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Designated Driver 4U

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

In December 2003, state legislators, tavern and bar owners, beer distribution owners and the Associated Press gathered together in support of one man and his desire to serve his fellowmen. Ryan Nielson of Salt Lake City runs a one-man, non-profit show called Designated Driver 4U. Since Ryan started the program in September, he has given close to 400 rides to people who are impaired by alcohol. He has spent more than $6,000 of his own money, saving one life after another.

Night after night, Ryan cruises the bar and club scene in Salt Lake looking for people who need a ride. He even passes out his cards to people who are sober and waiting in line to get in. Ryan tells me his phone rings off the hook, and he sometimes can't answer all the calls. The minute people get in his rented van or SUV, they instantly ask Ryan why he is willing to do all this. Ryan then shows a picture of his son, Matt, who is in prison because he ran over a young woman after a night of drinking in Park City.

Ana Bussman was walking alongside a road when she was struck by Matt's car. He was arrested for his second DUI. Ryan tells me he remembers that January night very well. After Ryan and his wife, Victoria, were notified, they instantly went to the hospital. The nurses told them that Ana wasn't going to live, that she was brain dead and that her family was in Brazil. When Ryan was alone with Ana, he said a prayer that she would recover and made a promise to help if his prayer was answered. When Ana miraculously began to improve, Ryan decided to start Designated Driver 4U.

Ana's family has since forgiven Matt and still maintains a good relationship with Ryan. People Magazine recently called Ana who said, "Tell Utah I'm getting better."

The taverns and beer companies donate regularly to this program, but more drivers, vehicles, resources and volunteers are needed. To help out or donate, please go to

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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