He was a rambunctious five year old and it was a beautiful day in Milwaukee. His mother Valetta Bradford, a single-mom working as a manager in Corporate America was home after a long work day and just wanted to rest a while before preparing dinner. The park is across the street from the home Valetta owns. Her 13 year old daughter offers to take Xzavier to the school playground so mom can rest. This is a typical day for millions of us but this one in a million doesn’t end with dinner. Nobody made it to that dinner table because that dinner table never got set on October 10, 2010.
A distracted driver struck Xzavier within the confounds of the crosswalk in front of Lee Elementary. The children didn’t see her approaching because this driver crossed out of her own lane. The vehicle struck Xzavier and drug him off twenty feet from his older sister and ran over his small body with both sets of tires. He was ripped from his sister’s hand and the only thing that saved his life was the metal scooter he had slung over his shoulder because his mother taught him to carry it that way when crossing the street. She didn’t allow her son to ride the scooter in the street. The doctors would tell Valetta that evening that the scooter took most of the brunt of the impact of the force of this strike otherwise Xzavier would have died on impact.
Now the woman driving the vehicle was fined a little over a hundred and fifty dollars and this is the extent of her punishment. She got off so easy and Xzavier has to pay for the rest of his life and so does Valetta and so does that older sister and so does everyone in Xzavier’s family and so do I. I have never met Xzavier or Valetta but I saw their PSA on my TV one day in July of 2013 and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. I live in Texas and they live in Milwaukee and because of my own injuries from a distracted driver we are likely never to meet. This doesn’t stop me from getting involved and it shouldn’t stop you either. We can take their message
Xzavier’s injuries are so serious. He is paralyzed from the diaphragm down and he is trae-vented. He is confined to a wheelchair or bed and he remains on a respirator. He has partial use of his hands. He’s nine years old. He was injured at age five.
Not much has changed since the ‘It Can Wait’ campaign got underway and this is mainly because this campaign is organized by the very companies providing the mobile distractions. Valetta Bradford, Xzavier’s mom has turned herself into a Spokeswoman against Distracted Driving by holding her son up for all to see. She will never turn down a speaking engagement because Valetta has stated this work gives their existence meaning. It means something. Valetta has embraced all the changes necessary to keep her son at home, a very expensive and challenging endeavor considering that he is paralyzed from the diaphragm down, he has limited use of his hands, and he has to remain on a respirator that has to be monitored 24/7. Valetta’s career had to be sacrificed so that she could become Xzavier’s primary caregiver. Valetta and Xzavier grieve over the loss of his Personal Legend. Xzavier had dreams of becoming a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, Xzavier’s favorite team since he was three (or before then). I grieve for this too because we take football very seriously down here in Texas.
And there you have it in a nutshell. Xzavier was crossing the street but he didn’t make it to the other side because a callous woman was texting instead of watching the road and she crossed out of her own lane and she plowed over Xzavier with her very large vehicle. If not for the metal scooter, you would not be reading this article because statistics don’t have a voice. Xzavier didn’t make it to his destination but he survived. We have a world of drivers who need to pay attention to him.
The text that woman was sending read “I’m on my Way.”
Valetta invites all of you. She founded ‘the X-Man Foundation‘ to educate drivers to the dangers of distracted driving with an emphasis on texting. This is a grass roots project with the most powerful message available at this time. By holding Xzavier up for drivers to see how horrific their activities can become we can change the world one driver at a time. If you do not live near an Educator’s Credit Union you can still donate to the X-Man Foundation directly through Valetta Bradford’s personal email. Her address is firstname.lastname@example.org or on-line at this link;
The X-Man Foundation is a federally recognized non-profit run by Valetta and volunteers. 100% of your donation will go to the campaign
Valetta is able to take Xzavier with her and Katie Couric even got him to speak on camera. Valetta says that Xzavier is a chatter box until he is around new people but Katie is empathetic and wonderful and her works against Distracted Driving pre-date Xzavier’s injuries. It’s too bad that driver who attacked Xzavier hadn’t listened to Katie and that is the point of this article.
I strongly believe that we can hold up Xzavier to this great nation and to the world because the world is filled with horrible drivers. They really will give any ditz a driver’s license, and I should know. This article is written by an injured lady from Texas. My injuries are the opposite of Xzavier’s. I have bulging discs from the diaphragm up to my skull. It is a very painful existence I live without the aid of painkillers. Xzavier’s mom told me he has to take so many pills that it could choke a horse. How sad for a nine year old. I know a lot of you reading this article will want to help them if just to give Xzavier the best day he can possibly have. And what makes him the happiest is being with his mom in front of you wherever you will have him. He’s actually quite a social animal. I have pictures to prove it but go ahead and friend Valetta and view them from the source.
This is a grassroots campaign and we are real people. I hope you understand that. We give up our privacy and time to bring this message to you. ‘Don’t text for X’. Really, ‘Don’t text for X’. If you feel like you can’t wait to take that call the next time you are behind the wheel, take a moment instead to think about X. I honestly do not know how anyone can forget Xzavier if we can just get him out there for the national exposure he deserves. I write letters as often as my injuries allow to the President and to Talk Show hosts and to you. It is just a matter of time before this campaign is launched nationally. Your donation would mean a world of difference and will shorten the waiting period for the mother who waited through nine surgeries to see whether or not her son would survive and then Valetta had to endure the horrifying news of what shape her son would have to continue his life in. Do you really want this woman to wait a moment longer? It’s not like the woman who ran Xzavier over has stepped forward. In fact, she slinked away from that crosswalk and never once offered an apology or any assistance. Her only offer was the inadequate insurance that she carried. Valetta netted $25K dollars to care for her son in this condition for the rest of his life and his Personal Legend was sacrificed to that damnable text. Valetta used the insurance money to buy a second hand wheelchair accessible van which needs repairs and Xzavier hits his head on the ceiling coming and going and she replumbed her house to accommodate Xzavier’s bathing needs. Valetta had to install a wheelchair lift to her home. She struggles to keep all the medical supplies she needs to stock for Xzavier including this cream that paraplegics require so their skin won’t break down. We certainly don’t need to add a bedsore to Xzavier’s list of injuries.
I cannot imagine any excuse anyone could offer not to volunteer for this campaign. I cannot. We need office equipment, we need billboards, we need all manner of promotional tools, like business cards, stationary, stamps. We need volunteers. We need sponsors. This waiting period needs to end and the volunteers need to carry this family in pursuit of this campaign. If you want things to change, you have to change things.
After all, we are all connected through our roads and the odds are increasingly against your arriving at your next destinations. Valetta wants you to make it. ‘Don’t text for X’.