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Slow down and pay attention while driving

Published: Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 3:38 p.m. CDT

It’s bad enough to worry about my son, Andrew, while he serves with the Army overseas. It’s worse to have to worry about him right here at home.

He’s an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) tech. In layman’s terms, he’s a bomb tech. There’s a lot more involved, but suffice it to say that he’s one of those brave (or crazy) souls searching for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to destroy them before they destroy people and property.

I have come to the conclusion that the men and women who take on that role are adrenaline junkies. My son is a classic example.

He bought a motorcycle. I know, how bad can a motorcycle be when he’s been in harm’s way in a war zone? It’s bad.

With all the distracted drivers out there, I worry more about them not seeing my son on his motorcycle. Oh sure, he wears all the safety gear, but he’s still exposed.

Last week, for example, he was scheduled to come home for leave. Friday night, he was rear-ended. He was stopped at a light when he was struck by what I can only imagine was a distracted driver. Andrew said the driver had his wife and children with him and was very apologetic.

Apologies are fine, but they don’t fix the damage.

Fortunately, Andrew walked away scraped and bruised, but nothing was broken. His motorcycle is another story. It will require some work. I keep hoping he’ll get rid of it, but the adrenaline junkie loves his motorcycle.

The moral of the story is to be aware of your surroundings at all times when driving. This time of year, you share the road with motorcyclists, bicyclists and even farm equipment. All it takes is a second or two of distraction to cause a world of hurt for yourself and the operators of any of those things. On our rural roads, especially, slow down and be ever aware.

This is also the time of year when deer are on the move, especially around dawn and dusk. A deer, even a small one, can cause a great deal of property damage to a vehicle. Depending on the situation, a collision with a deer can cause injury, too.

And if I can’t get Andrew to sell his motorcycle, maybe I can get him to wear his bomb suit when he rides.

• • •

On a really happy note, I got a call recently from Dorie Fialkowski of Sandwich with a good news story.

She and her husband, Mark, made plans to spend their anniversary weekend at a bed and breakfast in Prairie du Chien, Wis. Mark worked hard at a second job to earn some extra money to make that happen.

The money and the lovely first anniversary weekend were nearly lost but for the honesty of a young man working at the Goodwill store in Yorkville.

Mark stopped there to pick up a table and chairs Dorie had purchased for $10. Mark didn’t notice the $500 he had worked so hard to earn fall from his wallet when he showed his ID to pick up the merchandise. Fortunately, a young employee named Robert did notice and was honest enough to speak up and tell Mark he had dropped the cash.

“He was so impressed with the kid’s honesty, after thanking him profusely, he went back in the store to tell the manager,” Dorie said of Mark. He then called her to share the story. After shedding a few grateful, happy tears, she called the store and learned employees are not allowed to accept gratuities, but she could call the corporate office and they would put a note in Robert’s file.

“He could have waited until Mark walked away and picked up the money,” Dorie said.

“My $10 table could have turned into a $510 table, and our wonderful weekend would have been gone in the blink of an eye.

“We don’t know Robert’s last name, but I want him to get some recognition,” Dorie said.

It’s comforting to know there are honest people left in the world.

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