Drunk driving is a major societal concern, not only because the driver puts himself at risk, but because he also endangers the lives and property of other road users [1]. School children have been murdered on their way home because drunk and disoriented drivers let their cars self-drive while they fall asleep on the wheels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, which accounted for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States [2]. 29 people die daily in the United States from drunk driving.

It’s awful to think that a person could be driving responsibly or walking on the right side of the road, eager to get home to their families, and they’d lose their lives in a flash because a disoriented lunatic was DUI.

Drunk driving is heart-breaking, and Scott and Carla Swanson wanted to make a visible effort to dissuade their customers from putting lives at risk on the road. The couple runs The Union Bar and Grill in Gering, Nebraska. While many bars usually like to clear out every vehicle in the parking lot at the end of the night, the sensible couple encourages the customers who have been drinking heavily to park their cars overnight. They don’t just encourage them – they go out of their way to present a small but enticing reward to the reasonable customers.

He called his wife for a ride instead of getting behind the wheel

Mr. Martin had been having a field night at The Union Bar and was far too tipsy to drive himself home. He opted to leave his truck in the lot and give his wife, Janelle, a call for a ride. She drove over to pick him up and keep the road safe.

When they returned to the bar to pick up the truck the following morning, they found an interesting note stuck to his windshield. It read:

Dear Union Bar and Grill Park Guest,
Just wanted to thank you for leaving your car parked overnight. I’m not sure if you consumed alcohol at our restaurant or not, but I want to thank you for not drinking and driving. Bring this letter to the bar and we will give you a hamburger and French fries. Please accept this as a thank you for being responsible. Life is valuable. Have a great day.
Scott and Carla Swanson
Union Bar and Grill

In an interview with World-Herald, Scott Swanson said his wife came up with the idea two years ago when she saw a similar proposition at another bar [3].

It’s a $7 burger, and if it keeps someone out of jail or keeps someone from killing someone, it’s damn well worth it,” he said.

It’s a win-win for everyone because the burger at The Union looks good enough to pull any customer back. The couple gets to keep drunk buzz-heads off the road and protect the lives of innocent citizens, and their customers will most likely keep coming back.

Other bars have begun to incorporate this reward system.  Original Joe’s Restaurant and Bar in Canada offers a ‘thank-you’ note and coupons for free chicken wings upon the customer’s next visits [4]. The wings look decadently delicious, and I’m sure no customer will mind swinging by a second time for some free chops.

View this post on Instagram

style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> Sure you can bring beer to your games, but you can’t bring OJ’s wings. Sign up for OJ’s Beer League Program and get 50% off wings with your team! www.originaljoes.ca/beerleague. 🍗🍺

style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Original Joe’s (@originaljoes) on

Alcohol impairs your judgment. Plan ahead. Don’t drink and drive.


  1. What Is Drinking and Driving (DUI)?“, Alcohol Rehab Guide. May, 2019.
  2. Alcohol-Impaired Driving“, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. October 2017.
  3. Nebraska bar thanks patrons who don’t drink and drive with free burger — and ‘it’s damn well worth it“, World-Herald. April, 2018.
  4. “Woman Receives Surprise After”, Fox News Insider. October, 2016.
  5. “The Union Bar and Grill”, Facebook.
  6. Janelle Martin, Facebook. March, 2018.
Related Articles: