I had just turned 16 years old, the legal age to drive. Periodically, I’d ask to drive my parent’s car. Sometimes permission was granted. Other times not.
One day, a friend of mind, named Mike, came running to me! He said, “Poo (my childhood nickname), if you’re up to it, you can drive my aunt’s car! I’m not of age to drive, but she said you can drive!”
When Mike said this, I was a little skeptical, but took Mike at his word. I, and 3 other teenage boys began joyriding. After a while (2 – 3 hours), we came back to the neighborhood. Parked the car. Then, we all went to our respective homes for the night.
About 30 minutes later, I heard some ruckus outside! I looked out my window and saw a bevy of police cars. They had surrounded the car I just drove. Later, I find out that car had been stolen!!! OMG!!!
(When I learned this, my so-called friendship with Mike immediately ended!)
The police towed the car away, and never caught Mike. No one spoke up due to fear of repercussion! Just think, had I been caught driving that stolen car, my life may have been forever changed!
The biggest lesson I learned was how to use the word “NO”! At the time Mike asked me to drive, it didn’t sound right. Something in my gut didn’t feel good. Yet, I went on to drive the car anyway.
Had I just said, “HECK NO”, I would’ve avoided this serious life-altering risk!
Because of this experience, I included the following quote in my book: “NO: it’s a very important word. It protects you from trouble. It is used by independent, strong-minded individuals when necessary.”