By Gary Shelton
Your daughter and all her best friends are buzzing with excitement as they get their nails done, get their hair fixed, get professional makeovers and then slip into a beautiful evening gown. It’s prom day!
The biggest event of their young lives thus far. You and other parents meet the girls and their dates at a scenic spot to snap numerous photos to help commit this day to memory. You swell with joy and pride as they head out to the big dance.
But your night is not over yet. You’re the cool parent who has agreed to let all the kids come back to your house for an after-prom party in your backyard. You go to the liquor store and purchase a keg of beer while your wife is busy at home making snacks for the party and whipping up some jello shots to put in the freezer.
READY TO PARTY
The sound system is all wired for the music in the backyard. All the kids are so appreciative of you letting them party and have a good time in a controlled environment. This is going to be a night that you, your precious daughter and all her friends will remember forever.
The kids start showing up about 11. By midnight you have 80-100 high school kids laughing, dancing, and having the time of their lives in your backyard. The party carries on until about 2:30 in the morning. You and your wife finally get to bed about 3:00 for some much-needed sleep. It has been a fantastic, yet exhausting day.
The next thing you know, you are awoken from a deep sleep at 7:00 in the morning to the sound of your daughter screaming and crying frantically. You are still half asleep and trying to make out what she is trying to tell you. When you finally make sense of it, you become painfully aware that one of her best friends was tragically killed in an automobile accident. She was on her way home from your party.
Toxicology reports show that she was drunk. You are now sickened and scared. This magical night has now become a nightmare. A night that you, your precious daughter and all her friends will remember forever, but not because of the reasons that you originally thought.
Serving alcohol to minors does not make you cool. It is against the law. It is a big deal and it can come with tremendous consequences.
In my story above, the parents of the dead girl, who once were your friends, have now filed a civil lawsuit against you seeking a seven-figure settlement. The local law enforcement agency arrests you and your wife. Felony manslaughter charges are filed against you both.
The photos that you now own to commemorate this special night are mug shots. You lose everything you own paying an attorney $500 an hour to try and keep you and your wife out of prison. You’re now thinking “how could I have been so stupid?” The rest of us were thinking that all along.
Graduation is approaching. There are parents in our community who will want to be the cool parent. Please pray that my story above is not a prophetic one.
Gary Shelton is co-owner of Wesco Insurance Agency in Yukon.