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 email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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. http://facebook.com/valettabradford
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