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The young man had his whole life ahead of him as he drove down a two-lane country road in Texas that night. He had received an engineering degree a few months earlier from a nationally-renowned University. He had passed his Engineer-in-Training examination, putting him on a path towards becoming a Professional Engineer. Life was good, and full of promise.
 
He was not going that fast – it was late and he was ten miles under the speed limit for the road. He was heading home to College Station after visiting his younger brother in Dallas.
 
Suddenly a deer walked out from the woods along the road and stopped on the road ahead of him.  It was too close for him to stop before he hit the deer. He swerved into the other lane, steering around the deer. Then he saw oncoming headlights from around the curve ahead of him. He swerved back into his lane, but a front tire burst, and shredded. The wheel, now on its rim, dug into the asphalt pavement, dragging the car towards the shoulder. The car touched the gravel shoulder and rolled.

You think you know how this story ends. A promising life snuffed out just before it had a chance to really begin. Or worse, the young man left paraplegic or quadriplegic by the accident.

Seatbelt

But that man’s guardian angel was in the car with him that dark night – a guardian angel that enveloped him in her arms and kept him safe from harm. And he was wearing his seat belt.

When the car stopped, he was upside down, held firmly in his seat by two straps of sturdy cloth. His hat was even still on his head, although the crown rested on the ceiling of the car. He turned off the engine and scrambled out of the car – uninjured and grateful to be alive.

The young man was my son. Today he is a successful engineer, realizing the promise his life held for him on the night his car rolled. He is glad that his father instilled the habit of always wearing a seatbelt, and today my son will not start his car until everyone in it also has their seatbelt on.

I thought about that night the other day. My local paper had a story about a roll-over accident. The driver was killed. She was not wearing her seatbelt.

My son lost his car. It could be – and was – replaced. The other driver lost her life. It cannot.

Wear your seatbelt.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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