Return to Transcripts main page


Drunk Driving

Aired September 11, 2012 - 21:00   ET



DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Former guest Lizzie Velazquez made an impression last time she was on this program. Now 23, she was born with a medical condition so rare there are only three known cases in the world. Lizzie says she`s used to standing out, but dealing with bullies like people who went on the Internet calling her the world`s ugliest women is hard. Yet in our beauty-obsessed culture, Lizzie finds a way to thrive and inspire.


PINSKY: But first up, we are going to explore a very different topic. This is something, a story that was inspired this last Saturday night at 3:30 a.m., just a few miles from this studio where I`m standing now.

One tragic mistake that cost three lives after a night out with friends, a young man got behind the wheel of a car. Allegedly a friend told him he was too drunk to drive, but he said he was OK to go just the short distance home. Minutes later he caused a fiery crash and died along with the two other people in the car.

In the blink of an eye, one bad decision can ruin multiple lives. It can kill. I deal with this every day and right now we will look at why people don`t get this message.

Joining me to discuss: two mothers who lost their children at the hands of drunk drivers -- Nina Walker who lost her 22-year-old daughter and is now raising her grandson, and Stacey Rhodes who lost her 19-year-old son.

Nina, I`m going to start with you. I mean, I`m sort of overwhelmed when I talk about these stories because I am all the time dealing with people with substance problem, warning them take the treatment now before you hurt somebody.

What do you think when you hear these stories?

NINA WALKER, NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER, MADD: Well, I take it very personal. I`m saddened. I`m sad for the families of the three victims who`ve lost their life to a drunk driving crash. I`m sad for their friends. I`m sad for the community who has to mourn over an incident that is 100 percent preventable but happens far too often on our roadways.

PINSKY: I completely agree with you. Let me start -- because I think people -- the way we reach people is with stories.

So, Nina, let`s hear yours. What happened to your daughter?

WALKER: Well, a little over 11 years ago, February 11th, 2011 -- or 2001, my 22-year-old daughter, a single mom working as a waitress at a steak house and was a junior student studying to be a nurse. She was the designated driver that night. Left the gas lamp area of San Diego and was taking her friend home and was crashed into by a van that was being chased by a jealous boyfriend.

She was killed instantly which, you know, gives me some solace knowing she didn`t have to suffer. She had a friend in her car that suffered multiple broken bones in his body. But she paid the ultimate price. She left behind a 3 1/2-year-old son, that my husband and I petitioned to be his guardian and are now raising him.

PINSKY: Nina, you know, myself not related to the kind of story you`ve been through, but my wife was critically ill after she gave birth to our triplets. And I remember thinking to myself, I don`t know if I could ever look in the face of these children if something happens to her. How do you do that? Is it something you have to think about every day?

WALKER: Well, I don`t think about it every day. I look at my grandson and I always tell him I can`t love you the way your mother would have loved you, but I can love you the way I loved her.

PINSKY: What do you tell him? What do you tell him? He`s 15 now or so. He`s getting to an age when kids start to experiment. How do we not let this be another statistic?

WALKER: Well, we constantly talk to him about the dangers of underage drinking, the dangers of people getting behind the wheel of their vehicle and driving after they`ve consumed alcohol. And when I tell him that I`m going to go out and speak on behalf of MADD, he always says go out grandma and make a difference. That`s what I try to do.

Nothing I can do will change the circumstances of what happened to me and my family, but I want to be able to change what could potentially happen to anybody.

PINSKY: I can see I`m -- you know, we`ve got a big image of you on our screen here. I got to tell you, I can see this affects you. It`s stricken you.

WALKER: It certainly has.


Let me hear Stacey`s story. Stacey, you -- what happened to your son?

STACEY RHODES, SON KILLED IN DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT: My son was 19 years old when he was killed at the hands of his best friend Adrian. They were coming home from a party that was socially hosted. So, that`s my platform is social hosting.

PINSKY: I want to interrupt you and ask -- you mean parents were giving kids alcohol? Is that the euphemism for that?


PINSKY: I got to tell you what I tell my kids. I say if any adult is giving kids, is contributing to they delinquency of a minor in our state and my kids are there, I will show up with the sheriffs and have them hauled off. No problem -- I`ll be laughing my butt off when they do it.


