Seldom do I share personal stories... but this one I felt needed to be shared!
Christmas arrived early and in two oddly-shaped packages this year.
On Saturday, I unwrapped the gift of healing for a hurt that’s been with me for 35 years, and at the same time, I received the gift of pride in a son who is “paying it forward.”
When I was 15 years old, my vibrant and dynamic mother was killed by a drunk driver. While traveling home from a church youth group meeting, she and her three passengers, including my sister, Denise, were hit by a 17-year-old driver who was under the influence of alcohol. It was his first offense; it was the end of my childhood.
My mother wasn’t there for my graduation. She didn’t get to shop with me for a wedding dress. She missed Mitchell and Matthew’s births, their birthday parties, our family Christmases, Mother’s Day.
But in spite of not being physically present, Mom’s memory was kept alive. I told the boys stories of her life, we remembered her birthday, and most importantly, we talked about the results of poor choices--of driving under the influence of alcohol.
On Saturday, a reporter and photographer from Lancaster Newspaper interviewed Mitch, who has taken up late-night runs as an Uber driver. Sure, he’s a 25-year-old trying to make a living with two jobs, but he’s also attempting to honor a grandma h1’s never met. He tells his clients, respectfully, that this gig is about getting them home safely and protecting others out on the road.
On dark winter nights, Mitch drives and chats, learning bits and pieces about his clients, many of whom have consumed too many drinks and recognize their need for a safe ride. After all, getting home via Uber is as simple as using an app. As he sees it, if he can keep one alcohol-impaired driver off the road, and possibly spare another’s life, he’s made a difference.
That’s a giant box of pride for a mother to receive at Christmas. And I know Mitch’s Grandma (my mom) would be equally pleased.
We never got an apology from the driver who killed my mom, and through the years, it’s been hard to forgive someone you’ve never met or talked to. And while time heals, it took Mitchell’s tangible act of intentionally transporting potential DUIers for me to seize the moment to forgive.
This Christmas I choose to forgive. What a beautiful present!
I share these gifts with you in hopes of making all of us aware of the need to drink responsibly. A safe ride this holiday is just a phone app away.
And if it’s my boy, Mitchell, who pulls up to the curb, tip him well and give a nod to my mother, his grandmother, whose shortened life made a difference.
Read more at: Facebook article