Waiting for my daughter to get off the school bus on Wednesday afternoon felt normal until my phone rang. It was a number that I did not recognize. It was local, and since I’ve been applying for jobs, I decided to answer it. The voice on the other end of the phone was from a woman who said. “Hi Dan, I’m here with your daughter, Brianna. She is ok, but her school bus has just been in an accident on Santa Barbara. She is injured and the EMS is with her, they will be bringing her to Cape Coral Hospital”. My heart sank into my stomach. She passed the phone onto the EMS worker who assured me her injuries were not life threatening but she needed to be evaluated by a doctor.
I drove as fast as I could to Cape Coral Hospital. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. I seemed to hit every traffic light and get behind every slow poke possible. Brianna arrived at the ER about 5 minutes after I arrived. I walked into the room and her nose bleed made her look more serious than she really was. Her face, arms, and pants were covered in blood. She was scared and crying. Her forehead was bruised and her knee was swollen. I held her hand and kissed her and immediately prayed for her. No injury is minor when you are talking about your baby. She started to calm down after I arrived and felt assured. Her mom, Lori, arrived a few minutes later and she felt much more at ease. She had a precautionary x-ray over her bum knee and thankfully everything was fine. We prayed for the driver who caused the accident and for the kids on the bus. While waiting on the test results my phone rang and it was a reporter from NBC news. How did she know it was Brianna? I’m still puzzled by how that happened. However, this same reporter did a story a year ago when our church did a Gas Buy Down for the community. She asked me if I’d like to comment on what happened. I was in no mood and told her that I would call her later. She was extremely sorry for asking, but I knew she was just doing her job. We went home. I was determined not to do the interview.
Shortly after arriving home, my sister Cindy called me to tell me that the Cape Coral Police were reporting, that the driver who hit the bus was impaired. The driver had ran a red light and than slammed into the side of the bus. I was angry. How could someone so foolishly and selfishly do this to my girl? This could have been so much worse! She could be dead…other children could have been severely injured. My son, Brandon, could have been on that bus today. Providentially, he stayed home from school sick. God instantly gave me an enormous peace. The anger was fueled by a desire to pray for the man even more so! I started praising and counting my blessings. We sat down and as a family prayed for his healing and salvation.
The NBC reporter texted me shortly after this and said she had a new development. It was the news that the driver was impaired. I decided to meet her and speak with her. I left with a determination to make God’s name great for protecting all of those kids on the bus. The interview can be found here. The next day I was called by Wink News and gave them an interview. That story can be found here.
The Lord has a purpose for everything. All the kids on that bus are alive and well. We are so grateful for His protection. The Lord allowed me to speak into the homes of our community, on the local news, for two days to make His fame, Name and grace known. It is only by God’s grace and the gospel that we can forgive, and pray for the drunk driver. I’ve had an overwhelming peace that has given me strength. Our family does not need any praise for this…for none of it comes from us. It all comes from Him. I am angry..but convicted to use that energy to show this man God’s love. Please join me in praying for Bradford Tanner. Brianna is back in school today, still sore, but we rejoice in God’s goodness! The purpose of everything is for the maximum Glory of God. May the Lord use those news reports to make Him more known everywhere! The following verse has really stood out to me the last 48 hours. It was what pushed me over the edge to do the news interview. Always be ready!
1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”