Windsor’s John O’Kane wasn’t comfortable with the sudden notoriety after becoming a hero of the anti-drunk driving movement, until learning the tragic tale of a stranger in Washington, D.C.

O’Kane, who owns John Max Sports & Wings, has become an Internet celebrity after putting notes and gift cards on cars left in his parking lot to thank people for not drinking and driving. The act garnered so much attention that O’Kane, who doesn’t care for the spotlight, decided he likely wouldn’t do it anymore.

 “I just came across this picture online and was incredibly touched,” Wenzel wrote. “I’m not sure if you do this all the time or this was a one-time thing but I applaud your morals.… I just want to thank you for promoting responsible drinking. You just might have saved someone else’s life.”

O’Kane first put thank-you notes on cars, which people had left at the Lauzon Road location of his restaurant, on July 3.

“Please accept this as a thank you for being responsible,” he wrote. “Life is valuable, have a wonderful weekend.”

With the letter, he included a $20 gift card and a voucher for two hours of free volleyball. The Lauzon Parkway restaurant has beach volleyball facilities.

Somebody posted a picture of the letter online.

“It started to go viral right away that weekend,” said O’Kane. “I couldn’t believe the response.”

He did it again the following Friday, around 7 a.m.

“By noon, it was everywhere,” said O’Kane. “Yahoo called me for an interview on Friday. Then over the weekend it’s just grown and grown.”

People have been posting the letter and talking about it on forums including Reddit, Imgur and Facebook. Yahoo News wrote a story about him. Hot 89.9 FM in Ottawa also posted the letter.

O’Kane got the idea a few months ago from one of his wife’s friends who saw something similar on Pinterest. After that, he started noticing that customer cars were still in his lots when he arrived at 6:45 a.m.

“So I thought this is the perfect time to go write a letter and thank these responsible patrons,” said O’Kane.

He didn’t think much about what he was doing.

“I just felt like it was the right thing to do, so I did it and I went back to work,” said O’Kane.

Shortly after, friends and family started telling O’Kane — who isn’t on Facebook — that word was spreading about his kind gesture. Then reporters started calling.

“The response we got from the public on this is really touching,” said O’Kane. “It’s overwhelming.”

 “I was very moved by it,” Wenzel told The Star Monday. “I never heard of a bar owner doing something like this. I was moved by it because of what happened to my father.”

On July 25, 2009, Wenzel’s father Russell was killed by a drunk driver. Wenzel’s mother was battling cancer. There was a complication. Russell took his wife on a late night trip to the hospital. Afterwards, while they were headed home, a drunk driver slammed head-on into their car.

“My father was killed probably instantly,” said Wenzel. “My mom made it out alive with critical injuries, to say the least.”

He said O’Kane should be applauded for encouraging customers to make the right decision about drinking and driving.

“One decision is what killed my father,” said Wenzel. “He may not be able to affect 1,000 people, but he may be able to affect three or four people and one of those may save someone’s life. Down the line, somebody’s going to change their decision to drink and drive.”

O’Kane said the email from Wenzel was all the encouragement he needed.

“I’ll keep doing the program for the simple fact I’m touching people like that,” he said.

Source: National Post



Last updated on: 2015-07-20 | Link to this post