11:34PM 10/10/11 I think?
I spoke with my father earlier this evening. Dad is a part-time actor and part-time chauffeur in Los Angeles (aren’t they all?). He works for a well-known car service and because of his super flyness and charm, he often drives some of their largest clients. Most of his clients are kind or completely aloof, but never mean. Dad told me about one of the few cranky clients he had the other night, an older actor who had his heyday 40 years ago but is still milking it for all it’s worth. To make a long story short, the actor handed my dad a tip, but then decided he didn’t want to give the tip and pulled the money out of my dad’s hand and left. Dad thought it was hysterical.
But this wasn’t the story that struck me during our conversation. No, it was the part about getting hit head-on by a drunk driver on Friday night. “Now, I don’t want you to worry,” he said, “I’m fine.” My Dad knows I worry a lot. However, I think he thinks I worry more than I do. I’m not sure if I worry as much as he thinks I do. Maybe I do? I don’t know. How does one know if they worry the normal amount?
It took me a minute to digest the news and once I detected in his voice that he actually was indeed fine, my heart rate lowered a bit.
What happened was that my father was sitting at a red light at 2AM in Hollywood after getting done with work. He was driving an older BMW. I’m only pointing this out because this is partially what prevented him from getting hurt- they’re a freakin’ sturdy car. Another BMW comes flying through the green light and is unable to make the turn and smashes into the front driver’s side of my Dad’s car. The window shatters and glass flies onto my father. The other driver speeds off.
Someone calls 911 and the police arrive. They have to carefully pull my Dad out of the car because he was crunched within. He assured the police that he didn’t need to go to the hospital, that he just had some glass in his hair. As they’re writing down the report, as if from out of the shadows, a man walks up to them with his arms outstretched and says, “I’m the guy that hit him. I’m drunk. Please arrest me.”
Everyone got silent.
Doing exactly that, the cops put handcuffs on the man and place him in the squad car. They ask my father if he wants to press charges. My father walks up to the man and says, “I don’t want to ruin your life, I just want you to pay for the repairs to my car.” The police let the man go and he tearfully thanks my father (I guess you don’t get arrested for drunk driving unless the cops pull you over?). Since the accident, my father and the other man have exchanged texts and phone messages. The man tells my father that he saved his life and he doesn’t understand why someone wouldn’t press charges. They’re not best buds now, but they have forever connected due to this life-altering situation.
My Dad told me that he keeps thinking about that night, what he could have done differently to prevent the accident. “There was nothing I could have done, Lauren,” he says to me. “I was doing everything right, just sitting at a red light and this guy comes out of nowhere. Makes you realize how out of our control some things are.”
He’s right and that doesn’t help me to worry any less.
This one got me a little choked up! Pretty scary. But good how it worked out, must have been an awfully profound moment for your dad.
Thanks, Brittany. Yeah, I think so. I’m sure he keeps thinking about it. I’m so glad he’s ok.
A few years ago I was sitting waiting in line at the tollbooth when the car behind me plowed into mine going 40 mph. Totalled my car. Because it was totally unexpected I didn’t brace for impact and my body was relaxed, so luckily I only suffered some bruising and now have a knee that bothers me but that’s about it. Like with your dad, there was nothing I could have done–I was lucky enough to have my parking brake on so my car didn’t hit the one in front of me. But as you say, just because we know we can’t control things doesn’t mean we worry less. I live in NYC now and don’t drive, but whenever I hear tires squeal my heart jumps. I love driving, but am forever wary after that accident. The driver that hit me wasn’t drunk, either, just careless. At the end of the day, we can’t live ruled by fear or our worries, but I know how hard it is to do that! Ok, now I’ve written a novel in your comments section. Gonna go. 🙂
That made me shudder. How scary! I’m sure that is something that never leaves you! I would have never have thought to put my parking brake on. You’re one smart cookie!
That reminds me of that live leaks video of two motorcyclists waiting for a red light to change when suddenly a car coming from the opposite direction nicks the median next to the left turn lane and rolls. No guesses for what happens to the motorcyclist.
I’m glad to hear your dad came out of that okay (head-ons; shudder!); it sounds like the other guy got a much-needed wake up call. I love that your dad recognized at the time that it took some real balls and humility for the guy who had already “gotten away” to come back and acknowledge what he had done. Your dad sounds like a really respectable and grounded guy to be aware of how that stupid mistake of driving drunk could have caused him to possibly lose everything and that he was truly remorseful.
Oh gosh! I don’t think I could ever watch that video!
Thanks for saying that about my Dad. He’s a good guy. Not vindictive. I think if the other driver was a jerk, it would be a different story. I definitely give the other driver credit for coming back and turning himself in. That was brave. More people should take responsibility for their actions!