PINSKY: I swear to God I see the consequence and you`re a living piece of that consequence of parents doing that. It`s unbelievable to me.

RHODES: Right. It`s irresponsibility at its finest. And when Ryan was killed, there are high rates of speeds that go hand in hand. My frustration is it`s with Adrian, of course, the driver, but more in sense with the parents. They played the role that I was so teaching my child and my son to avoid.

And for nothing to happen to them also, that was a double slap in the face to me. You know, I live with this every day and our family lives with every day and our community. And Ryan had just completed his first year of college. So we hadn`t seen him.

And to get that phone call, Dr. Drew, I cannot even explain to you what receiving that phone call is like telling you that you no longer have a child. And you literally feel like you`re missing a limb. Like, you can`t breathe. But then to find out it was at the hands of adults, I had spoke to Ryan constantly.

We talked to our kids. We talked to our kids about the difficulties with drinking and drugs. And he wasn`t the driver, which was frustrating in itself also. You know, he got into a car with somebody who was extremely impaired. And friends questioned should I let them drive, should I not let them drive. I just -- you know --

PINSKY: Well, Stacey, so much of this is something we have dealt with this on program a number of times which is the adolescent brain, the young male brain where they don`t perceive consequences, they don`t project things into the future, they lack executive judgment. They`re aroused by impulsivity and very arousing, dramatic kinds of circumstances. They`re drawn to that stuff.

I want to slip in a call from Amber -- Amber in Wisconsin.


PINSKY: Hi, Amber. What`s up?

AMBER: I was affected by a drunk driver years ago. I was 17 and pregnant and my boyfriend dried in a drunk driving accident.

What young people need to realize is that you are not only affecting your life but people around you for many years to come even. Just like my 8-year-old son who gets to visit the cemetery every single year for Father`s Day just to say hi to his dad.

They need to realize that it doesn`t stop at that night of drinking. It will forever go on.

PINSKY: Were you with him that night?

AMBER: I was on the phone with him that night. I was on the phone while it happened.

PINSKY: Oh, my God.


PINSKY: All three of you ladies, it`s so -- I`ve got an icy cold feeling in my gut the three of you must have to relive these experiences every day. You can`t escape it. Yes.

RHODES: You do. You do. I mean, you have good days and you have bad days. And I try to live in the memory of Ryan and what I trained him and taught him. And you still -- you have your good days and your bad days and you just roll with those bad days. You have to.

PINSKY: And I appreciate you guys telling these stories and hopefully making a difference so other parents don`t go through this. I don`t know how you don`t go to all those parents that leveling alcohol -- I mean, not forcing alcohol but allowing them to use alcohol. I don`t know how you -- I`m not going to go there.

RHODES: Well, they`re 1,800 miles away. So that`s a good thing.

PINSKY: That`s what it would take to keep my hands off them. I`m just saying.

RHODES: Exactly.

PINSKY: All right. Now, next up I`m going to have you guys talk to a young man who did kill a woman when he was driving drunk. I`m curious to hear what your thoughts are. You ladies have to say to him and the callers as well.

And then later on as we let you know, Lizzie beautiful is back with me here. There she is now. She`ll be talking about -- she`ll be talking about social media and how she`s treated and how she deals with all that. We`ll be right back.



TROY AQUINO, WITNESSED CRASH: You could see the car. I don`t know if he was racing or something. Then he kind of swerved on to the sidewalk and then you see him just crash into this post into the tree. When I was calling 911, you could se that the driver, he was screaming for help.


PINSKY: That was someone who witnessed the horrific car crash that killed three young people over this last weekend just a couple miles from where I`m standing now. Another drunk driving death.

Joining me now John Templeton. He was with us last week but asked to be part of our show tonight.

Now, 10 years ago, John got behind the wheel of a car. He was drunk, he was a young man, and he killed a woman.

John, my understanding is you carry a picture of this woman you killed. Is that correct?


PINSKY: What`s her name?

TEMPLETON: The victim of the crash, her name was Julie Nicole Buckner.

PINSKY: Could I see the picture of Julie?

TEMPLETON: It`s actually on my wallet. I gave it to my wife. So I had nothing on my pockets with myself that I can grab through.

