Vikings running back Toby Gerhart made a 12-year-old boy’s Valentine’s Day.

Back in the metro getting treatment for an injured knee, Gerhart dropped by Hennepin County Medical Center to visit Grant (last name withheld at request of family), who reportedly suffered a brain injury, fractured bones around his right eye and the loss of vision in that eye.

“Basically, I got a phone call telling me about Grant and that he had an accident at school and that he lost his right eye. He’s a big Vikings fan and played football and baseball,” Gerhart told me Monday. “I decided to head on down there and pay him a visit.

“I [took] him a football, two little Vikings shirts, and then I started thinking about it: What would a kid stuck in a hospital want to try to brighten up his day? I always like candy. So I bought a couple of candy bars.”

My information is that there were THREE candy bars. Grant’s family and other adults on the scene were especially touched by the candy because, as they suspected, the Vikings don’t supply sweets for players to take to sick kids.

The family was also impressed by how long Gerhart’s visit lasted. “I went on down there and hung out with him for about an hour — talked with him,” Gerhart told me.

Anybody familiar with young boys knows there are easier tasks than getting a 12-year-old boy to talk to you. I’m told that Grant (maybe it was the medication, maybe he was star-struck) was a conversational challenge.

“Yeah, he was definitely quiet,” Gerhart said. “I had to keep pestering him with questions and finally got him to open up a little bit.”

According to my information, and based on my experience, Gerhart was quite a bit more chatty about an, ah, upcoming appointment with his girlfriend while talking to Grant than the running back was when talking to me. It’s one of those dates, I might add, that’s better received in the off-season by fans than during the season, unless you are having one terrific year.

“I try to keep my private life as private as possible,” Gerhart told me when I noted that this big date was not mentioned in the “personal” section of

Harvey on baby-slapping

A lot more security would be needed at that gate if another passenger dared slap one of Steve Harvey’s kids.

The comedian, author and host of a unique and surprisingly entertaining daytime talk show was a guest co-host Monday on NBC’s “Today Show.” In a segment during which viewers at the studio asked questions of Harvey, a regular feature on his talk show, he was questioned about what he’d do if another passenger slapped his kid.

Harvey said that he was aware of the Delta Air Lines’ incident that resulted in a man from Idaho facing federal assault charges for allegedly slapping Jessica Bennett’s 2-year-old toddler. Because of the change in cabin pressure, the little guy started crying as the Minneapolis flight made its descent into Atlanta. The Idaho man also allegedly told Bennett to “shut that [N-word] baby up.”

Said Harvey, “If you slap my child you’re completely out of line. I don’t slap my children, so you can’t come on a plane and slap my child. [If you slapped my child] I’m going to have to do some very un-daytime things to you. Leave it at that.”

It probably wouldn’t have done any good in this instance, because this unruly passenger seemed bent on hurling a slur, but when airline stewards make their pre-flight announcements, they should mention that babies CAN BE EXPECTED to cry as a result of the cabin pressure shifts. New little ears are more sensitive, and babies can’t tell you what hurts.

And it’s not just younger ears; when planes are in a holding pattern that has them sauntering to a landing, the pain brings me to tears.


C.J. is at 612-332-TIPS or E-mailers please state a subject — “Hello” doesn’t count. Attachments are not opened, so don’t even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.