Nearly 25 years ago, Oprah reportedly tried to adopt a young man named Calvin Mitchell that she met on set of her TV film, There Are No Children Here. According to People, the talk show host was, “taken by the boy and wanting to help when she found out he and his family were stuck in the projects.”
A proponent of education, she enrolled the then 11-year-old in a local private school and relocated the family to a better neighborhood. Eventually she learned Calvin wasn’t going to class. Supposedly, it was because there were no clocks in the house and the family wasn’t aware of how late he was arriving to school.
“We went out, Stedman and I, went to K-Mart that moment, got a bag full of clocks, came back to the house, taught them how to set the alarm and all that” Oprah recalled to Entertainment Tonight.
However, her new protege was still expelled for truancy and low performance. “I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance,” Winfrey explained to Nancy O’Dell.
“I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he’d been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him.”
Unfortunately, Calvin didn’t do any better at the new school and she cut ties with the family in the 90s.
The billionaire mogul has been making her rounds in the press to discuss her new multi-million dollar Weight Watchers deal. Outside of a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Calvin was waiting for Oprah and attempted to ambush her, yelling and appearing visibly shaken, he asked if they could talk.
“I said to somebody on my team, ‘Will somebody get Calvin’s number so I can contact him later…When I realized the whole thing was a setup, I was no longer interested in speaking to him.”
Before Calvin showed up at the taping, he had already sold his story of his experience growing up with Oprah to The National Enquirer.
Fortunately, the 61-year-old media mogul was able to take away an important lesson from the situation.
“If you really want to change somebody’s life, you gotta be able to spend enough time with them to change the way they think about what their life can be. It isn’t enough to give a person a new life or money or a new car, you have to teach them how to fish themselves.”