Kidd Kraddick is sitting in an Oak Lawn diner, having breakfast after a busy early October morning that was driven by the most important Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show event of the year: Kidd's Kids Day.
This is the day when KKITM asks listeners to pledge money to the charity that provides chronically and terminally ill children with a November trip to Disney World.
"This is the one day I get to put on my big-boy pants and not be a fool," Kraddick says. "Not to just get in there and try to make 'em laugh at all costs."
Kraddick founded the charity in 1991, inspired by a news story about a woman whose car had been stolen but who was far more concerned about her 7-year-old daughter's wheelchair, which was in the car. The girl had cerebral palsy and the chair was her only way of being mobile. He told the story to listeners, who by the end of the show donated enough money to buy the girl a new wheelchair.
But there was a personal side for Kraddick, as well. Before his daughter, Caroline, was born in 1990, doctors told Kraddick and his then-wife, Carol, that their baby could be born with a twisted femur, leaving her unable to walk. Kraddick prayed that she would be born healthy, striking a deal with God that if she was, he would use his radio show to help other kids. Caroline, who was born healthy, is in college studying musical theater.
The charity has grown from a bus ride that took five kids to Sea World in San Antonio to one that flies as many as 60 children and their families on a five-day trip highlighted by the Disney World visit.
As part of Kidd's Kids Day this year, Kraddick and other show members appeared on WFAA/Channel 8's Good Morning Texas along with many Kidd's Kids and family members. After the segment was over, Kraddick spent time visiting with several of the children. One is a young man named Marcos, who has cystic fibrosis. Kraddick hadn't seen him three years.
"Seeing how his disease has progressed kind of rocked my world a little bit," Kraddick says. "It made me feel bad that I haven't spent more time with him. He lives in Cedar Hill. It's just unforgivable that I haven't reached out to him."
But there's also a 25-year-old woman named Megan, a former Kidd's Kidd who arrives at the show to tell Kraddick and Kellie Rasberry that she's getting married.
"You know, when you take in 50 a year, sometimes 60, you're not going to make a connection with all of them, but I really did with her," Kraddick says. "I'm not sure that she would qualify for the trip if it were today, and she were in the same condition she was in back then. She had mild cerebral palsy. But she's such a communicator that she did more to bridge this thing for the listener than I did."
This year's Kidd's Kids trip will be Nov. 17-21. For information on how to nominate someone for next year's trip, visit www.kiddskids.com.