Graduation Day

It was 35 years ago this month that I was walking toward the graduation ceremony when I came upon a commotion on Lemon Street, which separates the college from the Fullerton High School Stadium, where the ceremony was taking place. Some lady came up to me and exclaimed, "Call the police! Call the police!" When I got closer, I saw a boy about 5 years old lying on the pavement. I can still see his little brother clasping his hands in prayer, tears streaming down his face as he cried, "God, please don't let him die!" over and over as some horrible mantra. It haunts me to this day—especially around graduation time. You were the shaggy-looking guy in your mid-twenties who struck that kid with your old VW beetle. For a fleeting moment, our eyes met; your eyes were wide as saucers as you jumped back in your car and hightailed it out of there. Dozens, if not more than a hundred people saw you, so I'm pretty sure the law caught up with you. Back then, penalties were fairly light, and I doubt you spent even a year in jail. Since that time, you have probably gone on to live a full life; you've likely put this painful event behind you, feel you paid your debt to society and never think about it anymore. And that is why I'm writing this—to remind you of just what you caused. That boy would be a grown man now and probably have a family of his own, but you destroyed that dream. You also left that young family with a horrible scar they will live with the rest of their lives. I want you to know that as long as I am alive, there will always be someone out there who remembers what you did.


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