A California man and avid cyclist is being praised all over the country for putting the past behind him and becoming friends with the truck driver who almost killed him. (Scroll down for video)
The cyclist was hit by a truck last May and had serious injuries due to it, but he let the power of forgiveness help him overcome the bitterness towards the driver of that truck.
It was during the Memorial Day weekend last year, when Jack Keith, 46, of West Garden Grove, was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway between 50 and 60 miles per hour at the time. He says, he got distracted by the waves for a second which resulted in him drifting into the bike lane parallel to the highway and causing the cyclist to be airborne.
Keith said, “It all happened so quickly. I looked up and boom, I just saw him flying through the air.” Tom Sovilla, was the longtime bicyclist who was riding from La Habra to Seal Beach who was hit by the accident.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, what did I just do? Did I kill this guy?’” recalled Keith, who stopped and called 911. Meanwhile, two cyclists behind Sovilla were doctors and immediately stopped to help Sovilla before emergency officials arrived. Keith said, that he never saw the man regain consciousness and thought he was paralyzed.
Sovilla was rushed to hospital, where doctors found a fractured back, broken pelvis, torn knee ligaments and bruised intestines and he also had two blood clots on his brain, but Keith couldn’t get any information from the hospital due to privacy reasons and his calls were not returned by the Huntington Beach Police Department. But he later did manage to get in touch with a witness who contacted Sovilla’s wife, Jenette Sovilla, on his behalf.
He got a text saying, ‘Hey, this is Jenette, Tom’s wife, the guy who was involved in the accident. He is going to be alright — we’ve been praying for you.’ He said he was able to breathe easy after that. Soon Keith was able to visit Sovilla in the hospital and revealed he was nervous and unsure about it. “I didn’t know what to expect. For me, it’s kind of hard to hide my emotions. I just wanted to do the right thing,” he said, saying the meeting was “emotional but never awkward.”
He said he was blown away that they were OK with him were worried about him and says it was a nice start to the healing process. Sovilla’s ligaments were surgically reconstructed, and his pelvis was fitted with plates and screws, he has moved from a wheelchair to a walker and uses a cane and is undergoing physical therapy and was hospitalized for 33 days.
Keith has now befriended Sovilla and his “amazing” family and also started a GoFundMe for Sovilla’s out-of-pocket medical expenses, it has raised $6,300 of the fund’s $7,000 goal, and Keith, who is a carpenter, also removed a shower door in the family’s home so Sovilla could bathe easily.
“I’ve felt nothing but love from this man — and for the situation, that’s unheard of.” said Jack Keith. Sovilla said, “holding on to things just eats away at you.” He added, “It doesn’t necessarily hurt the other person,” he continued. “I think if people can understand that, then people would learn to forgive because forgiveness is a big part [of] your own mental and physical health.”
“Jack made a mistake — I’ve been distracted before and veered into the next lane,” Sovilla said. “Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Yeah. But it did.” Jenette Sovilla also agreed saying, “We could live our lives angry and bitter about lots of things that have happened to us,” she said. “Why? It doesn’t help anything.”
“He’s so determined and his attitude is inspiring,” Keith said of Sovilla. “I’ve felt nothing but love from this man — and for the situation, that’s unheard of.”
Colossians 3:13 – “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”