I believe never drink and drive. Did you ever have a friend that you can just sit down with and talk to about important stuff going on in your life? When you get done playing the biggest game of your life and you mishandled it and he was there to calm you down. Somebody you can tell a joke to and see that wonderful smile on their face; hear their laughter.
Why are you his friend? Is it because you had practice together everyday and were on the football field the same time? Is it because you shot jump shots on the court and did some awful line drills together? Can it be a familiar face in the hallway that reminds you how much fun you had growing up together on the same block?
In this vast wonderful planet nobody is perfect, people are going to make mistakes in their lives and it is very important to learn from them. People die everyday but unfortunately on this day the person that died wasn’t a family member or a child. It was a young man that had his whole life left to figure out. It was my best friend that lived down the street from me who I grew up with.
A disturbing ring at night came with startling news. My stomach dropped as I fell to my knees; there was a liquid substance that came across my cheek as I lay there in a fetal position cold and dark. As I lay ever so motionless it hit me, I knew he was in a better place now. I knew my life will change forever but for one moment I saw his face, a flashback when we were just kids making that ridiculous handshake in the back yard.
In this tragic event he had been drinking that night and made a huge mistake, all he wanted to do was make it home. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get a second chance but by his actions that night he will save many lives without even knowing it.
He taught me two things, one when he was alive and one after his death. When he was alive he said, “be that outstanding person who you are in your life. If everybody’s the same we would have one boring world.” After his death his message was simple: we are not invincible, bad stuff can happen to anybody, and never drink and drive because it cost him his life. I believe in being that friend to take the keys away, to never drink and drive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.