I was driving my school bus this morning, East on 500 North between S.R. 149 and 250 West. The sun in the morning can be downright blinding even with tinted glasses, tinted windows and a pull down visor.
More than blinding, it's extremely dangerous.
There is a woman that jogs along those roads in the morning. I once stopped my bus since there was no traffic, and opened my door to tell her how hard it was to see her in case she didn't realize the potential for hazard that could turn deadly if drivers are distracted by the intense sun in their eyes.
That being said, there's a story of a local Valparaiso, Indiana family, who while living in Floral City, Florida, lost their eight-year-old son when a neighbor rounded a corner and hit the boy as he was walking to the bus stop, stooped down stuffing his prized, over sized dinosaur book that his Grandma had given him into his backpack. The intense morning Florida sun was in the driver's eyes.
His Name Was Sean Ryan Sullivan
[Ryan is pictured above, below and further below with his Mom and Dad]
Nina Works, the neighbor who hit Ryan called the Sullivans Tuesday night at their home and spoke with Carmen Sullivan's husband, Sean. Works feels horrible about what happened, Carmen Sullivan said.
"She's going to have to live with that for the rest of her life --that she killed a little boy," she said. "I know she's an emotional wreck right now. I can't imagine what she feels like. I don't know which one of us is worse off."
This is what I want everyone, from bus drivers, to people on their way to work, to people walking, running or biking along roadways in the early morning hours to think about each day.
Think about the impulsive young kids waiting at bus stops, maybe in a panic because they think they have or will miss the bus.
This sweet little boy was my little boy, our family's little boy. Ryan is the son of my niece Carmen Rue Sullivan, the grandson of my brother, Tim Rue. He was a smart and inquisitive little boy who loved computers and dinosaurs. We still miss him.
Last year in the early days of the school year, I drove a Ben Franklin Middle School shuttle of kids to Rogers Lakewood Park to run the cross country course. While I was there, I remembered the tree that was planted in Ryan's memory.
Many thanks to the folks in Valparaiso who pulled together that memorial tribute for our family. Grandmas and Grandpas and Auntie M gathered together to plant that tree, sing songs and pray. We are still touched by your thoughtfulness and caring these many years after the accident.
I had just purchased my first point and click camera so I wandered over to where the seedling we planted in Ryan's memory was growing tall. I uploaded the video to Facebook so that Carmen and Sean, still living in their same residence in Floral City could see how their little boy's tree is growing tall.
WATCH AND LISTEN:
Life is so incredibly hectic these days. I know when driving my bus it is so easy to get distracted by a thought of something I need to do, want to do. So many thoughts can be easily entertained while driving. Let's all try to do a better job out there of driving safely, maintaining focus, and let the sun in our eyes remind us through the memory of Sean Ryan Sullivan to use extra care on the roads and highways in the early morning hours especially.
On Ryan's Dad's Facebook, Sean Sullivan says of this remembrance of his son, 'Ryan's Teacher asked his classmates to say one thing about him this was put into a Frame. This is very special to me.'
It has taken me a long time to be able to write this story. I've wanted to do it for some time now. It was hard to find the words. Please take these words and imagines with you as you drive, in the morning and always.
Scan The Horizon
Slow Down For Hazards
Look Out For The Unexpected
Thank you for taking the time to read this. May God bless.