TODAY | November 15, 2013
>> it's the final day of our inspired by series. al, you are last but not least. you have a great inspiration.
>> you heard me all talk about my parents and they were my first inspiration but when i was asked i didn't think for more than a second because when it comes to my professional life and personal life there's one person i'm inspired by and that's mr. willard scott . from the moment i met him in 1976 he was then and always will be a mentor and more importantly like a second dad to me.
>> it's a tough job but somebody had to do it.
>> while standing in the rain .
>> when i would watch him, you'd see just how effortless he would do the weather . he was just being willard . and i remember thinking if i could get a quarter of that i could maybe do something. when the idea for this series came up who inspires you, there's only one willard . it was 1973 and i remember turning on the tomorrow show. i was still in college. there was willard scott with tom snyder and it was like a bolt, that's who i want to be. when i was in washington we did the 10:00 news so i could watch willard at 5:00 and 6:00 and we would go out to dinner and then i would do my show and i would watch him. it was a master class in watching how you should be on tv.
>> i'll be seeing you.
>> i think what makes him so inspiring is that he gives of himself. a lot of people in this business when there's a young person coming up, they see them as competition and willard 's not that way.
>> you know what today is --
>> what's today?
>> bring your daughter to work. and i brought my daughter.
>> he makes sure that somebody else gets a fair shake. for an impressionable 22-year-old to have the most famous weather guy in the country to take an interest in me and my career was mind boggling.
>> i want to show you --
>> when i first heard that al chose me as his inspiration, i thought he was nuts.
>> everybody loves my willie.
>> i really was very surprised, very honored, very flattered. i saw a lot of me in him and i knew that he had that kind of personality where he loved people. i just always believed in him and i knew that his day was coming when he would be a super star .
>> i didn't think i would ever be that but it was great to have that inspiration. to have that role model.
>> here he is, willard scott .
>> we had a relationship made in heaven, absolutely. from the first time we spoke or met.
>> best advice anybody has ever given me was the two things he told me. never give up your day job .
>> i said al, i don't care how many wonderful offers come your way, don't give up the weather . everybody love ace weather person because they like somebody to beat up on.
>> but more importantly always be yourself. because they can do whatever they want to you but they can't take that away from you.
>> time for the weather and time for willard scott .
>> his philosophy is just keep moving. it's been a good life. it's a great life. we get to do things and see places and meet people.
>> can you believe this?
>> that a lot of folks only dream of. i really did feel like we were kindred spirits . there was some connection there.
>> original weather stud.
>> i can honestly say i wouldn't be here doing the "today" show if it wasn't for willard .
>> all of this time, do you have any regrets willard ?
>> no, i really don't.
>> i had a wonderful run. i loved what i do. i never worried about the money. i was just happy with what i had always and it was such a wonderful, wonderful career.
>> he is a special man and, you know, he started the 100-year-old birthdays and when he started we had one or two and he has always believed in people and people that people don't give a thought to. he has always been like that.
>> it's amazing for someone you idolized, your role model to then look at you and say i see something in you too.
>> yeah and from the first day i met him, he brought that and you would watch him -- in washington d.c. there was the washington monument and willard .
>> and to me, he will also be america's favorite weather man.
>> he's still a legend and icon around here.
>> and al, there's some young meteorologist out there thinking that way about you right now. you continue to pay it forward.
>> let's go to tamron. we'll meet her inspiration in the next hour.
>> my inspiration taught me that blood does not make you family. that it's more than who you are actually related to. it can be a friend. in my case it was a stepdad that came into my life when i was just 7 years old and he was the best dad in the world. i got a chance to travel to texas with my mother. i dad served in the army for nearly 30 years and he was proof to me that love has nothing to do with a blood line . so we'll bring his story coming up and a lot of you sent your inspired by stories to us. absolutely amazing. rachel says i'm inspired by my daughter who teaches me about self-expression and she has got it going on. coming up in the next hour my inspired by. it's an honor to bring his story to all of you.