“Is anyone in here against drunk driving?!”

From my journal dated February 24, 2003:

I had a very unsettling thing happen today.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do to mark the first anniversary coming up on March 3rd. I wanted to to something meaningful to honor Jason. I decided to take the poem Jason had written, “The Return,” and print it on cards to send out to family and friends. I took the poem to the printer a couple of days ago, and they called today to ask me to come in and okay the proof before they actually print it.

I went to the print shop and was looking at the proof when someone came in the door behind me. I was just minding my own business, trying not to cry at the significance of what I was doing, and didn’t even look up to see who it was or notice why the young man was there. As he burst through the door, the young man enthusiastically yelled, “Is anyone in here against drunk driving??” A kid behind the counter (not the person helping me) piped up and yelled enthusiastically in return, “I’m all FOR drunk driving!!” and then they started laughing hilariously.

I couldn’t believe my ears! I turned and looked at the kid behind the counter square in the eyes and said, “That’s not even funny. A drunk driver killed my son.”

I know he is young. I know he was just being flip and trying to be funny, but it was not funny! Drunk driving is not funny – it kills people!!! I was shaking so much I could hardly sign my name to okay the proof. He waited until I was done, and then came over to apologize.

I realize he didn’t have any clue about Jason. What were the odds of me, the mother of a child killed by a drunk driver, being right there right then? But it really shook me. Such a casual and celebratory attitude toward drunk driving, something that has indelibly changed our lives forever!

Who knows? Maybe I planted a seed in his mind that will make him think twice before driving drunk or allowing his friends to get behind the wheel drunk. Maybe it was one of those “divine appointment” things that could make a difference in his life. I don’t know. I hope his mother never has to grieve the death of her son because of drunk driving. I wish no mother ever did.

© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney

13 thoughts on ““Is anyone in here against drunk driving?!”

  1. It’s quite possible that your presence there, at that moment, saved that young man’s life — and likely the lives of others. I wish you did not have to go through the things that you have gone through, either.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your son. Drunk driving should never be tolerated and those who commit crimes that harms another being should get the maximum consequence of their actions. A lot of people today drives dangerously without regard for those they may possibly hurt. I’ve seen people texting while driving on a freeway or turning to curve that pedestrians normally walk. I hope that one day, your pain as well as your family’s will drift away. I wish you and your family strength during this difficult times. God bless you…

  3. Sometimes we are filled with pain, and silent. Sometimes our pain forces us to speak. To help people realize the impact of thoughtless words, even if they intended no harm. Drunk driving is never a laughing matter. I’m sorry you had to have another painful moment related to Jason’s death. I’m glad you spoke up.

  4. Pingback: One Year | Grief: One Woman's Perspective

  5. This is one of the most powerful entries I’ve read yet.

    On so many levels it goes to show how ignorant and clueless the world can be.

    But most of all I hope at that moment your situation saved lives. YOU saved lives that day by telling your story. Jason saved lives.

    You’re an amazing Mom.

  6. I believe that was meant to happen in that young man’s life… so, he could open his eyes right that moment and see the mother of a young son who just died at the hands of a drunk driver. I believe it was meant for both young men to take a real good look at the face of a grieving mother at that moment. I bet those two young men have never forgotten it to this day.

    I have just been reading some for the first time in your blog, Rebecca. Your blog has touched my heart… I have been so much in my own world… I didn’t see what happened in your world until now. You’ve lost your son and with him, his best friend. How this has touched my heart. I read the poems he wrote, and the one to his best friend. My heart cries for him at this moment, how so sad. Today has been a ‘different’ day for me, easy to become upset, cry… I’m glad I have read this so, that I can feel for you, someone else, instead of just for myself.

    You and your husband were like Skip and I… we had no one when Tommy died. I can say I do know how it feels…. we don’t have a family support like most people. Tommy ‘was’ our family. I know ‘these shoes’ well…I wore them.

    I also, know the shoes you walk in, your son died…. I also, walk in them now. I can say this with my heart…. I know how it feels, it’s the worst feeling in the world….and that I care so much. I’m so sorry your son is gone. Love, Granny Gee/Gloria

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