Wow. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that story is terrifying? What a scary message your dad has shared with us all. That it doesn’t matter if we do all the right things and follow all the rules, everything can become out of control in just a split second and we can’t do anything about it. Poop.
This reminds me of an accident my dad was in a few years ago. See, my dad is a recovering alcoholic but he’s only been sober for a year. Probably four years ago, my dad was hit by a drunk driver while he himself was drunk. My dad (being the superior jerk wad he is) saw an opportunity and sued the guy’s insurance for thousands of dollars in pain and suffering as well as medical bills. I don’t really know where I was going with that story but the point is your dad is a good person, and I am really glad he’s alright. 🙂
Oh man. The fact that two drivers who were drunk collided makes me think that there must be a lot of people on the road that are drunk. I’m convinced that on weekend nights 50% of the drivers are drunk. It’s scary. I’m sorry you had to go through that.
My cousin Tyler was killed by a drunk driver when he was just 19 years old. It was the night before Thanksgiving and he was out with some friends. He was in the backseat and a drunk driver hit his side of the car. He died instantly. Don’t drink and drive, everyone.
Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how terrible that was for your family.
It always re-energizes my outlook on humanity, when one person forgives another. Not because he had to but because he understood. Thanks for sharing, and big ups to your father!
Awww…thank you! My Dad is a pretty understanding guy. He knew that this guy felt horrible.
About four years ago I was arrested and it was the absolute worst experience of my life. I rolled through a stop sign at 10MPH and hit a guy’s car resulting in less than $500 of damage. I had a few drinks that evening and because of this, when the cops came, I was arrested. The entire ordeal was an awful experience but it also helped me grow into who I am today. Sometimes I wish the man who called the police granted me some kind of forgiveness the way your father did with this guy. It could have been just as easy to drive off into the night, but I’m not like that and clearly this guy had a conscious. I thank the moon and stars I didn’t hurt anyone and am so thankful for that situation. I am so much more aware of my drinking in general, not to mention especially while driving. (and my absolute paranoia driving after 1:00am) Whoever this guy is, I’m sure this has been a positive opportunity for him to reflect and grow positively from this situation. It’s an incredible story and I’m truly so glad your dad is alright. Sometimes the really bad things in life have to happen to help shape us into the better people we are today. xo
Wow, AB. Thank you for sharing that. When I moved to Austin I met a lot of people who had DWIs and I realized how easy it is to get a DWI. You don’t have to be an avid drinker to get a DWI. It scared me a lot and I don’t really drink anymore. It is so easy for any us to get a DWI. Thank you for sharing your story and kudos to you for seeing the positive that came out of it.
Since the only witness to the accident was not going to press charges, the only thing that was left was a civil matter. Your BAMF of a Dad decided to handshake on it.
I am very glad for you that Pops is well. I have been struck twice in the past five years, not a lot unless you are the one being hit by a vehicle. The one kid I let fix my bike but the other guy hurt me, so we had to go to court.
Anywho, I am telling you this because you Dad is a cool guy. Sometimes things happen. I’d say that an angel was looking out for him if it didn’t sound so heretical, but who else was, if an angel wasn’t?
Love and Rockets!
Haha. I had to look up BAMF! Thanks, Mark! I’m sure if my Dad was hurt, it would have been a different matter. You got hit twice? Were you not in a car both times? That’s scary!
I was on my bike… one time, it just took out a tire and knocked me down… the second time, on the 3rd of this year, took out my bike and knocked me out briefly. I still have back pain from it… don’t cry for me, cause I am still doing my thing and if you do, then I will cry and then we both will be sobbing like we are watching a Terms of Endearment/Steel Magnolia/Beaches marathon!
Damn! I’m convinced that every biker has been hit at least once or twice. It’s scary. Most of my biker friends here have been hit . I’m glad you’re ok (besides the back pain) 🙁
You come from pretty great stock, girl. Really happy that everything was ultimately okay, and even more so that your father sent that kind of kindness out into the world. There’s a real shortage of it lately.
Aww…thanks, Kimberly. I think my Dad realized how sorry the guy was and my Dad isn’t a vindictive guy. The guy was young and scared and admitted that he screwed up.
Just maybe a week ago my boyfriend was at a red light and somebody hit him going full speed from behind! It was totally unfair and out of the blue…he’s okay but it was one of those things where I started thinking about what could have happened and how grateful I am to have him in my life, bla bla bla. It was a bit of a wake-up call…you kind of need those every once in a while to realize how fragile the balance of your life is!
I think that your dad is a real gentleman by the way, for not taking out his anger on the man…as long as he is okay and his car gets repaired, it sounds like he really did the right thing.
Oh wow! That’s terrifying. I’m glad your boyfriend is ok!!!
Thank you everyone for those kind words. It was a hell of a night and everyone is ok. Thank you Lauren…..I love you.