A Night To Not Be Forgotten
Seventeen years ago today was what started out to be a regular Friday night like any other Friday night for four teen buddies. Life in a small town as a teenage guy was pretty routine and we all lived for the weekend. Why the weekend? Well the weekend was considered “Party Time”. It’s when you got to hang out with all your friends and turn up the tunes and kick back a few drink or a lot of drinks or if you were into drugs it was your time to consume them. I can tell you I remember a lot of these crazy nights and I can say I don’t remember a lot of those crazy nights because I had partaken in too much fun and too many drinks. This was the teenage life in a small town on the weekends, or at least it was in my hometown.
April 29, 1994, was starting to be just like another Friday night. Jason(my best friend), Jimmy, Aaron and myself all met up at the pool hall in St. Stephen, if I recall it was called “The Shark’s Club”. We played pool as we discussed our plans for the evening and it was decided that we would go to a pool hall in another town called McAdam, which was 45 minutes away. Our first crisis was we had to get some booze for the journey and once that crisis was overcome we embarked on a journey that would change so many people’s lives in that small town.
Some look back and say wow with all the poor choices they made in their own lives it’s hard to believe they made it out alive. So many people look at me and say this could of been them. Well after a night of drinking and playing pool in a strange town, flirting with some local girls, we decided to head back home to St. Stephen. In my day we were always taught to not drink and drive as it is very dangerous. This was the golden rule “Don’t drink and drive and make sure you have a sober driver.” Jimmy was the driver this night and he was driving his own car and he was sober. The thing was there were a lot of poor choices made that night one all our parts, now that I look back.
Long story short, there was a single car crash the took the lives of three of my friends and it left me with burns to 75% of my body. That single car crash has affected so many people in this small community.
When something goes wrong, we are so quick to want to blame someone for it. Some would say Jimmy was driving so it’s all his fault as he was speeding, some would say it’s the other three guys fault for drinking and being loud and rambunctious with the tunes cranked and distracting the driver and not speaking up to tell him to slow down. I burnt 75% of my body and with the lost of my friends accept the blame on myself. I could of spoken up and I could not be drinking that night and there are a lot of poor choices I made that night.
I have made the choice to make sure these boys lives weren’t taken for no reason. Live has so many tough lessons to learn, but some lessons need not be learned through personal experience. I have committed my life to helping others make the right choice in life when faced with difficult choices. I lost my best friend Jason that night, the guy that was like a brother to me.
As I write this it’s so hard to fight back the tears. I love you Jason and will always remember the good times we had. Jimmy and Aaron I miss you guys too. We all had so many good times together and it is dreadful that we no longer have you with us. I promise to you guys, as long as I have a voice and have someone to talk to, your death will not be for nothing.
I have spoken over 350 times across Canada and the US to many different schools and groups. I do this because I know what it likes to lose my best friend and I know what it’s like to be left with burns to 75% of my body. I have been through so much in my life because of this and I do this so that you don’t have to.
Please everyone, think about your choices when in a vehicle and please focus on the task at hand which is driving and put all other distractions away. Obey the rules of the road and be safe, don’t just do it for yourself but do it for those you love and love you and the ones that can’t live without you.
R.I.P. Jason, Jimmy, Aaron