I would like for you to remember Steve.
You probably know someone like him. He had an outgoing personality; always joking, having fun; someone you just like to hang around. He lived next door to me our freshman year in college, and we hit it off so well we decided to become roommates the following year.
Steve was smart. He studied and made good grades. Steve always had a plan and was thinking ahead to the what if’s. But Steve also liked being part of the crowd and along with that came some heavy partying. Now Steve, always the thinker, had it figured out. He had decided early on that, if he would be drinking, he wouldn’t be driving. He wasn’t going to risk getting a ticket and losing his license. So Steve never drove. And because of this it didn’t matter to him how intoxicated he became.
Our sophomore year, while we were at a party, one of our friends got seriously injured. He was doing something stupid; the kind of things that only drunk people come up with, and I believe his exact words before it happened were, “Hey everybody, watch this!” The next thing I knew, I was on my way to the hospital with Rob in the back seat of my car. It was this incident that made me realize somebody always has to be sober enough to drive, I decided that person would always be me. Steve didn’t have to worry though. He just stayed at the party. He wouldn’t have been much help anyway.
Fast-forward to our senior year; Homecoming weekend. Rob and Steve have been roommates now for two years and we are all living off campus in the same neighborhood. After the football game, everyone went out to celebrate our last homecoming weekend. Our time in college was coming to an end, and we would be headed out into the world soon enough to apply our education. I remember asking Steve, as I was leaving the party that night, if he needed a ride. No, he assured me, he was not driving, but had secured a ride home. I left.
Relentless banging on the door of my house woke me up Saturday morning. As my friends came in, their faces told the story before they even began talking. Steve and Rob had never made it home. The authorities found their car in the river where it had landed after veering off a curve on the road to our neighborhood; a curve Steve and Rob had navigated hundreds of times over the past year. Unfortunately, their driver hadn’t, and he was too drunk to know it was coming.
Take time to remember Steve during this holiday season. He died his senior year in college having never lost his driver’s license. And keep this in mind. If you have been drinking, your judgment will be clouded in determining who is clear-headed enough to drive you home. Because someone must always stay sober and responsible; the only way to assure you get home safely is to be the one who is sober.