SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) Forgiveness and Healing. That’s what’s behind a Utah woman’s effort to contact a driver who nearly killed her and changed his life five years ago in Australia.
In fact, she’s in Australia right now accomplishing what she set out to do. “I want to go back ’cause I want to be able to remember where it all happened.”
Kendal Levine is back in Australia for the first time since she was hit by a car while serving as a missionary there in 2014. The 25-year-old visited the site where a driver, who fell asleep at the wheel, went off the road and hit her.
The impact sent her 30 feet and she ended up under a car. She has been the keynote speaker at a couple of gatherings or fireside at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapels. She has visited with the man who was first on the scene and most likely gave her a chance to survive the accident. And she has visited with EMTs and medical professionals who saved her life after that horrific accident.
“I don’t remember the area – but if I do go back, I’m sure things will click back into my brain – to remember certain details and stuff.”
Before she left I caught up with Kendal during a rehab session at Neuroworx in Sandy.
“My goal is to walk without anything.”
Kendal is still re-learning to walk and control her muscles because she suffered a traumatic brain injury in that accident in Australia.
“I just got to keep going to push through the struggles to get where I am meant to be.” She says she wants to “get rid of the cane” and to walk on her own “someday.”
Kendal has a lot of personal goals related to her rehab, and some personal goals while visiting Australia.
“I wanted to meet the guy who hit me.”
One is to talk to the man who veered off the road on that fateful September day and struck her.
“This guy changed my life forever. It wasn’t a bad way to change my life. ’cause things have been better since that day.”
The Levine family tells me that while she hasn’t met the man face to face – she has met the man’s wife and family. They went out to dinner and the man’s wife did Kendal’s hair. And Kendal did get to talk to the man over the phone. Kendal’s mother, Melody, told me the man is on business in India, but he apologized over and over and asked for forgiveness, but Kendal told him there is nothing to forgive. Something she had explained to me before she left.
“I think it will give him a sense of closure. Like, I’m not mad at him at all. He needs to know that. I think he does.”
Kendal’s mother also said that Kendal still wants to meet the man face to face but he returns from India at the same time they are leaving to come home to Utah. They’re trying to change flights and work out a way to connect.