Luciano Sabatini is the author of Bereavement Counseling in the School Setting. Today his post on luck references a good Samaritan who made a difference in his life:
An Incident of Peer Pressure
by Luciano Sabatini
I spent most of my formative years growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens. In the late 50’s and 60’s, my neighborhood consisted of white working class ethnic families and some first generation Chinese families. The attached brick homes gave the block a communal feel since very little distance separated families. Our block was teeming with school age baby boomers. My best friend Ronnie lived directly across the street from me. He was two years older than me and I looked up to him. Ronnie was a rabid New York sports fan and knew all the players on the Yankees, Giants and Rangers. He was also a good stickball player and when choosing teams, he was always among the first to be selected while I was among the last. Summer camps were not popular then so there were always plenty of players to be found for our stickball games, which we played religiously during the long, hot days of summer
As we became adolescents, a darker side of Ronnie began to emerge. He was not very motivated and barely got through high school. He did not like to work either, and screaming matches with his parents could be easily heard half way down the block. Most alarming, he became involved in drugs. He started with pot and then progressed to LSD and then heroin.
While many kids on the block grew up and went their separate ways, I maintained a relationship with Ronnie. We would often listen to music in his basement or watch the baseball game. While I did smoke pot with Ronnie, I refrained from using the harder drugs, which he eventually became addicted to. We smoked pot at night in the parks or the alleyways of Jackson Heights.
Near the end of my college career, I obtained my driver’s license. Ronnie was thrilled because he saw this as an opportunity to smoke pot in the confines of a car rather than walk the streets at night. I was not thrilled with this idea because it was a family car used by three members of my family. Nonetheless, part of me still looked up to him and I went along with it.
During one cold evening before Christmas, Ronnie had hashish with him and wanted me to try it. I borrowed my family car and drove down a dark secluded street consisting of warehouses and other commercial properties. I parked the car and we began smoking the hashish. As we were getting stoned, a police car appeared in my rear window. Ronnie and I quickly threw confiscated the hashish and tried to air out the car. A police officer came to my window and wanted to know what we were doing. Someone from the community called complaining of a suspicious car parked by a commercial establishment. My high quickly vanished as I tried to give some lame explanation, which I do not even remember. He took my drivers license and returned to his car.
The next ten minutes seemed like an eternity. Since I was a new driver on probation, I feared losing my license. I was getting married in eight months. How do I explain this to my fiancé and our families? How would I ever get a teaching job with an arrest record? I had jeopardized my entire future by this stupid, moronic act. I had never felt such fear, terror and anxiety as I did those ten minutes. He finally walked to my car and returned my license. He said, “I am going to let you go this time. I hope you learned your lesson. Merry Christmas.” What an incredible feeling of relief! I thanked the police officer profusely and felt that this good Samaritan had saved me from a life-changing mistake. I certainly did learn a valuable lesson. – Luciano Sabatini
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