Growing up in a small village in Africa, Marcos was never shown or taught the value of seat belt use, and as a result, never felt the need to buckle up. Lucky for him, his wife, Mandee, was of a different opinion. Every time the two got in a vehicle together, Mandee would remind Marcos to buckle up – even refusing to continue in conversation, or move the vehicle, until his seat belt was properly fastened. It may have caused an argument or two, but she didn’t give up. Mandee reminded Marcos to buckle up EVERY time they got in the car for months before the habit stuck. Little would she have known that her constant reminders would save Marcos’ life.
It was a cold winter morning in January, traveling on black ridge from St. George to Cedar City. Marcos and a fellow student were headed to school when the truck hit black ice and the driver suddenly lost control sending the company truck rolling. The truck flipped over and over and over again. When the truck finally rested, Marcos opened his eyes to discover he was in one piece and unharmed. Marcos had a cut on his finger that needed medical attention, but otherwise he was fine. Trying to avoid the broken glass, Marcos unbuckled and climbed out of the shattered window in shock.
Once out of the vehicle, Marcos spotted his backpack in the middle of the road, flung many feet from where the truck lay. Before the crash that same backpack was at Marcos’ feet. When the police arrived on scene, they informed the driver and Marcos that their seat belts had saved their lives that day.
In the moment after the crash, and many moments since then, Marcos has thought of Mandee’s constant seat belt reminders. “I was so stubborn back then. I never felt the need to buckle up. Today I am very grateful she kept reminding me. She loves me, and that is why she asked me to buckle up. It is because of her that I am alive today. She is my angel.”
Mandee and Marcos currently reside in the Salt Lake Valley with their three beautiful children. They are strong advocates for seat belt use and hope that this story will encourage others to ask loved ones to buckle up – even if it takes months of reminders.