PINSKY: Well, maybe she`s in the green room or sitting, maybe she can show you -- we have a picture of her here. I beg your pardon. There she is. She`s beautiful.

TEMPLETON: She was a beautiful --

PINSKY: Yes, go ahead, John.

TEMPLETON: She was a very beautiful young woman. And I don`t need a picture to remind me of the life that was taken, but you know, that was a life that was cut short. Instead of planning a wedding, her parents had a plan a funeral for their daughter when she was just 18 years old. It`s something that I remember every single day.

PINSKY: Now, I`m going to ask you, John, to talk to a couple of parents who lost children at the hands of a drunk driver. I know you now make it your life to raise awareness of these things. I know you`re in recovery now. But I`ve got the women up on the screen here with you now.

And what do you tell these moms? How do they know that you legitimately deserve a second chance? What do they do with their anger, John? What do you say to them?

TEMPLETON: You know, Dr. Drew, my heart really goes out to both mothers. You know, I`ve been fortunate enough to hug and see the pain I`ve caused Mrs. and Mr. Buckner.

You know, I`m in no position to tell anybody that they should forgive. You know, God forbid if that happened to my wife, I don`t know how I would react.

But I can tell them that, you know, my father says it was the second worst call a parent can ever get in their life was the call my dad got. And I know for certain that that`s the worst call a parent can get in their whole life. Nothing can ever bring back a child.

You know, I was blessed with forgiveness, Dr. Drew. And I`ve really tried to take that as an opportunity to change my life. And I can never bring Julie back, but every 52 minutes somebody is killed in America due to drinking and driving.

PINSKY: Hang on a second, John.

Stacey`s having a reaction to what you`re saying. Do you want to say something to John, Stacey?

RHODES: You know, as a parent that loses a child this tragically, I understand what he`s saying. And I am -- I`m glad that he`s accepted what he`s done. And he carries the picture of her around.

I forgave Adrian, the person that killed my son. I did that because I needed to. But as far as saying he -- the parent received the second worst phone call, that just -- I mean, I guess I`ll agree with him to a point.

PINSKY: No, you don`t have to agree. That made you angry. There`s nothing worse than what you went through.

RHODES: I`m very -- well, I`m not angry, because I refuse those parents that anger. I refuse to put that energy out there. I`m devastated. I lost my person. That was my person. That was my family.

And unless you experience that, and I don`t want to discredit the fathers that lose children. I knew my son nine months before anybody else knew my son. And for him to be taken away in such a tragic, vicious manner, you know, it`s devastating.

PINSKY: It`s once again -- it`s once again women taking on the special burden. They have a special burden.

John, you have a response to Stacey? Make it quick, I want to take a call.

TEMPLETON: Absolutely. I apologize. I meant my father getting the call that his son was responsible for killing another child was second compared to -- that`s the worst call you could get is the call their child was killed. I want to acknowledge I`m agreeing with her.

PINSKY: Amanda in California, you have something for us?

AMANDA, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Yes. I was married to a man -- I`m still married to him -- and I`m sorry I`m emotional seeing all these people. My husband has a drinking problem and I kept asking him to get help. I kept saving him from driving drunk. I kept lying for him.

And then I begged him to get help. And he got a DUI. And I told him that that was a divorceable offense to me but I`d stand by him if he admitted and got help. And he didn`t.

But I got pregnant and thought I had no option but to stay with him. And then it just got continually worse year after year.

And the day, he drove drunk with my children, he came home to the driveway and opened the door and passed out. My kids were in the car. I called 911. I got a friend to take my kids away so they can`t see him getting in an ambulance.

They cut off his clothes. He had alcohol poisoning. He was -- I believe it was a 0.29, it was unimaginable -- 0.26 to where a lot of the population would be dead. And I went to the hospital, I slapped him in the face. I told the nurse someone needs to go talk to him about having a drinking problem and I called his parents and I told them that he was no longer my responsibility.

PINSKY: What`s happening? Amanda, what`s happening today? Where is he today? Did he get sober? Or is he still out there?

AMANDA: No. He`s still out there. And he`s still out there with another recent DUI.


AMANDA: Yes. He`s putting everybody`s lives at risk.

