After he lost his 6-year-old daughter and her mother due to drunk driving in Mississippi, one man’s tearful plea published in July 2014 on YouTube has captured hearts worldwide (video below).
Rick Ellis lost his daughter Lindsey in 2014 after his drunken ex-wife Christy -- the girl’s mother -- reportedly killed her daughter and herself while driving under the influence.
"My little girl was killed from a mother who wanted to get high, drink, drive, party, have fun," he says in the YouTube video while standing at his daughter and ex-wife’s gravestones, before looking away from the camera in pain. "It didn’t work out too well."
"I’m going to show you something that is the end result of your partying on Friday nights, Saturday nights, whenever," he adds. "Want to get drunk, play around, get stupid? This is what happens."
The mother was driving home from Alabama after her boyfriend beat her up, Ellis explains, before breaking down in tears.
"If you’re struggling with addiction, if you’re struggling with alcohol, I hope this can help you," Ellis adds. "Don’t let your loved ones look down at you six-feet in the ground because you couldn’t handle life. Pull your bootlegs up, grab a hold of life, make something of it.
"Make Mom and Daddy proud. Even if they’re here no more, make them proud. Fight for something. Stand for something. There’s plenty of drunks in this world and you don’t need to be one."
The video has since been watched over 4.4 million times as of April 29, with many YouTube users commenting on how it helped them personally.
“I've been sober for awhile now but it still kills me to think about what I used to be and how i put my family through it, I regret it everyday but I have changed so much,” YouTube user Jewelie George said.
“I'll always remember this video,” she added.
For the heartbroken Ellis, knowing he has helped people has already provided comfort.
“It's an unbelievable feeling knowing people are getting and receiving help after watching this video,” Ellis wrote in an update one year later in 2015. “I thank all involved, may great things come to you in life.”
According to the CDC, "every day, 28 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion."