This is a very tragic experience that someone had, but when others learn from it, it can do some good, and be the catalyst to prevent other tragedies.
I try to learn from every little thing that comes my way, and this was actually a very small thing – just a look in someone’s eyes.
One that still stands out in my mind, and it’s now 40 years later…
I was in a small group of people talking in a bar. One guy was pretty drunk and was talking about how he had done some crazy driving, had a head-on accident and killed the driver of the other car.
The small thing that happened was that I looked into his eyes and saw his future. I could see that his life was not going to go well and that drinking and emotional problems would be the way his life was going to play out. Even if his life didn’t go that way (and I hope it didn’t) the fact that I imagined this is enough.
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It taught me, in one second, that driving in cars isn’t fun or an adventure, it is very, very serious business. We hold our lives and the lives of many others in our hands when we are behind the wheel.
I hadn’t been driving for very long in those days, but I felt that I received a lot of vicarious experience in that one instant. I’ve been a much more careful, thoughtful driver ever since. I know that small decisions can have large consequences. For example — a little more speed can change everything.
And I was so, so lucky. I could learn this without the tragic experience. That’s why I’m writing it here. I hope that more people can get the message without having to go through a scare, or worse, a tragedy.