A haunting story
It was a typical day shortly before Christmas. A woman was picking out a new stuffed animal for her niece, imagining the bright eyes of the little girl when she opened the present.
She checked her wallet to see how much money she had left when she heard a sniffle coming from down the aisle. She looked up and saw a little boy standing there alone.
He was about 10 or 12 years old and wore a blue woolen cap, his dark brown curls poking out from beneath it. His corduroy pants had obviously been through the wash a few too many times and his shoes were messily tied together. His eyes were filled with a deep sadness. The woman carefully approached the boy, still holding her wallet; she was curious why he looked so sad. As she got closer, she could tell he was trying to hold back a flood of tears and she noticed a pink ribbon tied around his wrist â€” how curious…
“Hey there. Why are you here all alone?,” she asked. The boy, still looking at the toys, answered that he wanted to buy something for his sister for Christmas. “That’s a wonderful idea. But then why are you so sad?” He looked at her and admitted that he didn’t have enough money to buy anything.
“Well, Santa will probably bring her a doll, right?,” she tried. The boy fell silent and turned to look her in the eyes. She saw something beyond sadness in his eyes; something she’d never seen in the eyes of a child. “Santa doesn’t travel to where my sister is.” The woman could feel her throat start to tighten and she barely squeezed out her next question, “What happened to your sister?” She wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear the answer, but she couldn’t help but ask. “She’s in heaven. And I want her to have something nice up there. My mom’s heading there soon and I thought she could take the doll up with her.” The woman had the sensation that the floor had just dropped away from beneath her feet.
She took a deep breath and said, “Well, let’s see how much you’ve got there.” She counted his money and secretly slipped a few extra bills of her own into the mix. Suddenly, he did have enough for a doll and even a little extra. His eyes lit up and he said, “Wonderful! I can even buy mom one of her favorite flowers. She loves white roses.” The boy disappeared and the woman was left wondering whether he had been telling the truth or not. But that thought quickly passed.
She was so moved that she forgot to buy a gift for her niece. As she left the toy store a headline caught her eye. It was about a terrible car accident involving a drunk driver. A mother and her 4-year-old daughter were severely injured in the crash. The little girl died on the way to the hospital and her mom was in critical condition in a deep coma. The doctors were doing their very best to support her. Could these people be the family of the young boy? She tried to push the thought from her mind.
Over the next few days, she caught herself scanning the obituaries and eventually came across the announcement she hoped she wouldn’t find. The woman from the car crash had passed. Her obituary read, “Senseless and taken from us too soon. We can only take comfort in the fact that you’ll soon see our little angel again.” A date and location was given for the burial service and the woman decided she would go. She bought a bouquet of white roses and headed towards the graveyard.
As she arrived, she noticed the young boy from the toy store. He was holding a single white rose in one hand and a doll in the other. His father stood at his side, clearly struggling to keep his composure. She couldn’t find any words and silently made her way to the grave as tears streamed down her cheeks. She dropped the roses into the grave and briefly caught the eye of the young boy. She finally realized why his look had been so captivating in the shop before; he had the eyes of an adult, an adult who had experienced a deep loss. It tore at her heart, but she couldn’t find any words to say.
In a single second this family’s life was changed forever. And all because a person who had been drinking got behind the wheel. Instead of calling a taxi or taking a bus, they drove and snatched a little girl’s future, took a boy’s mother from him, and left a father without his love or his youngest child. Drunk driving isn’t just dangerous for you, it puts everyone in danger. Make the right choice.