The Note (2007) Movie Script

...point eight
pan transit 848.
See you next time.
Have a happy holidays, 848.
Middleborough approach,
pan transit 848 descending
through one-two thousand.
Pt 848, middleborough approach,
radio contact sixty Miles
north of the airport.
Reduce speed
to two-one-zero knots.
You're cleared
at one-zero thousand,
squawk six-three-seven-one.
Pt 848 copy.
Cleared to one-zero thousand.
Maintain two-one-zero,
squawking six-three-zero-one.
Morning, Jim.
Hey, Peyton,
how's the column goin'?
Have you been
reading it?
And your picture
looks great.
Middleborough approach, pt 848.
we're experiencing
a little electrical problem.
848, are you declaring
an emergency?
Not at this time,
We'd just like to expedite
our landing.
He liked my picture.
My writing sucks,
but he liked my picture.
Morning, chief.
Don't call me chief.
This is not
the daily planet.
And don't ever
ask anyone
what they think
of your column.
I don't have
a column.
Yeah, well,
I'm beginning to wish
I didn't either.
speaking of which,
Nora wants to see you
and I quote,
"the second she drags
her butt in here."
Perfect. She probably
wants to comment
on my picture too.
What have you got
on your face?
It's part of the look.
Just so you know,
most people pay to have
stuff like that removed.
Middleborough approach,
pt 848,
we got a generator issue here;
We're losing altitude.
848, say again.
I say again,
we're losing power to avionics.
We're gonna declare
an emergency at this time.
Standby 848.
Kb air, one-one-four,
fire control,
we have an emergency
on final approach,
runway 2-1 right.
How goes the struggle
"to uplift and inform"?
Impressive, Kingston.
You are probably the only one
at "the times"
who not only knows what it says
on our masthead,
but actually quotes it.
This paper's my life,
I thought you knew that.
Hey, hey, hey.
What's your hurry?
Why don't you pull up a step,
chat for a minute?
I can't. I've been called
to the principal's office.
What're you doing
out here anyway?
Smokin' a cigar.
A cigar?
It's virtual.
I would if I could.
Pt 848, middleborough.
We've got you at 20 Miles
straight in.
Descend to five thousand.
We seem to be getting fumes
in the cockpit;
could be an electrical fire.
848, you're cleared to land
on runway two-one right.
Winds are variable,
three knots.
Altimeter two-niner-niner one.
Got your message.
Good. Sit down.
Sounded kind of urgent.
Well, results are in
from the last readers' survey
and the corporate
bean counters
have made some
Such as?
Such as dumping
your column.
They can't do that.
Please, of course they can.
Look at these numbers.
Out of our four regular
your column ranks
the lowest.
How many emails
do you get a week?
When Emma Duncan
wrote the column
she got a thousand.
In the ten months
since she died
and you took over
"the heart healer",
your readership
has steadily declined.
My column is filled
with good,
practical information.
Which is fine
for the style section.
During your time there,
your writing was excellent.
But when you asked
for your own column
and this became available,
I told you
you'd have to do more,
you'd have to give it
your all.
I am!
You're not!
You're not giving it
that part of you it needs
to attract a following.
"The heart healer"
has no heart.
You're not touching
your readers.
Pt 848, middleborough,
we have you at
six Miles on final.
Do you have
visual contact?
Maintain stable flight level-
pt 848, say again.
Everybody in life jackets now!
- We've got fire on-board.
- I repeat...
Emergency equipment is deployed
and standing by.
We have you at four Miles.
Maintain descent.
Pan transit 848,
Pt 848, middleborough,
Pt 848, middleborough,
Christmas is in three weeks.
If you can't hook your readers
during the holidays
you never will.
Excuse me, Nora.
A pan transit jet
just crashed off the coast.
Oh my God.
Improve these numbers
by Christmas...
Or you're out.
Pan transit flight 848,
flying towards jfk,
experienced a catastrophic
electrical failure
and crashed into the ocean,
just off middleborough,
north Carolina...
You okay?
A pan transit spokesman
reported one hundred and-
the airline just released
the passenger list;
I knew a couple of people
on that flight.
Oh God, king,
I'm sorry.
Tom Harold and his wife.
He was the pitching coach
at state
when I played for him
about a hundred years ago.
And I thought I was having
a bad day.
You want to grab a coffee,
have that chat now?
Chat, yes.
He was the best damn coach
and teacher I ever had.
And here you go.
thank you.
Cool wife, too.
She insisted
that he take her
to no less than
two Broadway shows
every year.
That's probably why
they were in New York.
I guess you never know.
I wonder...
If they did know.
Your friends,
the other people on the plane -
I wonder if they knew
they were gonna die?
jeez, macgruder,
morbid much?
I'm sorry.
I just can't stop
thinking about it.
You know?
I mean, was it sudden?
Did they all die instantly?
Or did they have
some time...
To say goodbye,
to say "I love you",
hold each other
and know it was the last time?
Sounds like a "heart healer"
column to me.
You know something,
we work on the same floor
for four years,
we finally go out
and have a real conversation
and you make fun of me.
Who's making fun?
I'm just saying
there's likely to be
some serious mail
coming your way.
I hope not.
Ugh! I couldn't handle
that responsibility.
Which is why I probably
should never have asked
for this column
in the first place.
Does this have anything
to do with...
You having had
a bad day?
Nora is giving me
until Christmas
to improve my readership
that's harsh.
Nothing like a plane crash
to lend a little perspective
to your problems.
Now, there's little or no hope
of finding any alive
of the 137 passengers
on-board the flight
which originated in New York.
Officials say
it could take up to weeks,
perhaps a month,
before any final list
or picture emerges
of what exactly happened
in the final moments
of flight 848.
Lord of the universe,
lord of the sea and sky,
send us your guidance and grace
in this moment of great loss.
