Editor’s note: The author titled this “My Last Day on Earth by the Late Michael David Allanson, Forever 14.” He was her son.
I never thought that today would be my last day on earth. I woke up feeling the wet tongue of a puppy licking my eyelids. It startled me at first, then I remembered my dad bought me a new beagle puppy that I called Copper.
The school year has just started for me. I was excited to be in ninth grade. I got to ride my bike to school now. I got a job in the school cafeteria. It will be cool to get a paycheck. I can save some money so I can fix up my bike.
I love working on bikes, skateboards and motorized skateboards. I want mine to be different from others, faster and to look amazing.
Bad news recently hit my family as my older sister, Jenn, was in a rollover crash on her way home from Mexico. My mom and dad are very upset. My mom has taken me to see her in the hospital a few times. She broke many bones and she had bleeding in her brain.
When she came home from the hospital, they gave her a wheelchair because she can’t walk. She sleeps a lot because of the pain medicine.
My sister and I decided we could watch a movie together, so I rode my motorized scooter over to my mom’s house from my dad’s house. It is only a few miles apart.
I got there fairly fast. I always wear my helmet and sunglasses because I don’t want to get pulled over. It is a law in our city. I don’t need to get in trouble.
We watched the movie and of course, my sister fell asleep. I got up to leave. For some reason, I felt the need to give my sister a hug.
I looked up and saw my mom smiling. She liked it when we got along. My mom had friends over to play computer games. She asked me if I wanted to stay as she was going to order pizza, but I told her I needed to get back to dad’s house to feed my new puppy. I also needed to ride my scooter before dark. I love pizza but I have a little puppy that needs me.
I headed out on my motorized scooter. When I stop, the motor stops. I just rebuilt the engine on this scooter, and it is running pretty well. Makes me feel proud of myself for fixing it up.
It didn’t even run when I got it from my friend. When I got to the intersection of McKellips Road and 64th Street in Mesa, my light was red. I pulled up to the side of a large SUV. I stared at my light until I saw the light turn to green.
As I pulled forward, I got a nod from the SUV driver as they were going to turn right and indicated that they would wait for me to go first. I took off in the proper crosswalk and wham, out of nowhere a car hit me.
It was a big old white Buick. I screamed out in pain as I flew up in the air. My scooter shattered into pieces and I fell down hard to the burning hot asphalt. Immediately, I saw a white light. It was warm and calming. I followed it to a more peaceful place.
Looking down from my new heavenly home, I saw my next-door neighbor run to my body. She was screaming my name. I saw her kids stay in their car. They were crying.
An off- duty police officer came and took my pulse. I didn’t have one. A few people called 911.
An ambulance, police and a fire truck came. Paramedics began to work on me. My neighbor drove off to tell my mom what happened.
I realized that I was hit and killed by an elderly man who ran a red light.
My life was over just like that.
In my new realm, I could see things in many places. I watched as my neighbor knocked on my mom’s front door. Her twin daughters were crying hysterically. My mom opened the door and they all told her at once that I had been hit by a car.
My mom looked over to my sister and said, “You will have to move over as your brother probably broke his leg too.” My neighbor looked at my mom’s boyfriend and shook her head.
They pretty much knew I was dead but didn’t want to say it out loud. My mom asked our neighbor to take her to the scene of the crash.
My mom got out of the car at the intersection and ran toward the crash scene. A police officer stopped her. She wanted to see me, but they wouldn’t let her.
I was bleeding badly out of my head. My heart had stopped. Many of my organs were damaged. They worked on me for a long time but couldn’t do much.
The police officer told my mom that a helicopter was standing by and would take me to the hospital, but they needed to get me stable. I never got stabilized.
Two men walked over to my mom who was sitting on the curb by the road and they told her that they couldn’t save me. My mom had an oxygen clip on her nose as they had thought she was going into shock.
She said the words out loud to her boyfriend. “They couldn’t save him.” Her voice quivered.
I saw my mom dialing her cell phone to call my dad. He was at work. She was put on hold. Her hands were shaking. My dad got on the phone. She told him that I was hit by a car and they couldn’t save me.
I heard my dad yelling out on the phone, “NO, NO, NO.” My mom was paralyzed with grief.
My dad also came to the scene. He was terribly upset.
My mom realized it had gotten dark by that time. The flashing of all the emergency lights were everywhere. She asked to go home. She knew she had to tell my sister what happened.
They got to the house and my mom ran to my sister to tell her. They cried and hugged even though my sister was cringing in pain because hugging hurt her broken ribs.
Shortly afterward, my dad, my grandparents, old neighbors and the fire department showed up at my mom’s house.
The social worker for the fire department was the mom of one of my best friends.
I saw her crying. I spent the night at their house many times. She was a cool lady and I felt bad that she was so devastated by my death.
I watched as people made phone calls. Crying and sobbing were all around. My grandfather, who is normally a very strong man, was laying on the floor sobbing.
One tragic mistake from a driver who neglected to stop at a red light devastated many lives that day, especially mine.
I will never get to graduate high school, go to college, get married or have children of my own.
He took away my future. He broke the hearts of my family and friends.
Please, if you are reading my story, “STOP ON RED!”
- Barbara Hoffman is executive director of Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance, redmeansstop.org.