"Too often we tend to focus on what we don't have, as opposed to what we do have," according to Gabe Hurley, whose life was changed dramatically after he was struck by a reckless driver. "I want people to understand that life is a gift."
He says he'd like to wake up, walk outside and gaze at the blue sky, get into his car, and drive to the gym. Now blind, all he can see is blackness, and there will never be a car in his driveway.
Music helped Hurley recover from the devastating accident, which occurred a year after graduating from Rutgers University. Playing guitar helped him remain positive enough that he started speaking to groups, inspiring them with his story.
"Time is something you can never get back," he says. "So if you have an opportunity, or a door opens, walk through it."
He has given more than 60 talks throughout the state to juvenile delinquents, and middle and high school students, and whenever he speaks during an assembly, you can hear a pin drop.
Hurley tells the students who can't wait to get behind the wheel that crashes such as the one that left him blind can be prevented. He refuses to call it an accident because that implies it wasn't the result of reckless behavior.
"Even though I'm very aware of what's been taken away, I also see it as an opportunity to help save lives and to empower people," Hurley told Rutgers Today.
Following his 25-minute talk about safe driving he plays a song from the CD released by his rock band, The New Black.
Except for his guitar playing, a passion that has ignited him since he was six years old, everything was taken away in an instant by a teenager celebrating the last day of high school. But a door was opened. A new opportunity was presented that wouldn't have been there before.