PINSKY: Amanda, I have -- John, I`m going to let you ring in with me on this. I have deep empathy for alcoholics. I know it hijacks their brain. But for God`s sake, when you have nearly killed your children, you are going to kill other people.

I know when you`re in your disease, you don`t care so much about yourself. But you`re going to kill somebody else. You are not responsible for being an alcoholic. You are responsible for your treatment.

John, go ahead. What do you have to say to that?

TEMPLETON: Yes, absolutely. Dr. Drew, as far as the disease, by any means not an excuse but it is a chronic progressive disease. If he`s experiencing consequences and continues to drink, he has a serious problem and he`s either going to kill himself or somebody else. The man really needs treatment.

PINSKY: He is not responsible for the alcoholism, Amanda. He is responsible to take treatment. And God help him if he does not, because I say when people refuse treatment, when they`ve been warned repeatedly -- I understand they`re not in a normal brain state, believe me, no one understands better me -- but if they then go hurt somebody, it`s over. It`s over. They had their chance.

I got to take a quick break. I`m going to keep this conversation going.

And as I`ve said, later, former guest Lizzie beautiful with an update on her journey. There she is.

Stay with us.


PINSKY: We have been discussing the tragic consequences of people using substances and driving. Thus far, we`ve been talking about alcoholics. Some people driving.

But listen, abusers of substances, you don`t have to be an addict to get in a car and drive and cause a horrible consequence. When will people get this? Thank God in California we have very stringent laws.

Nina, I want to go to you on something. John and I had said something perhaps glibly. We said you`re either going to kill somebody or yourself or somebody else. I think I misspoke. I think it is far, far, far worse when you hurt somebody else. I`m sure you`ll agree.

WALKER: Well, as was illustrated in the previous conversation, drunk driving affects everyone. It affects the drunk drivers, it affects the victims, the family, the community. The personnel who respond to these horrific crashes. I watched the video of this flaming vehicle and just shook my head. And --

PINSKY: But, Nina, Nina. That`s all you did is shake your head? I would imagine your shudder. Your whole body must have reacted to this.

WALKER: Oh, it did. It did. And it brings up my passion to go out and make a difference. I encourage anybody who`s a victim of a drunk driving crash to reach out to MADD, become an advocate, become the voice for your loved one who was either killed or injured.

MADD last year served over 63,000 victims of drunk driving crashes. It`s one of the secrets that a lot of people don`t know about. They think all we do is fight legislation, but we serve our victims.

I encourage the families of the three victims of this latest crash to reach out, including the driver who was allegedly intoxicated, but I encourage them to reach out to MADD.

PINSKY: OK. Thank you. Thank you, Nina. And thank you all three.

We`re going to keep this going. I want to get more into this. I got a little more time left. I want to get more calls in here to discuss this further. More after the break.


PINSKY: I`m talking to Nina Walker and Stacey Rhodes both of whom lost children to drunk drivers. And John Templeton, who himself driving drunk, killed an individual.

Here`s a question for you guys -- I know what my viewers are sitting here thinking. OK, I got the grief, I got the recovery, I get all these, but what am I supposed to do? I`m going to get in my car on Saturday night, I`m afraid.

What`s the average person to think about the problem of drunk driving on the roads? Stacey?

RHODES: Dr. Drew, if we had somebody that was killed every 52 minutes in this country for no apparent reason whatsoever, it`d be an epidemic. We`d be wanting to know what the heck is going on, how do we fix that. That`s the same with this.

Drinking and driving is no different. Impaired driving is no different. It needs -- we need to pay attention to this. We need to do something drastic about this. This is not just a social situation or a social epidemic. We need to fix this.

How expensive is it to get a cab, you know? Set those plans ahead.



RHODES: I mean, that`s just how I look at it.

PINSKY: Let me go to a caller -- Christina in Idaho, I`m going to try to get as much calls in this segment if I can.

Christina, what you got for us?

CHRISTINA, CALLER FROM IDAHO: When I was 3 years old, four women in a car coming back from Mexico were drunk as skunks. My father was heading down to the -- to the border because he (INAUDIBLE). And these women just went with him head on.

PINSKY: You sound somewhat overcome by the story. When was this? How long ago?

CHRISTINA: I was three years old.