Comfort our families
and friends
and strengthen our faith
in spite of our fears.
Comfort and support one another
with the assurance
that our loved ones
are, indeed, in peace with you
now that they know all of the
great secrets of the universe.
Amen. Amen.
Get the ocean
in the background.
Keep me in the shot as I walk
down the hill, all right?
'Kay, I'm gonna go talk
to these people,
to see who's a family member.
Excuse me, sir, I was wondering
if you could talk to me about,
about what you're feeling...
I know this is a very,
very tough time for you.
I would just like you to give
our viewers a sense
of what it must be like...
I'm sorry.
I don't want
to intrude on you-
excuse me.
Are you a friend
or a family member?
I'm a reporter.
I mean, I write a column
for the middleborough times-
yes, I'm sorry to interrupt.
Look, I can only imagine
how you must be feeling
right now
and I know the last thing
you need
is a reporter asking you
personal questions,
but I was wondering
if you could share...
Reverend, perhaps you'd care
to comment on...
How does he do it?
I mean,
how do these network guys
find the chutzpah to shove
a microphone in someone's face
and ask how it feels to...
Lose a child or a father?
How does a guy like
Truman Harris sleep at night?
Comfortably wrapped in the arms
of any woman he wants.
The dude is
a total awesome.
You're not helping.
Okay, let's review.
You've gotten letters
about the crash,
but you think it's too ghoulish
to interview the relatives.
So, why not write about how you,
the "heart healer",
feel about loss?
That doesn't work for me.
Why not?
It just doesn't.
Talk about your perfect
opportunity to write with emotion.
I said no!
I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to snap at you.
You know what?
I think I'll work on this
at my place.
Maybe a single serving
can inspire a little passion.
I can't talk.
I gotta find a bridge
to jump off.
So the column's going
well then?
I am totally screwed.
I'm a dry well.
I have no idea what to do.
Just do your job, Peyton,
which means just like me
and every other columnist,
you may have to pry open
some doors
you'd rather leave closed.
Is that how you earned
the prize?
I earned my pulitzer
the old fashioned way.
Hard work.
Dumb luck. 848. The f.A.A. Announced
early this morning
that the cause of the accident
is most likely due
to an electrical fire
on-board the aircraft.
The pilot apparently
reported trouble
minutes before
the fateful crash
that brought the airplane down.
Speculation has it
that the pilot intentionally
diverted the plane
away from populated areas,
a strong indication
that he knew-
so they did know.
They did have time.
Come here...
Look at you.
What would I have said
if I only had time
for one last thought?
Peyton macgruder?
I'm sorry, ma'am,
we have some bad news.
I'm afraid your husband's
been in an accident.
yes, in middleborough
for Kingston danville.
It's Peyton macgruder.
I'm... did I wake you?
I'm sorry.
look, I have something
I have to talk to you about.
Why don't you come over
in the morning,
I'll cook you breakfast.
Nice job on
the Christmas decorations.
What Christmas
My point exactly.
Well, who's gonna
appreciate it?
My cat?
Wow, macgruder,
this is how you do
over easy?
I'd hate to see
well done.
Kills the carbon taste.
Well, you are a regular
domestic diva,
aren't you?
Sorry, I'm a little bit
out of practice,
but, hey,
the price is right.
And the waitress
is cute.
So what do you think?
There was a huge explosion
and a fire.
Could a plastic baggie
and a piece of paper
survive all of that?
I don't know.
I'm asking you.
I suppose anything
is possible.
This piece of life vest
washed up right next to it.
So if I can get
the f.A.A. To confirm
that this came
from flight 848,
I think it is reasonable
to assume that this did too.
Well, they've been
finding stuff
all up and down the shore
Yeah, I mean,
it's reasonable.
so what do I do?
What do you want
to do?
Read it.
What's this stuff
inside the baggie?
Cookie crumbs.
It's addressed to "t".
Who's "t"?
I don't know,
but I want to find out.
I want to find out
who wrote it
and give it to the person
that it was meant for.
And write about it
in your column.
You know, I could probably
get this thing fingerprinted
or go online or...
But no column.
I want to solve the mystery
of this note myself
and bring my readers
along for the ride,
and hopefully fix my problems
with Nora.
So what do you think?
I think you may have
struck gold here.
Except one thing.
Do you really think
that a guy
sitting on an airliner,
hurtling helplessly
towards earth,
is gonna have the composure
to write a note?
I've thought about that.
The pilot notified
ground control
that there was a problem
in the cockpit,
a full three minutes
before the explosion.
Three minutes, king.
Yeah. Okay.
Okay, so in those
three minutes
people knew they were
in trouble.
I mean,
they must have known
or at least had the fear
that they could die.
What would you do?
Well, eat the cookies
for sure,
but write a note?
I don't know.
It's signed "dad".
If you had a kid,
wouldn't you want him
or her to know
what was on your mind
in those last terrible minutes?
I do have a kid.
You do?
He's a boy, 19.
He's away at college.
So, you actually found a woman
who could put up with you, huh?
not quite.
She dumped me
for a state farm agent
six years ago.
I'm sorry.
I didn't mean
to poke fun.
It's okay.
I'm way past it now.
Unfortunately, David,
my... my son,
he pretty much only heard
her side of the story,
so he blames me
for the divorce.
He thinks it
was my fault.
Was it?
I don't know, maybe.
being on the road
as much as I was.
Anyway, he is pissed at me.
Basically, we have zero
In your last couple of minutes
on this planet...?
I guess writing him a note
might've crossed my mind.
Hey, how about another cup
of this less
than desirable coffee
and then I will get
outta your hair.
You have a column
to write.
Dear readers,
i found myself inexplicably
drawn to the shore today,
to a place where,
a few days before,
I'd seen several family members
gathered to mourn the loss
of loved ones on flight 848.
