It was Christmas 1991;
And due to overpopulation.
Santa Claus financed a car;
Cause his eight little reindeer couldn’t fly him that far.
So he loaded his presents in a 92’ Vette;
With his gas tank full he knew he was set.
He shot on the freeway doin’ One Hundred and nine;
With his RADAR detector he’d knew he’d be fine.
Little did he know, coming the other way;
Was a driver who’d been drinking for most of the day.
The driver swerved to left, he swerved to right;
Santa saw him coming, his heart filled with fright.
He slammed on the brakes, he jerked on the wheel;
But all that was heard was a thunderous squeal.
The cars hit head on, oh what a mess;
What happened to Santa I bet you can guess.
His body flew one way the presents another;
No one could identify him, not even his mother.
So if you’re now sad and wish Santa was alive;
Please during the holidays, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
Oh no! Not another “Don’t Drink and Drive” speech from another Chief during the holidays. What’s next, a briefing on safety?
I wrote this poem as High School senior with a friend of mine for the school newspaper. Drunk driving fatalities in our area were an epidemic. We had recently lost one of our classmates to a drunk driver and this was a hot topic at the time. And guess what? It still is.
However, I would like to change the narrative a little bit. I think the mantra over the last 25 years or so has been “Do not drink and drive”. We’ve heard “0-0-1-3.” We’ve heard, “Have a plan.” Recently we have heard, “Even if you had just one, don’t drive.” You’ve been told by your leadership, “Call me, call your supervisor, call AADD.” The military has tried to provide us with every tool imaginable to get folks not to drive under the influence of alcohol. Guess what? We are still doing it.
In my 23 years of service, I've seen more than 50 DUI cases. However, in all those cases I've heard the same excuse standing in front of the commander: “I thought I was good.”
After sitting in on an Article 15 proceeding with one of our Airmen, the Commander said, after the Airman left the room, "Well, I guess he wasn't fine!". That hit me. It resonated with me. If we have to ask ourselves, "Am I good to go?", then we are NOT. If your buddy says, "Hey, you sure you're good to drive?"... that in itself should tell you, you NOT. Why are we taking the chance? Why are we risking our careers, our lives and the lives of others?
If I have to ask myself or if someone else has to ask me if I am good, then the answer should be no. If you have to ask a friend if they are good, then answer is no.
Statistics prove that 99% of the military does not drink and drive. Be like the 99% that do not drink and drive. Be like the 99% that does not guess whether they are good or not, but passes their keys to a friend or makes that phone call to their back-up plan.
Be safe this holiday season. Keep Santa on the Road.
CMSgt Richie Bennet (Bolt Chief)
Superintendent, 374th Operation Support Squadron