Simon Olson and Hallie Leeann Godfrey were a young couple, both only 18 years old, when their lives were cut short by a head-on car crash late one night. The couple were driving home at night after spending some time together on what was supposed to be Hallie’s last day in town before leaving for college. Her bags were already packed and ready to go at home. The driver who hit them just so happened to be a close friend of Simon’s family, a 20 year old young man named Tanner. When Simon’s father found out who it was that had killed his son, he had something to say to the young man…
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But those words aren’t exactly what you might think. Despite the heartbreak of that night, Simon’s dad, Lane, wanted to show love and forgiveness to Tanner. He posted this incredible status directed to the man who had killed his son:
Today has been the worst day of my life. No parent should have to bury their child.
As a family our hearts go out to Tanner Evans, who was the driver that killed my son Simon and his girlfriend Hailie.
What is crazy about this accident is that we know their family very well, his father was my Assistant basketball coach for AAU, we coached together for 5 years and former bishop. Tanners older son played on the High School team with my son Chandler and they were best friends.
With Tanner coming home last week from his mission we can’t imagine the guilt and pain he is feeling. We hold no hard feelings and we love that family!
I spoke to his father Matt, and he says that he is devastated and their family is feeling the same pain and sadness.
I am so proud of my children. When my son Chandler Olsen found out who the driver was, he wanted to drive over and tell the family that we forgive them and have no hard feelings. My daughter Lexi Sparks posted on her FB wall to pray for him and his family. Gehrig Olsen is not angry either.
This is what Simon would of wanted, he loved everyone and would want everyone to be laughing and have no anger.
I’m sure Simon would say “Guys relax I will you see all very soon, I’m skydiving in Heaven and practicing my basketball skills”
I’m humbled by the power of forgiveness for this is the only way to heal and move forward.
We used many of the organs in his body, which will affect 30 people. Simon would of liked knowing he helped others in need.
Please pray for all of us and especially the Evans family. This is not easy for any of us, but through God and faith we will get through this most trying time in our lives.
The outreach and love extended to our family has been overwhelming, we have had so many friends and family visit, call from all over the world and hundreds of texts and FB posts. We feel the power of your thoughts and prayers.
It is by this power that we are getting through this most challenging time. We appreciate those that have also donated in Simons behalf, your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Some people say that there is no God, others say we will not have an afterlife.
But I CHOOSE to BELIEVE, I CHOOSE to be HAPPY, I CHOOSE to live my life through my son. And I CHOOSE one day to embrace my son and cry tears of joy.
We love you all!
Lane’s incredible words have already impacted so many lives, including one man– a stranger to the Olsen family– who showed up at Simon’s funeral to share this story.
A man from Springville, Utah had read our family’s post in the newspaper, how we had forgiven the driver, because that is what Simon would of wanted. This man showed up to the viewing 15 minutes before and asked if I was Simons father, he started to cry and gave me and my kids hugs.
He said 31 years ago he accidentally killed a 7 year old little boy in his truck; he said a day doesn’t go by that he doesn’t think of this. That every time he hits a bump in a road or a pothole, he shakes thinking he hit some child again.
He said I don’t know your family, but I wanted to be part of the service knowing how you forgive others. He said that this had brought some healing to his heart and it brought comfort to ours.
Then an even more astonishing moment happened, that showed that Lane’s compassion had definitely been passed down to his son.
A mother and daughter showed up to the viewing, and both were crying uncontrollably, after 5 minutes. The daughter told me this story.
“I only met Simon twice at Riverton High School, He found out that I was suicidal and was planning on committing suicide. I also told him another friend was going to do it with me. The next day Simon came to school and gave me two American Eagle Silver coins. He said any time you think of committing suicide, hold on to the coin and don’t do it, he asked if I would give the other coin to my friend.”
Every Christmas I would give my children each one American Eagle Silver Coin…
The mother goes, “Your son saved my daughters life,” and hugged me and wouldn’t let go. The girl said ever since that day she stopped thinking about killing herself.
They gave me the coin that he had given her, and they went and found the 50 cent piece for the day he was born.
A tragic loss was transformed by forgiveness and gratitude into one of the most inspiring moments we have ever written about. The actions of Simon before his death and his father’s forgiveness after, deeply touched so many lives in such a profound way.
Share his words to touch other lives with forgiveness and healing today.
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