PINSKY: OK. So, you lost your father at three drunk driving. I mean, this problem has been going on forever. It is getting better, guys. It is getting better. John, you have something to say?

JOHN TEMPLETON, DROVE DRUNK, KILLED 18-YEAR-OLD GIRL: Yes, Dr. Drew. I mean, it`s a lethal weapon mixing drinking and driving. I think that education really sat the youngest ages. Children are abusing substances younger than ever. And I think that that sort of attitude leads them to really have a cavalier attitude towards drinking and driving.

PINSKY: And, by the way, we live in a day and age when people are cavalier about pills and pot and other substances. These things impair your ability to drive a vehicle as well. I know the focus has been on alcohol, but people forget, your benzodiazepine, your Xanax, your Valium, your painkiller, your pot, whatever it might be, you are not driving a vehicle normally.

You`re not going to fly a plane. You`re not going to practice medicine on those pills. You shouldn`t be driving a vehicle. Suzanne in North Carolina -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE, NORTH CAROLINA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just want to tell you, in 2009 my family was hit head on by a drunk driver. It was in December, so closer to 2010, but one of my children suffered a cracked vertebra. My husband had internal injuries and a concussion, and I was driving. So, my legs and ankles and feet all had opened fractures and were so badly --

PINSKY: Oh, my goodness!

SUZANNE: Yes. And they were so badly broken that I was given a 50/50 chance of losing them both. And I spent months in a rehab facility or nursing home --

PINSKY: Did you ever meet, Suzanne? Did you ever meet the perpetrator?

SUZANNE: Actually, we had met him before, but he`s a local influential family around here. They run a influential Christian business. So, I did know of his family, but he`s had six DUIs and he`s got --

PINSKY: What state are you in?

SUZANNE: We`re in North Carolina.

PINSKY: Did you guys know about this? My panel? You can get away with six DUIs and no go to prison in North Carolina? Nina, do you have something about that?

NINA WALKER, NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER, MADD: Yes. I do have something to say about that. It is far too common that people have multiple DUIs, which is why MADD advocates the installation of interlocks on vehicles, that you have to blow before you go. So, that people who`ve already broken the law once will have to blow into this device in order for their car to start.

PINSKY: Listen, Nina, you guys, although people abuse substances and get in a car and get in trouble, DUI is a high probability of an alcohol problem. Blow and go. You`ve got to go blow in the device before you drive vehicle. I`m just saying. That should be a -- seems to be like a national standard. Donna in Rhode Island. Donna, what do you got?


PINSKY: Hi, Donna.

DONNA: I was driving an automobile accident. I suffer every day. When you drive drunk -- it doesn`t only affect you. You have to take into consideration that it becomes a burden to those around you. That is --

PINSKY: Donna, I`m not sure I`m hearing your story precisely. Are you saying that you were an intoxicated driver yourself?


PINSKY: And what happened?

DONNA: I went out to the car and I had had an operation. I hadn`t been out in a couple of months.

PINSKY: What were the consequences? What happened?

DONNA: I went to pull over into the right lane --

PINSKY: What happened?

DONNA: I smashed into the car in front of me and that car smashed into the car in front of them.

PINSKY: Is everybody OK?

DONNA: Everybody -- I suffered the most injuries. I needed to get right to all my point knees (ph) and help getting dressed for three months because of the extent of my injuries.

PINSKY: Donna -- Nina, go ahead.

WALKER: Donna, you lived. My daughter didn`t have that opportunity. I`ve often thought about what it would be like if I could care for her if she had injuries. Her life was taken because someone made the choice to drive after drinking. And as Dr. Drew said, it continues on and on and on.

What is it going to take to make people realize the carnage that`s being caused on our roadways so that they will stop doing this?

PINSKY: Stacey, you want to comment as well?

STACEY RHODES, SON KILLED IN DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT: Well, and it`s not as though we`re not an educated society. You hear about this all the time, but the common cliche, unfortunately, that we hear is it`s not going to happen to me. I`m only five minutes from home. You know, that`s unfortunately what happened this weekend. They were close to home, and they didn`t make it home.

