Did I handle that right, Robin? Because I really don’t think I handled that right with you.” Robin replied, “Dad I’m fine! It’s okay. I’ve really let it go.”…

Roberts’s father influenced her career choice because it was an adventure being the daughter of Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts. She wanted to see even more of the world because her dad had already shown it to her and because she had already gotten a taste of it, she knew that as an adult a nine to five job wasn’t for her.…

On Good Morning America in 2003, Roberts had the honor of flying an AT-6, an Air Force training aircraft her dad once trained in. … They found an old clunker and Roberts joked that she wanted to fly a plane like her father did, not the actual 50+ year-old-plane that he flew in World War II. “This thing came chugging down the runway and my father was just beaming,” Robin shares. “Some of my favorite video is of him watching me fly and being with other Tuskegee Airmen.”…

Knowing that her father came from humble beginnings and went on to fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot influenced her to pursue her own dream of becoming a sports journalist. “It was almost like, how dare I not try to do this.…

“My dad saw me become the news anchor, but he passed away before I became an anchor at Good Morning America. He passed away shortly before I became one of the anchors with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson,” Robin says. “I so wanted him to see this, but the comfort I have is that I know my father was proud of me and that’s the only thing that I, or any child, could ever ask for.”

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