My Story

victor_smHi my name is Victor S. Grewal and I am here to tell all of you why all of us should always decide to NOT drink and drive. I hope to do this by sharing my story with all of you of how a person who was drunk and on drugs turned my family’s life upside down. I must tell all of you that I was left with a brain injured in this terrible crash so in case I start to laugh it is not because there is anything funny but just because of this brain injury that causes me to laugh at irregular times.

Having said that, I will start out with the year 1982 of when I was only five years old and my brother was seven years old. Both of us went to school Monday through Friday. Our dad went to his dream job that he studied so hard for and loved so much. He started out at a company called WWW. Grainger while studying in his masters program to get his Business Administration degree at Chicago University.

After he graduated he was promoted to Personnel Officer. Finally after a few years, he got to where he wanted to be which was Operational Supervisor ! He was in charge of hiring and firing employees and made sure his department was running smoothly and functioning properly. He was in charge of 22 people. It took him a lot of hard work to get to this position in the company. My mom took care of household duties as she was a housewife.

Our parents used to play with us outside in the yard and in the parks that were close to our house. We had a great family life. I was the top student in my first grade class and my teacher thought I would turn out to be a doctor or a lawyer. I had tons of friends as well, whom I used to play with.

But then on March 28, 1982 one drunk driver took all of the happiness in my life away from me and my family. At six PM all of us wanted to go out for a drive in our 1980 Ford Pinto. It was a small car that sat 4 people. All of us went to K-mart and my brother and I ran around the store and my parents bought some stuff for the house. Afterwards we went for a beautiful evening drive that ended up to be the darkest, scariest, and ugliest night of our life. I was seated behind my dad who was driving the car, my brother was seated behind my mom who was the passenger in the front seat. All of us were enjoying the car ride. My dad was whistling a tune as he loved to whistle, my mom was smiling, and my brother and I were happily eating cookies that our parents bought for us from K-mart.

At 7:30 PM a drunk driver who was also high on drugs failed to stop at a stop sign crashed into my family’s car. Out of the four of us my dad and I were the ones who received the most severe injuries. My dad ended up paralyzed and could no longer walk for the rest of his life. He spent 1 year in the rehab. I, the baby in the family ended up with a severe brain injury. I spent 2 months in coma, and 7 months in the rehab. My life was taken from perfectly happy to terribly miserable in a wink of an eye. I was given physical and speech therapy for the rest of my life and still to this day, have problems walking, using my left hand, and speaking. I was placed in special education classes due to my short term memory deficit. I guess that makes becoming a doctor, lawyer or obtaining a higher level of education literally impossible to obtain. One subject in college takes me 7-9 hours to study for and to get a passing grade. Usually students will study for one or two hours to pass a test, or do homework. In my situation because of my short-term memory deficit, it takes me double or triple the time to complete assignments, or study for an upcoming exam. I had no friends after the crash as I was unable to walk, or run around at all.

My form of entertainment was to go for rides in my wheelchair that I had to nag my brother or mother to take me for. I missed out on having a “normal” childhood that other kids of my age were having. All I could do was watch them have all the fun as I looked out my bedroom window as they would be running around, going places, and doing things together.I can remember my dad (who passed away in 2005 of cancer of the stomach), tell me how much he wanted to play with my brother and I as all fathers like to. He also wanted to take a walk with his wife as all husbands like to.

Life was pretty much rearranged in a way that we did not want. We had to move to California because the weather in Missouri was either too cold or too hot for my dad, The house we bought prior to the crash was three stories high. We had to move to a one story house, build a specialized bathroom, have wheelchair ramps installed, and move to a place where the weather was neither too cold nor too hot where my dad could be independent. My dad also had to quit his dream job that took him so many years to get after all those years of hard studying because he could no longer walk, and had to go through so many medical procedures just to get out of bed. All of those procedures took him 3-5 hours to transfer to the wheelchair from the hospital bed, brush his teeth, shave, transfer to the toilet, transfer to the shower chair, and then finally return to his bed, exercise, eat breakfast, catheterize, and finally put on his clothes for the day. I had to learn how to adapt to a new way of living as well. I could not even earn a college degree due to my short term memory deficit. I did not have a “normal” childhood. Here are a few examples of how hard it is to live day after day with this brain injury that has to this day doctors have not been able to find a cure. Many times people ask me why my left hand keeps going toward my rear side. Sometimes people would walk past me and call me retarded. Many times people would ask me why can’t you remember what I just now told you. Sometimes people would make fun of the way I talk when my speech is not clear. The problems caused by this brain injury can go on forever and ever.

Do you want to cause anyone else any of the problems that my family had faced, or much more severe problems? If your answer is No, which I hope it is, then, please don’t drink and drive ever again. Call a cab, a friend, or find some other way to get home because my family did not make it back home in the same way we left due to a drunk driver who crashed into us. It would be a lot easier to find alternative transportation when you have drank an alcoholic beverage than having to give someone else or yourself all of these problems that I am living with today and have been living with since that Sunday of March 28, 1982.

Let’s all choose to let everyone have fewer problems rather than bigger problems and a much more complicated life. I hope you will always chose to NEVER drink and drive ever again.