Posted at: 03/16/2013 10:41 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Green beer, shamrocks, and leprechauns. St. Patrick’s Day festivities are fun, but with the celebration falling on a weekend, there’s concern over drinking and driving.
There is an increased D-U-I enforcement in our area. One local bar is hoping to make sure bar-goers have a safe ride home.
The owners of Cardinal’s Nest in Lewiston wanted to provide their patrons with a safe ride home, so every Friday and Saturday for the past month, they’ve been providing rides home for free.
"Our family, being involved in something like that, it hit's really close to home,” said Mickel Frisch.
Frisch has witnessed the dangers of drinking and driving first hand.
"Four, three years, ago my nephew was coming back he was up by Rochester, and he hit a van, he fell asleep and hit a van and five people were killed,” said Frisch.
That experience, along with a DUI of his own, is why Mikel spends his weekends driving bar-goers home from Cardinal’s Nest in Lewiston.
"Seeing people leaving the bar that really shouldn't be driving and it really just hit home one day,” said Scott Smith, one of six owners of Cardinal’s nest.
From 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday’s and Saturday’s free rides are available for anyone at Cardinal’s Nest, or any other bar, or even for people who are just sitting at home.
"We can feel good about what we're doing, offering alcoholic beverages to people making sure, making those people that we're serving that alcohol aren't going on the roads,” said Smith.
"You have a couple beers and you just don't know,” said Eric Bartsh, a bartender at Cardinal’s nest who has also used the service. He’s one of 100 people who have used the rides since the program started.
"It gives people a piece of mind cause it's real easy to get here and have three, four, five beers and before you know it, you've had too much so people know, you're not sure. You don't know if you've had too much so people know they can come here and if need be, they can get a ride home, it's not a problem,” said Bartsh.
An effort to protect the community from experiencing something like Mikel has.
Smith has been grateful for the rides. And even though they are free, he says they do a great job tipping.