A brokenhearted mother and father who lost their daughter to a car crash accident forgave the man who killed her.
Maria has been drinking one night and requested her friend Nick Tay to drive her back home. Nick agreed despite him not having any insurance. He also drove 110 mph and exceeded the speed limit before the car accident happened.
Maria did not survive while Nick did.
Despite grieving the loss of her daughter at the hospital, Elizabeth Jimenez still thought of Nick, who was detained at the police station because of killing Maria weeks before her 24th birthday.
“Suddenly I thought ‘Wait a minute, who is with Nick at the police station?'” Elizabeth remembered while being interviewed by the Mirror. “I knew his family lived in Singapore. He must be desperate. I had never met this man before. I know that with their daughter killed many would react with furious anger and blame. But all I felt was deep worry for this young man I didn’t know. I just wanted to be by his side.”
Many years have passed since the accident occurred in 2017. Fernando Jimenez, Maria’s father, still recalls the pain he felt when he received the news about his daughter in an accident.
“Nothing prepares you for the news that your child is gone…At that moment I just collapsed and cried.”
Fernando informed his son Joshua about the accident and they broke the sad news to Elizabeth. Elizabeth recalled that her husband knelt down at her feet and started sobbing. Then they all cried together when he told her that Maria was gone.
Despite the grief that Elizabeth felt, she asked herself what her reaction would have been if it were Joshua, Fernando, or herself who were driving. She thought about what that person would be thinking.
On the other hand, Fernando did not feel the same way as he blamed himself for giving her the car and Nick for driving it. He further exclaimed, “…When I found out what had happened. I wanted to kill him.” His anger subsided the first time he met Nick in person.
“Nick hugged him and said, ‘please forgive me,'” Elizabeth recalled. “In tears they both collapsed to the ground, all the while Nick repeating his request over and over and Fernando saying, ‘I forgive you son.'”
Fernando confessed that he was filled with compassion and mercy and he let the bitterness go. He believed that if he held onto these, his feelings would have destroyed him. At that moment, he decided to love Nick and he became a son to Fernando. It was at that time that the family wanted to save him from being prosecuted. However, as it became clear that the proceedings would happen, Elizabeth and Fernando invited Nick to stay with them.
Elizabeth felt pity as she thinks that Nick needed them with all of his family in Singapore. Nick lived with them for six weeks. It was declared in court that Maria was not wearing a seatbelt. Moreover, Nick was driving at twice the speed limit. The accident could have been prevented, the police said.
Nick pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years. He did not complete the whole term as he was released after three and a half years.
Fernando learned more about this ordeal. “The true power of forgiveness is for the person who gives it, not just the person who receives it. Nothing would bring Maria back. But forgiving Nick helped me heal.”