“Henry, I saw you on TV. Nice job!” the man said.
Henry Stephens, 8, flashed the man a wide smile, waved and called back, “Thank you!”
It happens all the time, said Henry’s mother, Angalita Stephens.
Henry is the host of a segment on WRDW Channel 12 twice a month called Henry’s Corner.
Last week and again last Wednesday, the young man appeared on the Steve Harvey Show.
During his first appearance, he “taught” the comedian and variety show host how to be a weatherman in front of a green screen.
“You point, and say what it is,” Henry instructed.
“In Chicago, it’s 52 degrees,” Harvey said.
“Perfect!” Henry declared. “See? I told you it gets tricky.”
As Harvey awkwardly maneuvered to point out the weather in another city, Henry said knowingly, “Yeah, I had that problem, too,” sending the audience into a burst of laughter and applause.
Harvey invited Henry back to co-host Wednesday’s Halloween show.
Henry said he enjoyed the experience, but that he rarely got to watch the show because it airs while he’s in school.
“They put makeup on me, which News 12 doesn’t do,” he said.
Henry got his start by being one of Channel 12’s First Time Forecasters, which is open to children in third through eighth grades. His larger-than-life personality appealed to the audience, and producers offered Henry his own segment, he said.
His usual spots air twice a month, on Friday mornings during the 6 a.m. broadcast.
Henry reports real stories, typically of interest to children. He said some of his favorite stories have been interviewing an 8-year old whose mother had breast cancer last year, covering Disney on Ice, and reporting the pre-show for Barnum and Bailey Circus.
“It’s so much I can’t even remember,” he said.
Even though he’s very comfortable in front of the camera, he has plans to study either pharmaceutical or entertainment law at Harvard University when he gets to college.
He’s already planning to graduate near the top of his class.
His mother said she appreciates every moment with her son, because she almost lost him.
When Henry was 8 months old, doctors told Angelita that Henry’s brain was growing out of his forehead. He had surgery to shift his brain back into its correct position.
“The neurologist and the plastic surgeon said we’re going to have to do surgery for the brain, and it was guaranteed he wouldn’t be normal because you just can’t … the bones had closed up in his head, so the brain didn’t have any room to grow,” she said.
At one point, doctors weren’t sure he would even survive.
But he did, and he was potty trained at 18 months, reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the family’s church – Christian City of Praise in Augusta – at 2, and reading and writing at 4.
“He’s always just been something different,” she said. “I always say he’s had a huge personality from the time I can remember. He’s always been full of life.”