All of the uproar on the Casey Anthony verdict got me thinking. I have refrained from commenting on the verdict because I don’t know the facts or what transpired in that courtroom. I do believe if Casey Anthony truly is guilty she will be found out and punished for her actions in a court of law.
But I am also a strong believer in karma and I think people do really get what they deserve. I’m going to tell you a more personal story then I usually do… This issue really hits close to home and explains why I feel VERY strongly about drinking and driving. That’s one reason why I’m so happy to live in a city like Toronto where public transit and cabs are so readily available and I don’t need to worry about getting a bit tipsy and having to drive myself home.
In the summer of August 1995, I lived in a small townhouse complex in Malton. I was 2 doors down from my best friend, and across the street from 2 of my parents best friends. My parent’s friends had a 17 year old son named Mike and although we didn’t run in the same crowds (I was only 8 years old at the time!) I hung out with his family a lot and frequently watched him play ball-hockey with the other boys his age in the park attached to our complex. He babysat me and my brother a few times and I adored the puppy-love relationship between him and his girlfriend, Anna. I thought they were both so beautiful.
Mike’s grandparents had a cottage on Rice Lake, near Peterborough. We spent a lot of time at the cottage and I learned to fish and bury my head in a good book until the sun set and the bonfire started. Mike spent a lot of time at the cottage too, hanging out with his friends who lived in neighbouring cottages or around the lake.
In the summer of 1995, Mike was walking home with two twin sisters he was friends with. They walked the dark, country dirt-roads home together. On their walk home, a truck went by them. The driver was the twin’s brother and one of Mike’s best friends. He swerved towards the three teens as a joke. He was drunk and his judgment was a bit off. Mike saw what was happening and pushed the girls out of the way, saving their lives. Mike was hit and although I never learned the details, it wasn’t good. He died a few hours later.
The driver was caught. He fled the scene of the accident after hitting Mike, but the cops showed up at his house a few hours later. The laws surrounding drunk driving weren’t as advanced as they are now and while the drunk driver had his license taken away for a long time, he barely served any time in jail.
Sidenote: This is what Mike’s parents wanted as well: the drunk driver rotting away in jail would not bring their son back. A suspended license would ensure that he couldn’t hurt anyone else.
Just a couple years ago I heard news of the drunk driver who had killed Mike. He was partying on Rice Lake, in the same community he killed Mike in. He was driving a boat and had too much to drink. He lost control while taking a sharp turn and fell over the side. As the boat went over him, the motor cut off both of his legs.
It took a long time, but karma really was a bitch. He may have kept his life, but we will forever be reminded of the life he took away, and what his poor choices involving alcohol brought him.
Mike wasn’t so lucky. He paid for someone else’s poor choices, which is why I will never make the choice to get behind the wheel after I’ve had anything to drink.
An afterthought: I didn’t tell Mike’s parents that I planned on writing this. My parent’s are still close friends with them and see them often. I hope that if they ever read this, they don’t mind me sharing the story of their loss especially if it leads to more people making smarter choices and not driving drunk.
Don’t let Mike’s death be in vain – please don’t drink and drive!
Has your life been affected by drunk driving? Please feel free to share your story in the comments.