While there,
i chanced upon a treasure.
It was not one of jewels
or gold,
but a simple handwritten note.
Its words speak of a love
as wide as the sea
in which it was discovered.
This treasure rose up
amid the debris of flight 848
and was signed only "dad".
If the message was written
in the final few moments
of that flight,
then it is
the last communication
from that doomed plane
to those of us still living.
Because fate entrusted me
with this note,
i feel that I should do
everything in my power
to unite that father
on flight 848
with his child.
I have to do all I can
to deliver the last message
to a grieving soul.
Is this for real?
It's for real.
Here you go.
A note just falls
from the airplane
and contains a message
for somebody?
That's right.
Well, what'd it say?
I can't tell you that.
What? Why?
I'm saving it
until I find the person
it was meant for.
How are you gonna
find 'em?
I'm not gonna find them,
we're gonna find them,
A lot of email today.
I'm not surprised;
It's a phenomenal story.
A man writes a note,
minutes before his death,
and prays it'll find
its way home?
That's way cool.
Yeah, way cool -
if we can track down
the owner.
Grab a chair,
let's get to work.
By the way,
this is top secret,
Eyes only, chief.
All right, now,
the note was addressed
to someone
whose initial is "t".
Okay, what else?
That's it.
There is no "else".
That's it?
So we've just got
to find out who "t" is?
"T" is the son or daughter
of a man on that flight.
We're gonna have
to go through
all of the obituaries,
out of town newspapers -
all of them -
find the names
of the surviving children
and then narrow it down
to those whose names
begin with "t".
Peyton, I need to see you
Okay, I'll be right up.
Gotta go put out a fire.
I'm counting on you.
What's all this about a note?
What do you think
you're doing?
Exactly what you told me
to do.
I'm injecting more heart
into my column,
and I'm increasing
my readership.
There were more than
200 e-mails for me
in my box this morning.
Yeah, yeah.
They're still coming in too.
Well, what if it turns out
to be a hoax?
It won't.
The f.A.A. Just confirmed
that the piece
of inflatable life vest
that I found with the note
is definitely from flight 848.
So I'm as sure
as anyone can be.
It's the real deal.
And if you can't find
the person?
I'll cross that bridge
when I come to it.
Well, I'm not convinced...
What is it?
All right, put him on.
Mr. pargrave,
how are you?
I just read Peyton macgruder's
this business about a note
that fell out of the plane.
Yes, sir.
She's in my office right now.
We're just discussing that.
How certain is she
of her facts?
Well, she says
she is very certain.
All right, let's run with it.
This is good stuff.
It's pulling something inspiring
out of tragedy.
People love that.
Yes, I suppose they do.
All right, let's get her
an expense account,
let her travel if she has to,
within reason.
Let's see what she can make
out of this little mystery.
Fine, I'll do that.
You look like you just won
the lottery
but you lost
your ticket.
What's goin' on?
You first.
What're you really
doing out here?
I used to come down here
when I could smoke a stogie.
I discovered there
were no phones,
no interruptions...
Unless, of course,
there's a fire.
Or you find yourself in need
of a therapy session.
what's your problem?
It didn't really hit me
until I left Nora's office.
What hit you?
I'm gonna have
to interview people,
grieving people,
people who've just lost
a father on that flight.
Yeah. Sure, I mean...
Can't get around that.
But the thought of doing it
makes me...
Sick to my stomach.
Well, maybe it's hard for you
You once were
on the receiving end
of the same kind
of questions.
Wait a minute.
How did you know about
my husband's accident?
Well, I, I googled you.
When I saw you get off
the elevator.
This morning?
Four years ago;
Your first day on the job.
Have you been
crushin' on me?
Maybe. So what?
Oh God.
So, so I'm...
I'm flattered.
I am, really.
Well, that's,
that's nice,
but we have not solved
your problem yet, have we?
No, we haven't.
And under
the circumstances,
I mean us just having
been necking here
in the stairwell
and all...
Well, that's how I plan
to remember it in my memoirs.
Anyway, I...
I feel it's appropriate
for me
to offer up some advice
from my deep, deep well
of journalistic
I'm all ears.
You can either say to yourself,
"I'm intruding into the lives
of these poor grieving people."
You can say to yourself,
"I'm giving these
poor grieving people
the opportunity...
To talk to someone."
'Cause in the end,
what we all really need
is someone willing to listen.
Okay, we're finished
with the "k's"
and we're starting
with the "l's".
And I'm starting
to worry.
Well, at first, I was afraid
there'd be too many, you know,
like dozens and dozens,
but here it's the second day
and not a single one.
We haven't even gone through
half the list yet.
"T" is out there,
I know he is.
Caffeine confidence.
What is that, like your sixth
triple Grande espresso
since lunch?
but who's counting?
Besides you, I mean.
Oh my God.
I've got a live one.
Let me see! Let me see!
in morehead city...
Peyton macgruder's desk.
Sh-she is.
Hold on one second, please.
You are never gonna believe
who this is!
Peyton macgruder.
Ms. macgruder,
Truman Harris.
Yes, Mr. Harris,
what can I do for you?
Well, first,
you can call me tru.
All right, tru.
What's up?
- I like your note story.
- It's a great premise.
How would you like
to take it national?
What do you mean national?
I'm leaving in a few hours
for New York
to do my show,
but maybe we can meet
before I go?
I could bring a crew,
get you talking about
the note on tape,
cut the footage into a tease.
We could air it
on tonight's show
if we work fast.
I don't know, Truman.
I don't think
I'd be interested.
Well, think of the exposure.
With TV coverage, you can find
your missing person in no time.
But I plan to do the story
as a continuing feature
for my readers.
Television isn't what
I had in mind.
