A St. Maries resident is spending his evenings-off trying to reduce drunk driving incidents and the tragedies that can result.
Nick Coleman, a mill worker, husband, and father of four children ages one to seven, is offering free rides home, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, to anyone in need of a sober driver.
Mr. Coleman said the idea came to him out of the blue while watching music videos—two of which told a story about a reckless driver killing a child. The videos spoke to his paternal desire to safeguard his children.
He decided to start “Drink then Ride” in response.
“It’s not about trying to make money or people knowing who I am,” he said. “It’s just the simple fact that I want my kids to grow up in a good town. And one day they are going to be out on their own, and I wouldn’t want them to get hit by a drunk driver.”
Mr. Coleman credits his wife Kendra Coleman with encouraging him to act.
“My wife was the one behind me and who gave me the courage to do it,” he said. “She’s the one I always ask, and she said it was a good idea.”
Rides can be requested through Facebook Messenger or by using the ‘Call Me Now’ feature which is a direct line to Mr. Coleman’s phone.
The service is available year-round, and Mr. Coleman said he is staying up till the bars close on the weekends. He just asks that the rider’s destination be within five miles of town.
“If I have to take on person to Spokane and have more people asking for rides, I won’t be able to get to them,” he said.
The service is free.
“Tips are welcome but not necessary,” he said. “I’d rather give someone a free ride than have them get in accident.”
It’s also confidential. Mr. Coleman does not want anyone to be afraid to make a phone call.
“If you don’t want anyone to know you are getting a ride or going out, it will never be brought up,” he said.
The service has been offered for the past three weeks, but he hasn’t given many rides yet.
“It’s pretty slow just because the word hasn’t gotten out there,” he said.
Mr. Coleman said he hopes to see the service grow and gather more volunteers over time.
“I don’t plan on stopping,” he said. “I’d rather people call me than have to call their loved ones from a jail cell.”
Mr. Coleman offers the service on nights off and the schedule may change. He regularly posts on Facebook when he is available for rides.