DOWNERS GROVE, Il. Since Friday afternoon Dottie Cavanaugh has been ”a total wreck” as her husband Herb puts it, unable to sleep while the couple awaited word about their 17-year-old son Kevin, who was held hostage by a gunman at a pizza parlor.
“If anything had happened to Kevin, I would have never ordered pizza from that place again,” Dottie says as she dabs at her nose with a tissue.
Kevin was freed when a SWAT team rushed the gunman last night, however, and he and two of his friends emerged to the glare of television lights and cameras recording their reunion with their families.
“How do you feel?” one reporter shouted as the three boys were covered in blankets by firemen to ward off the chilly March night.
“Okay,” Kevin replied.
“How did they treat you in there?” another inquired.
“Okay,” Kevin’s friend Evan Smertz answered.
“Will you be glad to see your family?” a third asked.
“I guess,” the third boy, Todd Domerski, conceded.
Whisked home in a police cruiser, Kevin was hugged by his mother and dad, who spoke to this reporter as their son disappeared into his bedroom.
“We’re just so thankful he’s safe,” Dotty said through tears.
“I’m sure he’s just happy to get back to his video games,” Herb added, shaking his head with a knowing smile.
“That was last year,” Dottie said. “Now he watches MTV all night. Or maybe Australian rules football.”
“I thought he got over that,” Herb responds, a puzzled look on his face. “Right after he stopped playing the guitar. Or was it the drums?”
The Cavanaughs ignorance of their son’s habits and interests was not dispelled as Kevin slept until noon, then appeared at the top of the stairs to ringing shouts of “Surprise!” as he is greeted by family and neighbors, eager to be reunited with him.
“Uh, hi,” Kevin says sheepishly, as he walks downstairs while texting a friend on his cell phone.
“Kevin, I made pancakes–your favorite,” his mom says, her voice choking with emotion.
“Yeah, uh, great,” Kevin says as he looks at his phone while his uncle Edward “Chic” Le Maistre slaps him on the back. “Say, uh, I’m gonna go meet Todd and Evan, okay?” he says to his mom. “You don’t care, do you?”
“Well, no, honey,” she replies, “if that’s really how you want to spend your first day of freedom. But there are all these people here to–to see you.”
“Oh, right,” he says, apparently embarrassed for the first time that he may have failed to demonstrate common courtesy to the assembled well-wishers. ”If they leave any gift cards or presents,” he tells his mother with a serious look on his face, “say thank you for me, okay?”