+
Well Being

Mom calls out 'dirtbag drivers' like her son after he killed five people drunk driving

drunk drivers, you choose, melissa macguinness

Mother speaks out about drunk driving.

This article originally appeared on September 13, 2019


Losing a child is a pain that many of us simply cannot comprehend. Given how much mothers and fathers love their sons and daughters, we can only begin to imagine how much pain they would feel when something terrible happens to their children. But for Melissa Hayes-McGuinness, a mom from Australia, the pain is even greater.

Her son, Jordan, died in a car crash in December 2012 at the age of 18. As did five other people who were unfortunate enough to cross Jordan when he was drink and drug driving at high speeds down a Gold Coast highway following a Christmas party. The five victims were sitting in a broken-down car waiting for help when Jordan collided with them at speeds of up to 87 miles per hour.

The sheer force of the crash caused the parked car to burst into flames. The only survivor was the 16-year-old driver of the parked car, who had to climb over his friends to escape the burning vehicle and suffered from severe burns and a head injury that still affects his memory to this day.

Among those killed in the parked car were a 20 and 23-year-old, their 15-month-old girl was orphaned. The other victims were 16, 17, and 18.


SOURCE: YOU CHOOSE / MELISSA MCGUINNESS

As you can imagine, Melissa has to deal with unimaginable grief on a daily basis. Not only for her son, but for those he killed, and those they left behind. But thankfully, Melissa has found a way to channel that grief positively. Every year, she travels across Australia speaking to teenagers about road safety. As part of her talks, she reads an incredibly powerful speech which she calls "Jordan's confession."

Her speech reads, in part:

"I would give anything that night to have just hit a tree and not left this horrendous legacy," Melissa begins. "Those kids didn't deserve what happened to them. In truth, I guess I did."

"I screwed up and paid the ultimate price. What I did was unforgivable," McGuinness continues, speaking on behalf of her son and addressing the orphaned girl, "I'm the reason you'll never see your mummy and daddy [again]."

Throughout the speech, Melissa shows photos of her son, including on his last day of school. Then, the photos changed to a news clip of the accident, showing blue flashing lights and twisted metal.

"Jordan was smart. Jordan was funny. Jordan was a great person, but none of that means anything now. None of it," McGuinness continues to tell the teenagers sitting in silence before her, many of whom are usually crying at this point.

"That's because he defined himself by his choices that night. He shaped a terrible and permanent legacy for himself, his family and his victims' families because he chose to drink, smoke [marijuana] and speed down that highway."

"And everything he did before that just pales in comparison."

"As much as there are hundreds of reasons to be proud of Jordan... he died in shame," his mother tells them, "This is how he's going to be remembered. There's no getting around that.

"My husband and I did not raise him to think that drink or drug driving was acceptable behavior, yet I stand up here as the mother of a kid responsible for the death of four kids from drinking and drug driving."

"Think of all the good stuff that you've done. Think of all the effort you've put into your life. Think of all the effort people who have loved you put into your life. And imagine all of that being wiped out by one stupid choice. Because that's the brutal reality of what happens."

"I still love Jordan profoundly, I miss him terribly... but this can't be sugarcoated. He defined himself permanently by his actions that night.

"There are accidents and there are choices. Jordan didn't have an accident that night. That's what happened to his victims. Jordan made a choice."

SOURCE: YOU CHOOSE / MELISSA MCGUINNESS

Melissa affectionately calls the teenagers she's talking to, particularly boys, "dirtbags." Why? Because they often think they're "ten foot tall and bullet-proof."

Following the death of her son and his victims, Melissa started the You Choose - Youth Road Safety campaign. It teaches young drivers about the devastating, life-long consequences of being reckless behind the wheel.

Melissa knew that most teenagers won't learn anything through a lecture, so instead, she channels her own grief by telling her own story.

"I'm not lecturing them about right or wrong, I'm demonstrating through actual lived experience what it's like to be on the receiving-end of what I was," Melissa told Yahoo News.

"I show them a clip from Jordan's memorial ceremony and I ask them to imagine while they're watching it what it might be like if their family was in the same predicament that my family's [going through]."

"But pretty much just taking them on this entire grief journey from where it started—as the excited teenager about to start his life to the horrible accident through one stupid choice one night. Then what it looked like for everybody else involved."

"The thing with... Jordan is he's relatable because he's just like any other kid there that's sitting in that auditorium... and I'm also relatable as the mum."

"[Through Jordan they're shown] this great kid that made this one stupid choice that could be any of those kids. Any of them."

Melissa says her talks are so powerful because she's the "perpetrator's mother."

The guilt of her son's actions have weighed so heavily on Melissa that she often felt like she "didn't have a right to grieve her son".

"Those kids were innocent kids, they were doing nothing wrong and my son behaved 100 percent irresponsibly and was completely responsible for their deaths."

SOURCE: YOU CHOOSE / MELISSA MCGUINNESS

Each time Melissa talks to a group of kids, it gets a little easier for her. It gets easier to watch footage from the crash, and somehow, it gets easier to watch footage of Jordan's then 10-year-old sister breaking down at the memorial service.

