Sunday September 03, 2017
A drunk driver apologizes to the family of the person he killed
more stories from this episode
- Why do Canadians apologize so much?
- The perfect personal apology letter — for a price
- A drunk driver apologizes to the family of the person he killed
- Saying sorry with stuff: One website tries to make reparations to people of colour
- The complicated cost of apologizing for residential schools
- Should more governments apologize for the 60s Scoop?
- How to apologize well and avoid apologizing badly
- Full Episode
Renée Napier's daughter Meagan died in 2002 after her car was hit by a drunk driver. At first, Renée felt only anger toward the young man driving that car. She asked herself, "Why did he live, and my daughter die?"
Eric Smallridge is the name of that man. In 2003 he was sentenced to 22 years in prison on two counts of DUI manslaughter for killing both Renée's daughter Meagan and the other young woman in the car, Lisa Dickson.
Through all of this, the last thing Renée expected was to become friends with the man who killed her daughter.
Eric first said "I'm sorry" to Renée in an apology letter that he wrote before he was sentenced. Then, he apologized in person at the sentencing hearing.
Those two apologies lead to a remarkable relationship between Eric and Renée.
"The words 'I'm sorry' are kind of like the door that opens … that door to healing," said Renée.
"If people want to find healing and If we want to stop violence, I think that people need to sit down, and a person needs to say 'I'm sorry', and then a person needs to say 'I forgive you'."
This story originally aired on January 15, 2017