Wednesday’s Child: Where is Sampson, the pizza-loving child, now?


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Longtime WAVY-TV viewers who remember our “Wednesday’s Child” stories, listen up.

We’ve got an update for you from a little boy, in need of a mentor. We first featured “Sampson” back in 1982.

We met at a Mercury Boulevard pizza shop and Sampson Champion was excited! He got to make his own pizza along with several other children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Sampson was being raised by his single mom who hoped BBBS would match him with a positive male role model.

So, whatever happened to Sampson? Did he get a mentor? And, what’s he doing now?

“I’m in Miami, Florida,” he told me in a recent phone call. “I came down here March 19.”

Turns out, Sampson loves to travel. This Hampton resident says he takes a trip to a different city as sort of a birthday present to himself. But, why he’s there now is a very timely tale.

“As I got here, they had the COVID incident and they weren’t letting anybody travel.” Grounded. No flights out. So, he decided to stay with friends until the COVID cloud lifted. And when it didn’t, he started plying his trade as a barber.

Sampson says a lot has happened since we last met, including a family of his own. “Yes! I have two sons and I actually have two (children) that I adopted — a boy and a girl. And, they’re all grown.”

Yes, Sampson, the pizza loving, quick-to-smile, little boy was matched with an adult mentor named “Reggie.”

“We went to the Pilots’ (baseball) games a couple of times, he took me fishing — that’s why I love to go fishing.”

“He was a real good dude. He was real cool. We lost connection because I think he ended up moving to Maryland.”

Did he make a difference in Sampson’s life?

“Yes, he did!” Sampson recalls key lessons Reggie taught him, especially, keeping his word.

“He was a great person. He was always there for me. He always came to pick me up or stop by to see how I was doing.”

Pretty remarkable considering Reggie had major responsibilities. “He had his own family, his own to kids to handle. And for him to step outside and to come see what I’m doing was a big help.”

To find out more about mentoring programs here in Hampton Roads, call Big Brothers Big Sisters. Peninsula, 804-261-4940, or visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website.

In the Norfolk-Portsmouth area, contact TEAM UP mentoring at the UP Center at 757-397-2121, extension 337, or visit the Up Center’s website.

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