Last year, my 21st birthday fell on the weekend following St. Patrick's Day. Because St. Patrick's Day fell on a Thursday, people were celebrating the whole weekend through, drinking enough to blind a large farm animal (as my Grandma used to say) and unfortunately choosing to drive themselves home. I was one of those revelers (I AM Irish!) and because it was my birthday, I was out with several friends; one of whom was actually a friend of a friend, who was invited along because he agreed to be our designated driver.
I suppose I should have known better than to put my trust into someone I did not know, but I was just so excited about turning 21 and finally being able to go out and party that I didn't think anything of it. I wish my story could end with something stupid, like the designated driver got drunk and I had to call a cab; but things went much more badly than that. Our designated driver stayed sober all night, and drove every one of us home safely - until I was the only person left to drop off. Instead of taking me home, he drove me to a local park - a place my parents would have called a "make-out spot", but this guy had more than "making out" on his mind! Long story short? THANK GOD the local police were patrolling the park, and saw me struggling to get away from the "nice guy" who had offered to be my designated driver!
The police ended up giving me a ride home that night, even though I chose not to press charges against the guy who tried to rape me. I did tell our mutual friend what a slime the guy is and - what a surprise - I am no longer friends with her, because she refused to believe me; claiming that I was "too drunk to know what was happening". This is the reason I am writing to you, and is the message I want to impart to St. Patrick's Day revelers.
With St. Patrick's Day falling on the weekend this year, there will certainly be many more people out celebrating. We have all heard about the importance of not drinking and driving or of designating a driver; but I was never taught about the dangers of choosing the wrong designated driver! I want your readers to ask themselves this question: If someone is offering to be my designated driver, why are they offering? Is it because they don't drink? Is it because they believe in putting responsibility before fun? Or is it because they are hoping to have an advantage being the only sober person among the drunk people? I got lucky that night and managed to escape; but I can only imagine what might have happened if those police officers hadn't happened along.
Erin (Go Bragh)
Your story is a sobering one (no pun intended) and offers a lesson that could only have been learned through experience. Although most people who offer to be the designated driver do so with a pure heart, there are some who do it in order to take advantage of drunken revelers. The lesson you learned was an important one: that just because someone is friends with a friend does not mean that they will be a friend to you!
To my Irish readers, I wish you a happy, healthy, and blessed St. Patrick's Day! To all who plan to go out and celebrate the holiday, I wish you a safe and healthy evening; and remember: If you are going to drink, don't drive! If you are going to drive, don't drink!
P.S. to Mr. and Mrs. J.J.D. of Colorado: A very happy 5th anniversary to you!! May Irish eyes continue to smile upon you!
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