I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City NewsPress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Safe Ride”.
Last Friday night I had the opportunity to participate in one of the great things that is happening in our small town, I got to drive the Safe Ride Shuttle. It was great.
If you are unaware of the Safe Ride Shuttle let me tell you about it. It’s a free service that will ensure you have a safe ride to and from the nightlife in Nebraska City. All you have to do is call, or text, (there’s even an android app) and if you are within about 3 miles of downtown, one of the volunteer drivers will come pick you up, dropping you off at the destination of your choice. They’ll even take you to your friend’s house.
This was the brain child of Frank Trombino and Travis Gillespie. After some fits and starts they finally have all the permits and insurance they need to make sure every Friday and Saturday night from 8 PM-2 AM someone can fire up that old Chevy van (with the flashing light on top and all the logos) and make our streets are safer.
You’re probably thinking, why would a pastor and a father of two want to associate himself with the kind of people that wouldn’t be able to drive themselves home from a night out? I would remind you of that old adage about what happens when you assume.
I’m driving tonight. #saferideshuttle #innecity #whatpastorsdo
All of the people that have taken the shuttle, when I’ve been on it, have made the smart choice to be safe. I can relate to being out too late, having a little too much fun, and I’m thankful that in Nebraska City no matter what your choices look like at the bar, you can make the right choice to get home safe. With companies and advocacy groups spending millions and millions of dollars to encourage safe choices and designated drivers, it only makes sense that we encourage and support things like this project.
One of the things I love about it, is Frank and Travis saw a problem, the streets weren’t safe, and people were going to jail. They saw a way to help people not end their night in tragedy or a jail cell and jumped at the chance to help out. They have received support from individuals, restaurants, and local businesses. It’s us, once again, coming together to make life safer.
I’ve taken one training ride, shadowing a driver, and I’ve been the driver once and what I can tell you of the folks that take the shuttle is that they are just like you and me. Some were celebrating birthdays, some were enjoying the Apple Jack festivities, some just were curious about what the shuttle was all about. All were appreciative, courteous, and kind.
In our short rides, I’ve had conversations gushing over kids, praising parents, excited about new opportunities, the Huskers, and just about anything else you can imagine. We even had one customer who wanted to ride around and offered to let us take everyone else home first even though he was first in line. I’m getting a little old to stay up that late but my experiences have been more than worth it.
One other obvious benefit, to me and to our town is that there are fewer people trying to drive home after a night out. It makes the roads that much safer, and according to reports DUIs are down about 30% since the Safe Ride Shuttle’s inception. Especially during events like Apple Jack where there are great events downtown and there are a lot of people here, it’s a wonderful option to keep cars off the streets and people safer.
It’s another way, that we, in Nebraska City, can look out for one another making sure we all get home safe, so we can continue to work together to make our town the best it can be. So next time you plan to go out on a Friday or Saturday night give the Safe Ride Shuttle a call (402) 873-7113 and see what it’s all about.
One more thing…don’t forget to tip your driver.
At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here’s my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.
Favorite: All the people descending on our town to celebrate Apple Jack, the parade, and apple doughnuts.
Not Favorite: Traffic associated with all those people.