A Tarrant County funeral home is sending a message to drivers: Don’t text and drive.
The Lucas Family of Funeral Homes has five billboards up in the Fort Worth area, each with the same ad:
"dnt txt N drv. We can Wait."
"We are really serious about that," Lucas Funeral Homes' Mark Lucas Kelly said.
Kelly — part of the family business' fifth generation — said he got the idea for the ad after having a conversation with a John Peter Smith Hospital system executive who noted seeing several drivers on his way to a luncheon that day who appeared to be texting and driving. The executive predicted that those people could one day become patients in his emergency department.
In the Lucas family’s 156 years of operating and advertising its funeral homes, Kelly said he and others cannot recall ever receiving the response they did with this ad campaign.
Last November, the Cedar Hill Police Department shared a photograph of one of the billboards on its Facebook account, along with the words "A grim reminder."
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Kelly said he’d received a handwritten letter from a woman who praised the company’s ads for what she described the "best use of advertising dollars she’d ever seen spent."
"And we had a grandmother that called me after the billboard went up and said, 'I point at that billboard every day and tell my grandchild when I’m taking them to school, don't text and drive,'" he recounted.
About the "We can wait" portion of the message, Kelly told NBCDFW his company was not making an attempt at humor.
"I mean, granted, this is a business, but ours is a service as well," Kelly said. "It's sort of an odd business to be in. We know people and families that we don't want to become our clients."
"We know that we will be there to serve because everyone’s going to pass away, but we don’t want it to be in that fashion," he said, referring to a distracted driving crash.