But one thing doesn't change. The reaction from the kids she's speaking to. Melissa says that no matter the type of school or the age of the kids, with very little encouragement, the kids always swarm her with hugs at the end of her speech. In most instances, she says, the instigator is usually the "biggest dirtbag in the room"

"I have a remarkable story to tell. It's the worst story. And I feel really compelled to share that with teenage kids," she told 9now.

"This is what is left behind: Here is the mum that has to attend your funeral, has to pick up the pieces. That car can become your own coffin."

Joy

28-year-old buys cruise ship apartment because it's less than renting and he can see the world

An all-expenses-paid life for about $50,000 a year? Sounds like a deal.

A cruise ship floating on azure waters.

Living the rest of your life on a cruise ship seems like the dream of the ultra-rich. You wake up every morning and have an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool or touring a fantastic city such as Rome or Dubrovnik.

At night, have a drink in the lounge watching a comedian or a jazz band, then hit the sack and do it all over again the next day. Seems too good to be true for the average person, right? Think again.

Twenty-eight-year-old Austin Wells of San Diego told CNBC that he can make it happen because it’s cheaper than living onshore in Southern California and he gets to see the world. “The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” Wells told CNBC.

Keep ReadingShow less
Humor

Mom tells 9-year-old daughter to 'smile more' for school show and instantly regretted it

'Afterward, I regrettably said the one thing that no female *ever* wants to hear. "Try to smile more."'

Anniesgotabun Tiktok screenshots

Mom tells her daughter to smile more and instantly regrets it.

There is one request that unites all women and girls no matter their political affiliation or socioeconomic status, and that's telling them to smile when they're just minding their business. Think of it like a fairly universal "don't" when interacting with women, unless you're a photographer hired to take their photo.

A mom on TikTok found herself reaping the consequences of telling her 9-year-old daughter to smile when she was rehearsing a performance for her school. To say her daughter was not amused would be an understatement. The mom, whose TikTok name is Anniesgotabun, shared a video before and after her daughter's performance.

The caption of the video read "mistakes were made" complete with the facepalm emoji and the hastag #parentingfail. In the first part of the video you can clearly see her daughter going through the motions of the musical production looking unenthusiastic. The mom explains her error via text overlay explaining "my daughter had her final rehearsal for the school musical yesterday."

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?

Keep ReadingShow less
Heroes

This woman's nose could be the key to spotting Parkinson's early.

"Milne realized she could, in essence, smell Parkinson's disease."

Photo created from Pixabay

Smell could be a key identifier of Parkinson

This article originally appeared on 12.19.17


A woman's incredible nose might help scientists detect Parkinson's earlier than ever.

Joy Milne says she was living in Perth, Scotland, with her husband Les, when she noticed that he smelled different. Milne would later describe to the BBC as a kind of heavy, musky smell. The change was subtle, but it was there none-the-less. Milne says that at the time, she nagged Les a bit about missing showers, but didn't think much more of it.

Six years later, Les was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disease that attacks brain cells, causing tremors and other mobility issues. In the United States, about one million Americans live with the disease. There are therapies that can help with the symptoms, but no cure.

Keep ReadingShow less

New Zealand prime minister's hot mic insult helped raise $100,000.

Not every moment is our best and sometimes those not-so-great moments are caught on tape or, in Jacinda Ardern's case, over a hot mic. Ardern is the prime minister of New Zealand and recently, during a parliamentary debate, she was feeling a bit frustrated with a colleague, ACT leader David Seymour. During the exchange, Ardern turned to her deputy and muttered "arrogant prick," referencing Seymour, who was apparently on the prime minister's last nerve.

The problem was, her mic was still on and picked up the hushed insult so others could hear. Probably not her proudest moment but, to be fair, they were discussing really heavy stuff like hate-speech and immigration. She didn't let the comment hang in the air, according to RNZ. Seymour told reporters that the prime minister texted him shortly afterward to apologize.

Later, the two were photographed holding a framed copy of the parliamentary debate where the insult was hurled. Turns out they've used the moment to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation by allowing people to bid on the framed debate via Trade Me.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Milk Chan on Unsplash

A study examined the motivations people have for lying.

The ethics of honesty are always interesting to explore. Most of us agree that being honest is morally good, but is it important to always tell the truth, no matter what? What if the truth will only hurt someone's feelings? Is it always wrong to lie? What if a lie will save someone's life? Is there a moral difference between stretching the truth and completely demolishing it? Does it depend on why people are doing it?

The reasons people lie are many and varied, of course. But new research gives us some insights into the most common motivations for lying, and surprisingly, the findings are actually pretty heartwarming.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science in October 2022 looked at the link between personality and lying motivation, as well as the most common reasons people lie. In the study, a group of 257 people were questioned about their lying frequency, lying motivations and personality traits (using the HEXACO Personality Inventory, which measures honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience).

Keep ReadingShow less