Today – News, New York City – How do you react when you learn that your 30-year-old wife and her unborn child have been killed in a two-car crash? That the driver of the other car had fallen asleep at the wheel? That you are now a widower with a 19-month-old baby daughter? If you’re Erik Fitzgerald, you forgive.
“You forgive as you’ve been forgiven,” said Fitzgerald, referencing a Bible verse. “It wasn’t an option. If you’ve been forgiven, then you need to extend that forgiveness.”
Fitzgerald, a full-time pastor, has not only forgiven but his forgiveness has created a friendship now six years strong with the driver of that other car–Matt Swatzell. The men stay connected by meeting at least once every two weeks, attending church together and eating meals at the Waffle House and other restaurants–just the two of them.
Swatzell, who lives in Dacula, GA, was driving home from a 24-hour shift as a firefighter and EMS and had only 30 minutes of sleep on the night of the Oct. 2, 2006 crash. He was less than four miles from his home when he nodded off and crashed into the car being driven by June Fitzgerald.
“We recognized that when we first started meeting it was unusual. We knew it was God,” said Fitzgerald, now 38. Their friendship was captured in a video produced by NewSpring Church that was shot in 2011, but is going viral again online, collecting hundreds of thousands of views a day.
Read the full story: “Widower forges friendship with man in crash that killed wife, unborn baby.”