The night I took someones keys,,,, Baton Rouge Louisiana February 2009
by Mindy Weller
(San Diego, CA)
I was reading some of these heart wrenching stories of lost loved ones with anger despair and sadness and I started to think of something that happened to me. Knowing people who have lost loved ones to death due to drunking driving any time I go out with friends I always make it a habbit to be the designated driver. This night was no different however I was not prepared for what was about to happen.
It was in February of 2009 and you could find me typically at that time hanging with my friends in the local bars on the weekend. I did not drink. I was just there to make sure my friends were safe because I loved them. I usually stayed until 2am because my friends wouldnt be caught dead leaving early and if any of them would leave I always made sure I would give them a sobriety test before they would go. If not I would sit with them or be the one driving and crash at their house so everyone was safe. Well it was approaching 2am and this man I did not know what sitting next to me was drunk. The bartender said alright its time to close up lets get out of here and go home no more selling of alcohol. I did not know that man who was sitting next to me but my friend who was the bartender along with a few other people i knew also knew this man. He begged for one more drink. My friend said no. As soon as he got off the barstool he fell straight to the floor. I knew this man was obviously drunk and like a good samaritan I helped him from the floor to his feet and started asking him who was bringing him home. He insisted he would bring himself home. I said sir I do not know you however I think maybe we should wait awhile before you drive home. He did not refuse my offer so there were four of us sitting with him waiting for him to sober up. He had drank so much he never did. I knew this man couldnt sober up and we all had to start getting home. So I did something that I thought I would never have to do. I asked to see the mans car keys to see what kind of car he drove. Not paying attention to my tatic due to his drunken stuppor he freely gave me his car keys and I immediately stuck them in my purse helped him to his feet and said come lets get you home its almost 3:30am and your family must be worried. I must have been crazy in my head I told myself. That I was going to drive a stranger home. But I couldnt allow this man in his state drive home and risk hurting himself or someone else. The man got angry with me and insisted that I give him his keys back. I took my stance and said no. I had taken 3 years of self defense so I did not have fear of
him attacking me just very cautious as to what his next move was. He was angry with me but I was ready. I couldnt back down. I was very firm and I told the man sir I need to go home it is late and I must drive my other friends home because they are not sober. I gave him a choice either you allow me to take you home or I will call the police and you can sober up in jail. By this time the man came at me and I had taken him to the ground. I told my friend to call the police and I told the man to take it easy and not to move. The police showed up and asked what had happened. I told them this was our friend and we gave him a choice that either i drive him home or he goes to jail. The police officer praised my bravery and told the man the choice either you have her take you home or i will personally take you to jail. The man caved in and finally with the persuasion of the officer allowed me to take him home. As I was driving the man home the officer followed me. I turned on to the mans street and I saw a woman walking down the street. I think about this woman from time to time and if I had not been so adimate if he would have hit her or worse. I think about if she had a family if she was married had children. In any case, I finally got the man home and his family was waiting up for him. They were worried sick. They were happy to see him and were surprised to see me. I gave them the keys and explained what had happened and showed them to officer in the street. Thats when I found out more about the man. He had a wife and two very young children. They were relieved thanked me repeatedly. The officer took me back to my friends so i could drive the rest them to my house which wasnt much further away. As I got in the officer's car I looked and saw the woman one last time and smiled knowing that I had done the right thing. I still to this day do not regret my decision for taking this mans keys and if given the opportunity I would do it again. For those of you that have lost someone I am terribly sorry for your loss but please remember there are people out there who really do care and will do anything to make sure that no one is put in harms way due to someone elses lack of judgment and stupidity. I personally can attest to this. Every time I drive someone home I know in my heart there is someone out there who gets to hug their loved at night knowing they are safe, and not crying due to someone elses foolish decision to drink and drive. Remember friends do not let friends drive drunk. Stay safe always. Love you all ---- Mindy