I guess I'll just have to put on
my thinking cap
and come up with a way
to persuade you.
I wouldn't waste my time.
That's something I never do.
That was Truman Harris!
I know.
So spill.
What did he want?
A story,
our story.
And you said no?!
Yeah, I said no.
Come on, let's get back
to our guy in morehead city.
all right, Winston lavery,
survived by a daughter
and a son,
reverend Timothy - with a "t" -
lavery of St. Louis.
Are you crazy?
You said no to Truman Harris,
the hottest thing on TV?!
Before you completely
melt down,
will you please get me
a plane ticket to St. Louis.
There's a man there
to whom I hope to deliver
a very special Christmas gift.
Ho, ho, ho!
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas,
Dear readers:
I'll have no way of knowing
for whom the note was written
until I've talked
to each prospect.
I'm waiting for
the right person to identify
the shadows of concern
in this note
and recognize them
as a familiar love.
What would you say
to a loved one
if you only had a few seconds
to impart a last message?
What language does love speak?
That's what I'm hoping to find
on this leg of my journey.
Peyton macgruder's desk.
It's Truman Harris calling.
Is Peyton available?
Mr. Harris.
I- no, I'm sorry she's not.
that's too bad.
Who's this?
Me? I'm Mandi hillridge.
Hey, Mandi.
Are you a reporter too?
No, just an intern.
No, no such thing
as just an intern.
I bet you Peyton would
have a rough time
writing that column
without you.
listen, Mandi,
has Peyton left for St. Louis?
yes, Mr. Harris, she just...
Hey, hey, call me tru, huh?
She just called, tru.
Her appointment was postponed
until tomorrow.
Well, that's great.
It means I have time
to meet her.
We're collaborating
on this note story.
I don't know if you know that?
No, but that's wonderful.
I told her that she should.
You two will make
a terrific team.
You know what?
I think so too.
Listen, I'm sure she'll call,
but in case
we cross connections,
could you remind me
when and where
is that appointment again?
It's tomorrow at 11:00
at the holy fortress
baptist church.
Thank you, Mandi,
I look forward to meeting you.
Okay, bye.
- Here you go.
- Thanks.
Very pretty.
The Sunday-schoolers make 'em
out of recycled cans;
the congregation buys them
to raise money for the poor.
It never ceases to amaze me
how these people who have
so little themselves
give so freely
to those who have even less.
Ms. macgruder,
I assume?
Reverend lavery.
most folks just
call me brother Tim
or Tim, if you like.
Have a seat.
Thank you.
First, let me just say that
I'm very sorry for your loss.
Thank you.
My mom died when I was a kid
and my dad died about
three years ago,
so I know how hard
it can be.
I know where my pop is
and that makes me very happy.
Well, I don't know
what your...
Religious affiliation is,
or if you even have one,
but that's what
I believe
and it gives me
great comfort.
And that makes this visit
so much easier for me.
You told me on the phone
that you might have
something for me.
I subscribe to your paper
on the Internet
to read your column.
I assume that you
brought the...
The note that you found.
Yes, I have a photocopy
for you to look at.
Someone will be incredibly happy
to receive this.
It's not mine, Peyton.
I hope that doesn't
disappointed you,
but there's no way
my pop wrote this.
You're certain?
He would never address me
as "t".
I was always Timothy to him.
And he would never sign
anything as dad.
He was pop,
not just to me,
but to everyone he knew.
Well, would you mind
then if I asked
just a couple more questions
for my column?
Can you tell me
what your relationship
with your father
was like?
well, you have
to understand this.
My uh... my father
built this church.
He started out preaching
on street corners
and in alleys,
slowly gathering his flock,
some of whom still come here
every Sunday.
I grew up in this church.
I found my faith here.
I married my wife here.
I christened
my little girl here.
When he decided
to retire last year,
I took his place here.
That must have made him
very proud.
A few months ago,
the bishop offered me
a new posting:
Up town, big church,
big congregation,
big potential.
What did your father
think of that?
Well, that's why he came
out here.
He told me to go for it,
'cause that's what he thought
i wanted to hear.
But it wasn't.
If I take that job,
this'll be my last Christmas
in this church.
Didn't God once use a star
to help guide people
who were searching
for a new beginning?
Yes, he did.
Maybe what you told me about
these precious little stars
can help guide you.
I do love this scrappy
little congregation.
And this church is...
Ingrained in my soul.
I want to thank you,
For what?
For the visit
and the...
For this.
I don't understand.
I thought you said that-
no, he didn't write it,
but this note helped me
to think about
my last conversation
with pop
and about what I know
he felt in his heart,
regardless of what
he said;
about what's important;
and how I want to spend
the time
that I have been given
on this earth.
And for that...
I'm very grateful.
Here they come.
-Get in close!
Reverend lavery,
I'd like to ask you
about the note.
Was it written
by your father?
I didn't know anything
about this.
I'm sorry.
it's okay.
and who are you?
Truman Harris,
national television
My viewers are interested
in the note
purportedly written
by a passenger
on pt flight 848.
And I was wondering if you could
shed any light
on that subject?
I could, but I think I'm gonna
leave that to Ms. macgruder.
No comment.
Let's back up
for a wide shot.
Okay, pull back.
Get a whole shot of the church.
Your star.
keep it.
Is this more than
just a column for you?
I don't know
what you mean.
Well, maybe that note
was meant to be your star,
to guide you to whatever
it is you're looking for.
Well, folks, you heard the man.
I guess we're gonna have
to wait
for Peyton macgruder's
next column
to find out whether
the note was meant
for reverend Timothy lavery
or not.
Reporting from st. Louis,
I'm Truman Harris
with national television
All right, that's it.
Let's wrap it up and go home.
What are you doing?
Earning a living,
just like you.
And how did you know
to come here?
It's a confidential source.
