Like most of the people near the Sutherland Hotel on Main Street today I was consumed by the sadness and grief at the death of 23-year-old Cody Severight.
My friend Gerrie and I had just left Neechi’s when Cody’s father, Artie, introduced himself to us. It was a beautiful fall day and he said that his son “had sent the sunshine.”
Two days after the incident, The Winnipeg Police Service have not officially called Cody’s case a hit and run. They didn’t call it a stay and help either. That would be because the driver left the scene of the accident.
I can just hear the defense attorney already. Cody was wearing dark clothes. He was jaywalking. Maybe that is true. But that is not the story.
The real story is the senseless loss of a young person and how he was left to die. The real story is the painful wail of sorrow as Artie sang three songs in honour of his son. The real story is the loss his family and friends will feel forever.
The Artie that Gerrie and I met was still in shock. He was trying to come to terms with a reality no one wanted to accept. “He is gone,” said Artie.
When Gerrie told Artie how sorry she was to learn of his pain, you could tell she meant it with every fiber of her being. And he got it. I hope he knew I shared her intention.
Not only had Artie offered us the gift of his songs but after the handshakes and hugs he gave tobacco to be used in a ceremony. He asked for nothing but moments of friendship.
I have a bit of an attitude problem when it comes to drunk drivers. To me they are terrorists with no respect for human life.
The lawyer-coached apologies that will undoubtedly flow from the alleged criminal’s mouth will be useless without restitution. Those close to Cody may choose to forgive.
Personally, I hope that besides a lengthy prison sentence, a discerning judge orders the alleged killer to thousands of hours of community service on the street where his crime occurred.
I also have a bit of problem with people who let intoxicated people leave their establishment and get behind the wheel. Same for the bystanders who don’t take the keys away from someone who could be over the limit. If this is what happened in this case, how can those people live with themselves? Unlike Cody they will live. And they will need help to make amends.
Gerrie and I also witnessed the best of humanity on Main Street. An elderly person had collapsed and a man who came along not only called for help but held the senior’s hand.
He followed a dispatcher’s advice and turned the person on their side. And all during the wait for the ambulance he never stopped holding that hand. We should all be that kind stranger.
Rest in peace Cody, may your light shine and may we be better people because you walked this earth.