PINSKY: That`s right. And I think that`s asymptomatic of a young mind. It`s the youth affected that are disproportionately affected by all this because of how the adolescent brain works. But John, I`m going to let you finish up with a call for recovery for Donna. I feel as though she`s still affected by her condition. What are your words from her

As you know, John, all the bullying -- well, not bulling, all these sort of admonitions and warnings doesn`t affect somebody on substance. So, give her something --

TEMPLETON: We`re all passionate about it.

PINSKY: Give her -- but give Donna a version of how you attract somebody to recovery.

TEMPLETON: You know, Donna, I believe that you`ve suffered enough consequences. You know, I myself sought treatment. And you know, a life in recovery is -- it`s one day at a time. You don`t ever have to pick up the drink again. You know, my family and I now run a substance abuse treatment center.

So, I see the effects of drug and alcohol on people everyday and the effects are devastating. I`m on preservation for life. I`d rather see somebody get help before they end up making a terrible choice like I made, and you know, have to live with those consequences every single day.

PINSKY: And I would say donna, you`ve opened up with describing how you`d been on medication and doctors had prescribed them. It doesn`t matter. It doesn`t matter if doctors are prescribing these things. You don`t operate a vehicle and if you`re having consequences even when a doctor is prescribing them, you want to think about recovery.

John, thank you. Nina, thank you. Stacey, thank you. I really do appreciate it. This is a very tough topic.

Next, another tough topic, online bullying. These bullies have called this young lady the world`s ugliest woman. I choke on that when I have to say that. But Lizzie Beautiful is ready to take on these critics is not a strong enough word, these jerks. Yes. These jerks. The online jerks. Let`s talk about that when we come back.


LIZZIE VELASQUEZ, BULLIES CALL HER "WORLD`S UGLIEST WOMAN": OK. I may have this syndrome, but I think I`m pretty cute no matter what. And I`m pretty funny and I have a good personality.

PINSKY: You don`t have to sell us on that, my dear. That`s pretty obvious.

VELASQUEZ: I`m a catch. I`m not saying that I`m like shy or anything.




PINSKY (voice-over): Former guest, Lizzie Velazquez, made quite an impression the last time she was on this program. Now, 23, she was born with a medical condition so rare that there are only three known cases in the world.

Lizzie says she`s used to standing out, but dealing with bullies like people who went on the internet calling her the world`s ugliest woman is hard. Yet in our beauty obsessed culture, Lizzie finds a way to thrive and inspire.


PINSKY (on-camera): And Lizzie is the author of a new book "Be Beautiful, Be You." And Lizzie, thank you for including us in this book. There`s a picture of you, me, and your mom right in here. That was very kind of you. There`s the same picture.

VELASQUEZ: Of course.

PINSKY: And, so Lizzie, let`s talk about these what I called online jerks. You`re so resilient. You`re so able to allow these things to roll off you without affecting your self-esteem. First question is, how do you do that?

VELASQUEZ: It`s not easy. I will be the first to tell you, it`s not easy. I may have this outer exterior of people saying that she can handle anything. She`s dealt with this for so long. And, to be honest, I`m human. And of course, these things are going to hurt. But at the end of the day, these things are just words.

And, they`re people hiding behind their computers. And yes, they do hurt, but their judgments of me isn`t who I am. And I`m not going to let those things define me. So, I have to remind myself that these people are just going to keep talking about me, but it`s not going to hold me back.

PINSKY: Do you ever wonder who these people are? Do you have any sense -- I mean, do you encounter them out in the world?


PINSKY: Yes. Tell me about that.

VELASQUEZ: Yes. I wonder, I wonder, the people who think that -- the people who do call me the ugliest woman in the world. I wonder, well, what do you look like? How are you so much better than I am? Just because I have a syndrome, you think you`re a model? So, I really do wonder.

And these people, again, are mostly anonymous people. So, if they`re so proud of who they are, they would show their face, but they don`t.

PINSKY: And I want to remind people that we keep calling this a medical condition. If I`m right, Lizzie, their basic condition is you were born with no fat, no adipose tissue. You don`t play (ph) adipose down anywhere.


PINSKY: Otherwise, you`re OK.


PINSKY: And then how about out in the world? Do you have trouble with them out in the world or how people respond to you? And then how do you manage that?