I'm sorry.
This is my story.
It's a free country,
I can report on
anything I want
as long as it's accurate.
Well, without the note,
you've really got nothin'.
I've got you, Peyton,
and your heartwarming quest.
Now, the only thing
that would make that better
is if we work together.
Come on, come on.
We become a team
we can milk this
for a Christmas special.
Don't hold your breath.
I don't think
holding my breath
is gonna be necessary.
Nice greeting.
Turn on the TV.
You'll see.
I'm on my way with Chinese.
Truman Harris,
national television
My viewers are interested
in a note
purportedly written by
a passenger on pt flight 848.
Could you shed any light
on that subject?
I could, but I think I'd like
to leave that to Ms. macgruder.
No comment.
Despite reverend
Timothy lavery's
reluctance to answer
our question,
we have learned
from a reliable source
that Tim lavery is not the man
to whom the note was written.
We'll continue to follow
this unfolding story
on tomorrow's show.
Until then,
I'm Truman Harris,
and this is national television
You stole my story.
Grab some chopsticks,
why don't ya?
Lemon chicken'll help
dull the pain.
I don't want to dull the pain.
I want it to fester
so the next time I see Harris
I'll feel good about
running him over with my car.
How come I've never seen this
sensitive streak in you before?
Because nothing like this
has ever happened to me before.
Sit! Eat! Come on.
Before you completely snap
your wrapper.
So what exactly happened
in St. Louis?
Nothing that Harris
hasn't already reported.
What he reported was
lavery isn't your man.
I mean, that's a good thing,
isn't it?
I mean, 'cause if number
one's your guy
then your series is over.
Now you get to bring up
batter number two
and you keep
the inning alive.
Yeah, if I can stay ahead
of that rat Harris.
Na, you'll find a way.
Curtis pargrave...
Came down
to the newsroom today.
How come?
To say that your column
was hitting a nerve.
Pargrave said that?
We're selling out
every issue you're in.
The online subscriptions
are way up.
People all over
the country
are reading you
on the net.
Well, your enthusiasm
is underwhelming.
On the plane today,
it occurred to me...
You know,
there was some turbulence
and I thought what if...
What if this plane
were going down,
who would I write to?
Jeez, you are so macabre.
What I realized is
there isn't anyone.
There isn't.
There isn't a single soul
that I would have
to say goodbye to.
We could change that.
I'm worried about you.
Just be careful
you don't let your story
make you another victim
of this plane crash.
For the free
psych session?
For the kung pao.
Dear reader:
I have just returned from
a typical mid-American city,
its snow-covered halls
with Christmas cheer.
Its children sledding
or skating
or poking carrot noses
and coal eyes
into snowmen faces.
The journey took me
not to a house
but to a church,
to meet my first prospect
to receive the note I found -
a man of God,
as it turns out,
as was his father before him.
I showed the pastor
a copy of the note
and it took only a moment
for him to conclude,
as has been reported on TV,
that it had not been written
by his pop.
He had good reasons
and I am convinced
that the note
had not been intended for him.
Nonetheless, I believe the note
had a profound effect.
It offered the reverend
an unexpected opportunity,
a second chance if you will,
to reconsider a recent
and life-changing decision.
The note and the plane crash
served as a reminder to him
and to all of us,
that life is fragile
and we must live each day
as though it might be our last.
I am so sorry.
Mea culpa, mea culpa,
please forgive me.
You have apologized
25 times.
I've forgiven you
25 times.
And what is so important
in Nashville
that they need to keep me
on hold forever?
And besides,
the only true thing
about tru Harris
is that he is
a dishonest dirtbag
and you and I are gonna
steer clear of him, right?
Sorry to keep you on hold.
Ms. quist is not available.
Did you tell her
it was about her father?
I did.
And she's still
not available?
That's correct.
Would you like to leave
a number
where she can reach you?
I did that
three calls ago.
Look, just tell her
that I called again,
remind her that it's important
and ask her please
to call me back.
I'll be sure to do that.
Oh my God.
Have you seen
all these emails?
Nearly 2,000.
Do you see what time it is?
I was due upstairs
three minutes ago.
Okay, uh, when I'm done
up there,
I'm gonna go straight
to the airport.
Miss Taylor quist
is gonna see me,
like it or not.
Tell 'em I'm on my way!
Peyton macgruder's desk.
I'm glad you could make it,
Ms. macgruder.
I'm sorry.
I had some last minute
travel arrangements
to finish up.
I had a call this morning
from the C.E.O.
Of kelliston communications
in New York.
Of course, you know
they're our parent company.
They asked me to include
a friend of yours
in this meeting.
Hello, Peyton,
it's tru Harris.
Harris, what a surprise.
Let me get right to the point.
Our boss wants to make
your story bigger.
Kelliston communications
owns "the times".
They also own ntb,
which is Truman's network.
Corporate wants us
to join forces, Peyton.
His crew would follow you
on your search for the owner
of the note.
Once the rightful person
is found,
he or she would be revealed
on a one hour
Christmas program.
I told you I'd get you
a special,
didn't I, Peyton?
So, what do you think?
I think that corporate
should go to-
Look, this is a story
that either I can tell
or Truman can tell!
Wait a minute,
I forgot.
Truman can't tell it
because he doesn't
have the note.
And you don't have
three million people
reading your pissant column!
I have all the readers I need
and, to me,
they're the only ones who count.
And I owe it to them...
we owe it to them
to reveal the owner
of the note
in "the heart healer".
And after that, Harris,
you can report on
any damn thing you please.
Now, if you'll excuse me,
I have a plane to catch.
Can't hear you.
The button.
You gotta press
the button.
The button behind you.
Press the button.
I'm sorry to bother you.
My name is Peyton macgruder.
How'd you get in here?
There's nobody out front
and I just walked...
