“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