CLEARWATER — Criss Angel is the ultimate magic man to Heather Adams and her brother, Bobby. They never miss Angel's TV show Mindfreak.
But it took a different kind of magic for Heather and Bobby to get to Clearwater Beach today to see Angel attempt his escape from the Spyglass Resort in person.
Both Heather, 32, and Bobby, 25, have spina bifida. They live with their mother, Diana Adams, in the Weeki Wachee area of Hernando County. Money has been tight for the family since Mrs. Adams' husband died five years ago, she said.
Traveling to Clearwater Beach and staying in a hotel for tonight's performance was out of the question.
"Everything is really, really difficult and I can't afford that," she said.
She suggested her children call a few hotels to see whether any would consider helping a pair of handicapped, but ardent fans.
So Bobby started dialing. He called at least 10 hotels before getting Kathy Mittler, manager of the Clearwater Beach Travelodge.
"You know what?" she told him. "This is going to be the hotel to do it for you."
Bobby was shocked. His sister almost cried.
"Wow," she remembers thinking. "Someone actually cares."
The Adams family will check in to a room that usually costs $125 per night. Heather and Bobby will bring their wheelchairs. They never have been able to walk. The Travelodge is just four buildings away from the Spyglass.
Though paralyzed from the waist down, Bobby Adams said he's just like other Mindfreak fans.
"We do the exact same things as everyone else," he said, such as attending college. He and his sister have college degrees, he said. "We just can't get up and walk."
Heather remembers being terrified while watching a previous Mindfreak episode when the escape artist was tied up by TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, then shackled to a chair and thrown into a pool.
"I'm hoping and praying he makes it out of this," she said.
Bobby Adams said he called A&E, asking to meet Angel. He'll keep trying.
"I'm hoping he does a trick in front of us," he said. "That would be a mindfreak."
Mittler said she is happy to donate the room, even though a number of beach hotels report high occupancies for Angel's stunt. The Hilton resort and Shephard's Beach Resort are booked solid, managers there say.
Jackie Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4167.