Pictured above is Courtney Sanford, celebrating her graduation from University of North Carolina.

Sanford was named UNC’s first Innovation Scholar. She is an incredibly intelligent girl who studied across the globe, making an impact and leaving her mark wherever she went.

Sanford was a Social Impact Intern at LinkedIn, where she was part of the LinkedIn for Good team. Volunteering and lending a hand whenever possible is a clear priority for her.

She even participated in TEDx as Co-Director of Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorship at TEDxUNC.

In a blog post in response to a TEDxAshokaU conference, she wrote, “So much is wrong with our world, yet so much potential sits in the hands of students and our generation. We have so much knowledge and passion, why waste it doing anything other than changing the world?”

Her words are inspiring and motivating.

You may have heard her name in the news recently, when Courtney Ann Sanford drove across a median on I-85 and hit a truck head-first on the morning of April 23. Her car caught fire and landed in a ditch. She was killed instantly.

Seconds before the accident, Sanford posted “The happy song makes me HAPPY!” on Facebook.

Those were her final words; a trivial post that was, in no way, necessary to post while she was driving.

Police believe her decision to post on Facebook while driving directly resulted in the accident. Upon further investigation, police also discovered a series of selfies taken by Sanford while she was behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

We know little at this point about the Sanford involved in the accident. What we do know is that the Courtney Ann was not the person we described above.


In some ways, that is a relief to discover.

While we imagine that the pulchritudinous 32-year old Courtney Ann was remarkable in her own right, let us assume just a second that the aforementioned Innovation Scholar was the one involved in an accident.

Let’s assume she is your daughter, your sister, or your best friend.

Let’s assume that the girl who was motivated to do nothing but change the world lost her life over something so nebulous.

At that point, the story becomes that much more of a tragedy, does it not?

Now picture it was you. It could have been. It could still be.

How many times have you checked a text message or posted something to social media while driving? Maybe you considered it to be safe because the road was clear or the text was short or because you had done it a hundred times before.

It does not matter. It only takes one time. You could lose your life, the life of your friends or family members who are in the car with you, or the brilliant scholar, Sanford who may be in the car you hit.

Just put down your fucking phone. That text can wait. We do not need to know that Pharrell’s song makes you happy while you are moving at a relatively high speed on a highway.