A guy walks into the restroom at a bar and looks in the mirror… It sounds like the setup for a joke, but for customers at a bar in Los Angeles, it was no laughing matter.
Patrons at a bar in Los Angeles were shocked when they went to use the restroom and found someone other than themselves staring back in the mirror. Rather than seeing their own likeness when they looked into the mirror, the patrons at this bar — many of them obviously tipsy — saw Kris Caudilla looking back at them in a blue prison uniform.
Caudilla was 26-years-old when he drove drunk, killing a deputy sheriff with a wife and four children. Caudilla was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, where he now thinks of the deputy he killed every day, replaying the moment of the crash over and over in his head. He also thinks about the man’s family — his wife and four children — who must live without him.
While he can never undo the irreversible act which ultimately ended the deputy’s life, Caudilla is now doing whatever he can to ensure that others do not make the same mistake he did. The inmate has resigned himself to do everything in his power to stop others from drinking and driving.
Caudilla teamed up with We Save Lives, a highway safety nonprofit led by Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in order to stop intoxicated partygoers from getting behind the wheel of a car. A video titled “Reflections from Inside” shows Caudilla at the RMC Correctional Facility in Lake Butler, Florida, preparing to go on camera before cutting to an unidentified L.A. bar where patrons are drinking at a private party.
The scene then switches to the men’s restroom, where male patrons come face to face with Caudilla, who greets them from the mirror with a friendly, “What’s up, man?” After exchanging a few pleasantries with the stunned partygoers, Caudilla tells them that he’s speaking from prison and recounts how in January 2010 he killed St. Johns County, Florida, Deputy James Anderson Jr., a 44-year-old married father of four, in a head-on collision while driving home after a night of drinking with friends.
“I made the choice to drink. I made the choice to get in the car,” Caudilla tells them after explaining that he is serving a 15-year sentence for DUI manslaughter. “You don’t have to make that choice.” The message appears to hit home with the patrons, several of whom assure Caudilla that they have no intention of getting behind the wheel.
The filming of the spot involved some technical trickery since prison officials would not let Caudilla interact live with the bar patrons. Instead, his statements and questions were filmed in advance and played on cue via a monitor behind the mirror in response to the comments of the drinkers.
The partygoers were aware that they were being filmed but didn’t know why, which accounts for their genuine surprise when they encountered Caudilla speaking to them in the mirror. The inmate’s video was only at one specific party, but the recording has since gone viral on social media, hitting home with millions of users. Please share this tragic story to remind others that it is NEVER worth it to drink and drive. That decision could change your life — or someone else’s — forever.