That's not entirely accurate.
The receptionist was there
and um...
I told her I was delivering
some contracts for you.
Are you like a stalker
or something?
God, no!
I called.
My names macgruder,
Peyton macgruder with
"the middleborough times".
Can I come in there?
Talking between the glass
makes me feel like one of us
is in prison.
Door's on the side.
But I'm warning you,
I don't give interviews.
I liked the song
you were playing, by the way.
Just noodlin' on a new tune.
You're the first
to hear it.
Well, you and marabelle.
My cat.
You're not allergic
are you?
Got one of my own.
Tell me you're married.
I'm not.
Two soon-to-be
middle-aged women
living with their cats.
Gee, I hadn't really
thought of myself that way,
not until recently anyway.
Didn't mean to offend.
So, you're here all the way
from north Carolina?
Well, then it must be important.
A few days after
the plane crash,
I found a note
in a plastic bag.
It had washed ashore
with some other debris
from the plane
and it appears that
the note was written
by someone on flight 848.
I have a copy for you
to look at.
Can I get you some coffee?
No, thanks.
My father didn't
write this note.
My father kicked me
out of the house
when I was 16-years-old.
He had years to get in touch
and he didn't.
Now why would he spend
the last few seconds
of this life
writing that note?
I don't know.
Of course you don't.
How could you?
How could you know
anything about it?
My father gave me
to my grandmother
when I was ten.
Why am I telling you this?
No, please.
Go on.
My mom died.
My dad was in his second year
of medical school
and I guess he figured
that he couldn't raise a kid
and finish his studies
at the same time, so...
But after that
I rarely saw my father,
except around christmastime.
My nickname for him actually
became "Mr. holiday".
"Mr. holiday."
I like that.
I could write
a song about it.
I mean...
It's not that my father
didn't love me.
I'm sure he did, but...
Where is he now?
Died a few years ago.
I spent most of my teens
strung out.
My folks finally had
all they could take
and kicked me out.
Tough love they called it.
It took me years
to get clean
and when I finally did
I realized that...
It was all my fault.
I thought about callin',
but I decided that I put 'em
through enough already.
But maybe I was wrong.
Maybe I should've called
a long time ago,
but now,
you know...
Might be time to write a note
of your own.
What do you mean?
Your mother wasn't on
that flight, was she?
No, she wasn't.
What're you doing here?
I figured you'd be too tired
to stop by the office,
so I brought you
the rest of the obituaries.
That a girl.
So, how was Nashville?
Meaning we have a winner?
No, Taylor quist is not
the person we're looking for,
but I think the note
had an effect on her anyway.
It seems to do that
to everybody.
It's certainly turned
my life upside down.
Which reminds me,
Nora called for you.
Am I fired?
She didn't say one way
or the other.
Good. So let's hold her off
until morning,
'cause I've got a column
to write
before this paper
goes to bed.
And I need a cup of tea.
You want one?
No, I'm okay.
This is a great place.
My husband and I bought it
right after we were married.
Look at the backyard!
It'd be perfect for kids.
Peyton macgruder?
I'm afraid your husband's
been in an accident.
Take it easy, man.
Can't you see
the woman's pregnant?
Hey, Peyton,
are you all right?
What have you got for me?
just one.
If it's not him,
we're out of luck.
Local guy.
His father was a big time
real estate developer.
He owned half the buildings
in downtown middleborough.
Nice work.
You're gonna make a hell
of a newspaperwoman one day.
Are you sure you don't
want a cup of tea?
I like your outfit.
Are you kidding me?
This is so not me!
Then why are you wearing it?
Blind date.
Don't want to scare
the guy off.
See ya.
Looks like it's you and me,
Middle-aged woman
and her cat.
Today, I met with
a well-known songwriter,
a woman who has everything -
celebrity, wealth, beauty,
talent and intellect.
Yet I had to wonder,
is she happy?
The life I observed today
would probably not satisfy
most of us average folks.
You see,
this woman and her family
had a falling out years ago
when she was a teenager.
As adolescents,
we are so self-centered,
so focused on our own desires
that we have trouble seeing
our parents as real people.
We see only their authority,
their rules,
and their expectations;
not their dreams,
not their strengths,
and not their human weaknesses.
This woman carries a burden
of alienation,
but it's by her own choosing
that she shoulders the load.
It has become a shadow
she's accustomed to seeing,
and I fear it will
walk with her
for the rest of her life.
I bear the burden
of my own shadows.
By showing her the note,
i had hoped to offer her
the courage
to step into the light,
and in doing so,
i have found myself
reflected in her.
as the journey continues,
i will also find the strength
to leave the shadows behind.
I say as the journey continues,
dear readers,
because the woman was certain
the note was not written
to her.
But having read the message,
my sincerest hope
is that it will still move her
to open doors
too long left closed.
I was just reading
your column.
I'm proud of you,
And not just because
your writing's great
or because you've brought up
the numbers,
but because you've made
the column your own.
So much so
that you were willing
to risk getting fired
to protect your
readers' interests.
Listen, I really hope
I didn't leave you
in a bad position
the other day
with Mr. pargrave.
Curtis pargrave's been
a print guy for 30 years.
He loved you standing up
to those new media types
in New York.
My knees were so wobbly
it was a wonder
I could stand up at all.
Keep doing
what you're doing.
We'll watch your back
as best we can,
but don't let
your guard down.
I don't think you've heard
the last of Mr. Harris.
Who's next on your list?
Tanner walton.
His father was
a local developer.
I did a piece
on him a while ago.
He was in business
with his son,
but I thought his name
was Peter.
Maybe a brother?
Anyway, the note was addressed
to "t",
so it's got to be Tanner.
And if it's not him?
Then my Christmas column's
gonna be one heck
of a disappointment.
Back to the point.
