A 9-year-old girl walked into a bank in Michigan the other day with a note. No, not that kind of note (although bankers are on high alert for stick up notes in this economy). This little girl's note said her mom was way too drunk to drive, and the way she saw it, she should not get inside the car. She wanted the tellers to help, and they swung right into action. Cops were called.
Mom Latanya Evans was arrested. She's getting my vote for crappiest mom of the week. But can we talk about this kid here? This amazing, brave, absolutely awesome kid.
By refusing to get into a car and telling an adult on her own mother, this 9-year-old girl potentially saved her life, her mom's life, and the life of some nameless victim of drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 10,839 people die in drunk-driving crashes each year (that's one every 50 minutes), but because Evans' daughter spoke up, she may have cut three off that list.
Telling on adults is tough. Whether it's Joe Blow the drunk from the down the block or a stranger. But kids are raised from day one to respect their own parents, to listen to them, and to do what we say. Saying "no" to her mother and not getting in the car meant going against everything a kid is taught.
Children of alcoholics have it tough. They're highly likely to have been victims of abuse or neglect at some point. They're typically anxious, afraid, embarrassed, and confused. They see their parents as authority figures, but as they age, they begin to realize that "authority" is not modeling good behavior. In the case of Evans, she'd already lost her license twice for drunk driving. She has a drinking problem.
And her little girl knew what the consequences of speaking up would be: that her mom would get in trouble with the law, that someone would stop her from driving away, that her mom would potentially be very, very angry with her. The fact that this kid spoke up anyway is great news. It means she may be able to break the cycle of alcoholism that runs in families (children of alcoholics are four times more likely than their peers to become one too, more likely to abuse drugs and engage in risky behaviors in the teen years).
Latanya Evans has done some really crappy stuff, but she's raised a good kid anyway. What do you think of what this girl did?
Image via Patricia Drury/Flickr