Pey Attention

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Every 15 minutes, someone dies from an alcohol-related collision.  Every 15 minutes, a parent loses his or her child.  Every 15 minutes, a child loses his or her sibling.  Every 15 minutes someone loses their best friend.  Every 15 minutes a life is lost and hearts are broken.  This was not supposed to happen to me, but on Monday, this nightmare became a reality.

During third period, I was pulled out of my class and told that I was hit by a drunk driver.  I died immediately upon impact, as I could not sustain my injuries.  I returned to class to find myself not able to talk to any of my classmates or teacher.  I walked around during lunch, not allowed to eat with my friends.  Instead of going home after school to watch Netflix with my little sister, I went to a cemetery.  At night, I did not receive a goodnight kiss from my mom; rather, I cried myself to sleep reading goodbye letters from my friends.

Throughout the day, we visited a cemetery and a crematory.  Additionally, all the student participants visited the sheriff’s station where we got to talk to inmates who went to prison for drinking and driving incidents.  Even at the hotel, several speakers came and talked about how drinking and driving have affected their lives.  Every 15 Minutes may not be real, but these people had real life experiences.  For them, drinking and driving left an immediate impact on their lives.

Although Every 15 Minutes is merely a simulation, the program exposes everyone’s real emotions and feelings.  As I sat on the hotel floor writing a letter to my mom, I bawled thinking about how I never got to tell my mom and sister how much they meant to me and how much I truly loved them.

Time after time, I have been lectured about the consequences of drinking and driving and texting and driving.  I could not only die, but I could also hurt my friends and other people.  But each time I heard this repetitive lesson, I did not stop to think that I could end up in this position.  Too many people forget how fragile life is and how easily it can be taken away.  The reality is that anyone can be in a car accident; anyone can be hit by a drunk or get distracted while driving.  None of us are invincible. I am appreciative that I have a second chance at life and that this was truly a wakeup call.

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