VELASQUEZ: Yes. I wouldn`t say trouble. I think the biggest things that I have to deal with is constantly people staring at me as soon as I walk into the room. And recently, it`s been a lot of adults that I`ve been having to deal with who will slowly walk in front of me and kind of turn their heads and look me up and down.

So, the stares are kind of what I`m really dealing with in public right now. But, again, I think I`m getting to the point where I`m not going to let that continue. And instead of just sitting by and watching these people judge me, I`m starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself or give them my card and say hi, I`m Lizzie, maybe you should stop staring and start learning. So, that`s kind of how I deal with it.

PINSKY: And that`s fantastic, Lizzie. And let me just ask this. Now, in this sort of beauty obsessed culture we live in, most young women feel deficient. Do you have any kind of special insight because of what you contend with that gives you a special empathy for just women at large in this country?

VELASQUEZ: Yes, definitely. And to be honest, I feel like I`m really glad that I don`t look like the celebrities out there who are so beautiful and so great and have all these wonderful qualities, because, to me, I feel like being that person, there`s a lot of stereotypes attached to that. And people think, well, she`s so pretty, she must be really dumb.

Or, she must only be into herself and that kind of thing. And since I don`t look like that person and many people in this world don`t look like your average supermodel, it`s better, because it gives people the opportunity to get to know you personally. And if they`re willing to take that extra step, they`ll get to know the person that you really are.

And again, it`s something that`s not easy. And I do feel really bad for people who struggle with that inability of knowing that people can do that.

PINSKY: It`s interesting, Lizzie. I haven`t seen you in probably a year or year and a half. You`re now senior in college, and I can see more growth, still more growth from you. And I thought you were pretty amazing last time around.

VELASQUEZ: Thank you.

PINSKY: Let`s take a quick call here. Robin in Kentucky -- Robin.


PINSKY: Robin, what you got for me?

ROBIN: I don`t think she`s ugly. Beauty comes from the heart. There`s a lot of people that are physically beautiful that are dark in their heart and they`re not beautiful at all.

PINSKY: That`s right. And the people that are dark in their heart are the ones attacking her. What do we do with these online bullies? Hasn`t this gotten out of control?

ROBIN: Cut them off.

VELASQUEZ: Yes. Cut them off, I agree.

PINSKY: It`s easy to say that, and I guess we have that power. And if that gives you the satisfaction of just blocking, then go ahead. But just the fact that those people are out there and feel entitled to say that kind of thing to you really bothers me.

All right. We`re taking a quick break, and then, we`re going to keep this conversation going with Lizzie and our callers and introduce somebody very special in Lizzie`s life after this.


PINSKY: I am back with 23-year-old Lizzie Velazquez. She suffers from a rare medical condition, yet, she doesn`t let that get her down. She`s about to graduate from college. And sitting next to her there is Roman Arispe, her best friend and college roommate. Now, Roman, you met Lizzie six years ago. What was your initial impression and how did you go from that meeting to now roommates?

ROMAN ARISPE, LIZZIE`S BEST FRIEND & ROOMMATE: My initial impression was that she was different. But I think unlike many other people who maybe were quick to judge and everything, for me, it was more like I was very intrigued, and I just really wanted to be her friend. And I remember that was my initial reaction is that I wanted to meet her and I wanted her to be my friend. So, luckily, it happened.

PINSKY: Yes. And she must have really impressed you as a person to sort of make that connection. And the other thing is she`s not your average friend. You know, her condition makes her a bit fragile.

I mean, it`s not like you can meet her somewhere and then see you later, get the subway home, because she needs help getting around a little bit sometimes, right? It`s much more of a commitment than average.


PINSKY: Tell me about that.

ARISPE: Yes. Well, at first, it took some getting used to. Sometimes, I would forget that there was like assistance that needed to be -- that she needed from me. Like, sometimes, we would go somewhere walking, like, at night. If we were on campus, we`d go out to eat.

I would just need to make sure that she could see, like, where she was walking, make sure that she doesn`t trip anywhere. The small things like that that I`m very used to now. But it wasn`t really that hard to get used to it.

PINSKY: Speaking of used to, Roman, do you -- do you react to people that are unkind to her?

ARISPE: Oh, yes. Definitely. Well, I could think of a number of times, but usually, it`s just when we`re, of course, in a public setting. It`s usually when we`re just eating dinner or something out in public like at a restaurant.

