October 4, 2016
By , auburn, NY

I awoke to my phone buzzing. Multiple texts flashed across my screen. The text were from my co-workers. We worked at a small ice cream shop on the lake called Tom Thumb. They had said, “That’s it. We’re having a meeting at Tom Thumb tonight at nine.” We were all sick of how unorganized everything had been lately. We spend most of our days at this quaint little ice cream shop during the summer. You get to work with your friends and it can be an awesome experience. But lately, we had been dreading work and everyone had a short temper. We had decided, we needed to make a change.

At 8:45, some of my closest co-workers and I made our way to Tom Thumb. We were actually really excited to be making some changes. As we arrive at our workplace, we were greeted by a full parking lot, and a lively crowd inside. As routine, the first thing we did was go behind the counter and scoop ourselves some ice cream. As I’m scooping my second scoop of my favorite ice cream into my little styrofoam dish, I heard an abrupt, and paralyzing noise. No one could figure out what it was. Was it a gunshot? Did something fall? My brain was racing through possibilities- but my question was answered when i heard a woman scream, “Call 911! There’s been an accident!” in a shrill and scared voice. Before she could even finish her sentence, The crowded shop cleared in seconds. Everyone had ran outside to see what happened. My co-worker, and friend of 4 years was ahead of everyone. She got to the scene first. As she discovered the car, she ripped open the mangled driver seat door, and pulled the weak body from the shattered, ruined car. Her struggling was apparent and others came running to help. I watched this through the old glass windows that sat directly across the street from the scene. I am terrified of ambulances so i stayed at the shop with my old frail boss. I stayed on the phone with my co-workers the whole night as I sat inside the familiar and weirdly comforting place. The police had told us that we were not allowed to leave the scene and I was not allowed to enter. But the moment that hit hardest had not approached yet. After not speaking for nearly 10 minutes, I heard a voice through the phone. The most saddening tone I have ever encountered spoke these few words, “It was Chloe…”.

Chloe had attended high school with the rest of us, and was even a great friend to many of our workers. As my friends were released from the scene, they came back into Tom Thumb, a happy safe place for most of us, and we sat there in numbness. We were still in shock. How could she be gone? She was sitting right here eating ice cream and smiling not even an hour ago. We sat together at the little round tables in confusion for hours.

The next morning the news was released. What we did not know the previous night was that the driver that hit Chloe was drunk. We had witnessed a drunk driving accident that occurred in the same exact spot where my boss’s wife died from a drunk driving accident many years ago. Many of my co-workers vowed they would never step foot in our workplace again. Still today, some still won’t even drive on the road.

The impact of this event will live on forever. Drunk driving is a serious issue that needs to be addressed more frequently, and when it is addressed, it needs to be more harsh. Our society as a whole needs to create stricter laws prohibiting drunk driving. This tragedy impacted everyone in our little community. Chloe was someone’s daughter, sister, best friend, cousin, etc. Innocent lives should not be taken because of individuals careless behavior.

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