Takes the shot,
passes to the other point.
One timer, deflection in front,
off the post!
Now out of the zone
to centre ice.
You look busy.
Never too busy
for beer or broads.
And since I am neither...
Hey... sorry.
Too much time
in a locker room.
What can I do for you?
Take me for a drive?
This guy's the son
of a real estate tycoon?
tycoon's a bit
of an overstatement.
Either that
or he was cut out
of the will.
Did you want to go in
or what?
What planet were
you just on?
I'm sorry.
This note thing is just...
Bringing up
a lot of stuff for me.
Is that why you
brought me along?
I don't know.
I guess so.
What kind of stuff?
What kind of stuff
is it bringing up?
I guess I was just...
I feel like I was given
the note for a reason.
I feel like it gives
everyone it touches
a second chance.
To do what?
She's still alive.
A second chance
to do what?
To fix their broken lives.
And what about you?
This note has obviously
touched you.
It's kind of complicated
for me.
I don't feel like I deserve
a second chance.
Everyone deserves
a second chance.
I should go in.
I couldn't agree with you more,
Mr. Harris.
It could turn out to be
a bit of good luck
for both of us.
I think that's her now,
so I'll see you soon.
Mr. walton,
I'm Peyton macgruder.
Come on in.
This was written
by my father.
You're sure?
It's his handwriting.
And the message...
My father and I did not get
along for many years.
My father was a wealthy man.
Real estate, right?
And he wanted me and my brother,
to follow him into
the business, but...
I tried, but it-
you know, it wasn't my thing.
To be honest,
Ms. macgruder,
it bored the hell out of me
so I quit,
and my father never got over
the disappointment.
He took it as
a personal affront.
We couldn't speak
without arguing
until it eventually got
to the point
where we didn't speak at all.
Well, I guess in the end
he changed his mind.
I guess...
I guess he did.
That's why this note
is so precious to me.
I would never have known
how he really felt
if you hadn't found that.
So, thank you.
You have no idea
what you've done for me.
So, I guess you're gonna
write all about this
in your column.
Yes, I will.
If that's all right
with you.
Sure. You can use my name
if you like.
Mr. walton,
one more question.
Did your father always
call you "t"?
No, he...
No, he probably...
Didn't have a lot of time
to write the note,
I mean,
but he knew I'd understand
that it was for me.
Make sure get the...
Go on in, get set up, boys.
I don't suppose
I could get a promise
of confidentiality?
How'd you do it?
Well, let's see.
Your column yesterday
said you'd gone to meet
with a songwriter.
It was easy to discover
that Taylor quist
had lost her father
in the plane crash.
Now the only obvious
similarity between Taylor
and reverand Timothy lavery -
both their names
begin with "t".
And Tanner is
the last "t" on the list.
It's cake.
What makes you so sure
that he's the right guy?
He said he was,
didn't he?
And now what?
Well, publicity is already
working on a promo
for a one hour,
live, tomorrow night.
Getting scooped is a pain,
isn't it?
I've got a baseball bat
back in my office.
I could turn his "stand-ups"
into a "sit down"
with one
well-placed swing.
They'd just tape it
and turn it into
another one hour special.
Tanner walton is definitely
the right guy?
He says he is.
But you're not convinced?
Let me dig around
a little,
see what I can
come up with.
She's still alive.
What about the baby?
Will they be able
to save the baby?
"Deck the halls
with boughs of holly"
"this the season to be jolly"
"don we now our gay apparel"
And there it goes,
my last column on the note.
Too bad nobody's
gonna read it.
Maybe this'll cheer you up.
I'm sorry
how it all turned out.
Yeah, me too.
You know,
it's not just getting scooped.
I don't know.
I guess I had hoped
that the note
would lead
to something more...
For my readers
and for me.
Ms. macgruder?
Can I talk to you,
about the note?
What about it?
I think that maybe
my father wrote it.
someone has already claimed
that the note
was written to them.
I'm really sorry.
Was the note addressed
to "t"?
What did you say?
I said was the note
addressed to "t"?
Let's talk inside.
Tell me...
Why do you think that
your father wrote this note?
He went on
a business trip
and before he left,
we got into a huge argument.
I felt just terrible
about it
and I know that
he would too.
What's your name?
I'm Christine,
Christine everby.
If your name is Christine,
why would he address
the note to "t"?
That was a nickname.
All my life, I used to tag
along after my dad,
so he started calling me...
Tag-along or tag.
Sometimes just "t".
I know that sounds
so silly.
Can you tell me
why you argued?
Yeah, it had to do
with my adoption.
After my mom died,
I just started thinking
about my birth mother and...
Before he left
for the airport,
I asked him
if he would help me
find my real parents.
He said that he and my mom
were my real parents
in every way that mattered
I knew that that was true.
I didn't mean to hurt him.
I was just...
Yeah, curious.
I just wanted...
I just wanted to meet
my biological mother,
you know, just once.
Seems perfectly
natural to me.
My dad didn't really
see it that way.
Then I guess I got
a little mad
and I guess I said
some things,
you know,
mean things.
But you know what?
In the end,
he gave in to me.
He always did.
He hated to see me
He said that when he got back
from his trip,
he'd help me look
for my real parents.
And he left.
And I never got to say
that I was sorry
for all the awful things
that I said.
You know what
kills me?
That look on his face.
I hate it
that our life together
ended that way.
This is the Bible
that he gave me on my birthday.
He wrote inside it.
Is it the same printing
as was on the note?
It's the same.
It is?
He gave you this
on your sixteenth birthday?
So you were born
September 2nd, 1989?
Ms. macgruder,
are you all right?
Yes, I...
Ms. macgruder,
you're trembling.
Can I,
can I help you?
No, no.
It's just that...
Ms. macgruder?
It was in a baggie
with cookie crumbs.