PINSKY: What do you do?

ARISPE: Usually -- well, usually we`re eating. And usually, we have -- we see like in the corner of our eyes, people staring. And that`s usually, like, a problem, of course, because nobody wants to be stared at while they`re just hanging out with their best friend.

So, there was an instance one time where a woman was staring at us, like, right next to our table, and it was very uncomfortable for us both, of course.

PINSKY: What did you do? Did you say something?

ARISPE: Yes. I asked her if we could help her with anything or if she needed anything from us, because she was obviously staring at my friend.

PINSKY: Now, Lizzie, I see you looking with great affection towards Roman. You love him. He`s your best friend.

VELASQUEZ: We joke around way too much to admit to each other that we are very fond of each other, but yes, we are best friends.

PINSKY: Suzette in Michigan, you have a comment.

SUZETTE, MICHIGAN: I do, Dr. Drew. Hi.

PINSKY: Hi, Suzette.

SUZETTE: Honestly, she`s not ugly. I don`t even understand why people would even label her as such. God gave us all a unique identity and look. And I think she`s more beautiful than any Hollywood starlet.

PINSKY: Well, that`s -- yes. That`s why we like working with Lizzie. We see the same thing. And I bet, Roman, you more than anybody, you know, just like eventually somebody just becomes their external appearance, it`s just them. You just know -- that`s Lizzie now when you look across at her now, right?

ARISPE: Yes, exactly. And I think that`s one thing that just maybe I don`t remember a lot is that when I look at her, I don`t really see Lizzie with a syndrome. I see a person who`s my best friend who we know almost everything about each other.

PINSKY: That`s right.

ARISPE: So, I don`t see appearance. I just see someone who is fun.


ARISPE: And we talk about things and we hang out with our friends.

PINSKY: That is a great -- I got to run, but that is a great place for me to leave this conversation, that you really get a sense of how you guys navigate this and how much Lizzie is just Lizzie. She`s the person we love and why we ask her back here, too, Roman. So, she`s on our favorite list.

Lizzie`s book is called "Be Beautiful, Be You." Go to to find out how you can get your own copy. Again, thank you, Lizzie and Roman. And couple thoughts about 9/11 after the break.


PINSKY: I don`t think I need to remind people that it is 9/11. And just a couple quick thoughts and maybe a call. I actually went to New York City about a week after the event, walked all the way down to the towers, and I felt I had to pay tribute. My wife tweeted this morning, we must never forget, and I absolutely agree with that.

And I will never forget the pictures the children had drawn that they posted all up and down the streets. And one particularly stayed with me which was the towers on a cloud with wings. And, we can`t ever forget this. Thousands of people lost their lives needlessly. It was a terrible tragedy. I remember when I put my triplets in the car that morning.

We all watched the whole thing unfold. Of course, the kids didn`t really understand what was going on, but I put them in the car and I said, (INAUDIBLE) something, things will never be the same.

Justin in New York, you have a comment for me?

JUSTIN, NEW YORK: Yes, Dr. Drew. Thanks for taking my call. I just remember that day and you`re right. Like, it was just a very somber day. And I now (INAUDIBLE) and I`m just picking my brain, like, knowing that potentially I have to tell my kids what happened. I was just wondering how you would approach that.

PINSKY: Telling your children?


PINSKY: Just matter of fact. Just the history as it unfolded. I wouldn`t sugar coat anything. I would just -- it`s part of our heritage now as a country, as a collective, collective population. Tamera in Maryland -- Tamera.

TAMERA, MARYLAND: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thank you for taking my call. Just a few quick thoughts. I grew up in a military family. And my sister was actually in the Pentagon the day the plane hit. And it really impacted my family tremendously.

PINSKY: I can just imagine. I have to go, Tamera. My thoughts are with you. I`m flying, actually, tonight on 9/11 and I actually flew -- when I flew in that week after the event, the captain flew right over the site and tipped his wings in honor of the people that lost their lives that day. And I suggest we all take a beat, think about this, and never forget.

Thank you all for watching. Thank you for calling. Thank you to my guest. We`ll see you next time. And a reminder, Nancy Grace begins right now.