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by Abigail Van Buren

Children Deserve the Truth About Grandfather's Suicide

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Best-Friendless," who wrote about the 61-year-old woman who got a DUI ticket and now blames the friend: The writer stated that forcibly taking the woman's car keys from her "wasn't an option."

YES IT WAS! Twice I have had to take car keys from drunken friends who insisted they could drive. (If they had, they probably would have killed themselves or someone else.) Later, they both thanked me.

On another occasion, I tricked a large male friend (who was almost too drunk to stand) by switching his keys for mine. I simply said, "Hey, you've got the wrong keys," holding out mine and grabbing his. Abby, he "bought" it -– and when he couldn't get his car to start, he just slept it off behind the wheel of his car, which was parked in my driveway. Later, upon reflection, he realized what he'd done and thanked me profusely for "saving a few lives that night." (It's been more than four years and he hasn't touched a drop of alcohol since.)

The point is: ANYTHING is better than a drunk driver on the streets or highways. Do whatever it takes -- remember, one intoxicated person is usually no match for two or more sober ones. You can outwit them -– or you can use force, if necessary. Everyone I've mentioned in this letter was at least twice my size. I'm female, only 5 foot 2, and weigh less than 100 pounds. -– BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, AND I'LL KEEP DOING IT

DEAR BEEN THERE: I admire your gutsiness and ingenuity in switching car keys with your drunken male friend. However, knowing how unpredictable a person under the influence can be, I would never recommend using force to dissuade someone from driving, because it could provoke violence. It's deplorable, but I've seen it happen.