Christmas cookies.
I baked 'em myself.
Thank you.
Imagine what that note
came through to get to you
just so that you could know...
How much your father loved you.
That's true, isn't it?
There's going to be a man
on television tonight
who will claim
that this note's his.
He's wrong.
We both know that this
was meant for you.
Thank you.
If I...
Call you just to...
To see how you're doing,
you know, check on you,
would that be okay?
Yeah, that would be fine.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
You look awful.
What's happened?
I'll tell you later.
Scrub the column
that I filed.
I'm writing a new one.
Hey, Peyton,
I thought you left?
I'm back.
Oh good.
That'll save me
from leaving you this.
The most amazing thing
just happened to me.
I've got to rewrite
my column.
How come?
I just met the real owner
of the note,
a young girl.
So it's not our boy
No, he lied to me.
I don't know why.
I'll give you 20 million
reasons why.
What do you mean?
I talked to
our business editor.
The inside story is
Tanner's old man...
Left everything
to his brother, Peter.
So he was cut out
of the will.
Both boys went to work
for the company
right out of college.
Tanner wasn't pulling
his weight
so his brother bought him out.
And apparently
Tanner has squandered
all the dough
that he was paid
for his share,
and Peter worked his tail off
to build the company
into what it is today,
Okay, but I still
don't understand
what Tanner had to gain
by lying to me.
"All is forgiven, dad."
It's exactly what he needed.
Tanner's already hired
an attorney
to contest his father's will.
And Truman Harris
was probably more than happy
to help him out.
What are you gonna do
about it?
Well, I'm gonna call Tanner
before it's too late.
I'll tell him about
the girl I met
and the proof that
she showed me
that confirms the note
was meant for her.
And then I'm gonna offer him
a second chance...
To do the right thing.
Good. Sounds good.
Where is it?
Playing deep right field,
wearing his blue uniform,
looked every bit like
a great heron
as the tie-breaking run
rocketed from home plate
toward the high fence
behind him,
it's trajectory clear.
A guaranteed season-shattering
grand slam
until the gangly lapinsky,
all arms and legs, rose,
as if carried on the crest
of a tidal surge,
higher and higher
in the humid July air,
floating beyond
human capacity,
until, with sublime grace,
he snagged the ball
and saved the day.
I do not believe
in divine intervention
or gods who toy
with the lives of men,
but that day I did believe.
That day I witnessed
a miracle."
My pulitzer piece.
Where'd you find it?
I googled you.
Four years ago,
my first day on the job.
Have you been crushin'
on me?
Is it true what you wrote?
Do you believe in miracles?
I was pregnant
when gil died.
I fell into
a deep depression -
total despair -
and I tried to end
my own life...
And I nearly lost the baby.
After she was born,
I couldn't care for her
and I couldn't care for myself,
so children's services
took her.
And then several months later,
my father convinced me
to let them put her up
for adoption.
But if I had been normal
I never would have
given up baby.
But you weren't,
were you...
No, not for a long time.
You ever try to find her,
your daughter?
No, I never looked for her.
I didn't have the right.
I tried to take her life
when I attempted to take my own.
But now,
because of this note,
I believe that
she's found me.
You mean the girl who...?
Come on.
I know it sounds crazy,
but there's evidence
and... in my heart I know.
I know that's my daughter.
Did you tell her
that you think
you might be her mother?
I was afraid that the truth
about why I gave her up
would be more painful
for her
than just not knowing.
I set out to offer
somebody else
a Christmas miracle,
but I ended up with my own.
Listen to me...
You have kept
the most private,
intimate details
of your life
all to yourself,
for so many years.
That's gonna change now.
You're not alone, Peyton,
not anymore.
Not anymore.
Tell us if you would,
Mr. walton, about your feelings
when you first saw that note.
Well, I thought how great
it would be
if it turned out to be written
by my father.
And then when you actually
opened it
and you saw that message inside,
I know this is difficult
for you, so...
I wish I'd given my father
a reason to forgive me,
but I hadn't.
The note...
Was not meant for me.
wait a minute,
did I, uh, hear you right?
Did you just say that the note
was not meant for you?
The um...
It turns out that the...
The note was not meant
for Tanner walton and so...
Dear readers:
I visited and spoke with
my third and final prospect.
He claimed the note.
At the time,
I had no reason to doubt him.
Since then,
I've met a young woman
who persuaded me that the note
had been written for her.
She had convincing proof,
but I didn't need her evidence
to realize the note had at last
come full circle.
Through this journey,
my friends,
I've learned something else:
The note itself is not
the most important thing,
the message is,
for it contains the power
of life and love.
Do you have any idea
how stupid you made me look?
Who's the girl?
I promised her anonymity.
What the hell am I suppose
to tell my audience?
Tell them what I said
in my column.
The note or who wrote it
isn't really that important.
It's the message that matters.
That's absurd.
i understand why the note
was given to me,
not because of what I could do
for it,
but because of what it could do
for me.
Great story!
How the heck do you reply
to a text message?
It's from your son.
That's great.
What do you want me to say?
How soon...
Can you get here?
That's great.
How about joining us?
I will do the cooking.
Now there's a tough offer
to turn down,
but I'm afraid
I'm gonna have to...
This time.
I am, however, available
on new year's Eve.
This search has done something
to my heart,
tearing down old walls.
Through the painful process,
i learned something:
That the heart most in need
of healing was my own.
Throughout my search
I've shared the anguish
of despairing people
and I've finally learned
to share my own pain.
Come on in.
it's so beautiful.
Gosh, I'm sorry.
I should've brought you
a gift.
You being here is
the best Christmas gift
I've ever had.
And if you don't mind,
I'd like to tell you why.
The note, after all,
was a message of forgiveness,
and to this broken heart
it has not lost
its power to restore.