Daniel Riemann was a 25-year-old outgoing, “people-person” with an amazing laugh. Daniel had recently graduated from Kansas University and was just promoted to manager of the retail store where he worked. He had his whole life ahead of him with a very promising future.
After hanging out at a friend’s house after work, Daniel was walking in a crosswalk in the Kansas City town square, when he was struck by a drunk driver. The driver fled the scene, leaving Daniel helpless. Several hours passed before anyone found him or called an ambulance, and when they arrived on the scene Daniel was already dead. This happened early in the morning on Sunday, May, 11, 2008—Mother’s Day.
The Riemanns had an annual Mother’s Day tradition; the family would get together for lunch at Red Lobster. Since Daniel wasn’t sure if he would be able to make the Mother’s Day lunch that year because of work, he gave his grandmother the Mother’s Day card he wrote for his mother to give her at lunch. By the time she opened it, Daniel was gone.
While the Riemanns were at their Mother’s Day lunch, police were still trying to determine Daniel’s identification. He had left his wallet and I.D. in his car. His family thought he was at work, so the fact that he didn’t show up for lunch was not surprising; there was no reason to be alarmed or to start looking for him. They were notified later that afternoon that their beloved son and brother had died after being struck by an underage drunk driver leaving a graduation party.
Daniel was the oldest of four siblings, but was also very close to his extended family. Family and friends were very important to Daniel, and at his memorial services friends from all over the world came to celebrate his life by telling funny stories and memories of their friend.
Now Mother’s Day has a very different meaning for Kelly Riemann, Daniel’s mother. Each year she does something to honor her son, like bracelets or bumper stickers, for everyone who knew and loved Daniel.
This Mother’s Day, we honor Kelly and Daniel Riemann, as well as all others who lost a mother or a child to drunk driving or underage drinking.