NASCAR driver Kyle Busch gets his share of boos at tracks around the country. The talented driver has seemingly taken on the title of the driver everyone loves to hate, and some of his actions might make NASCAR fans think he likes that role just fine.
Yet, at his core, Kyle is a human being with feelings — and a human being who had a role in saving someone’s life.
That someone is named Chris Brunelle, a war veteran who was nearly killed back in 2005 when his Humvee was blown up by a suicide bomber. While Brunelle recovered from his physical injuries, his emotional injuries never fully healed, eventually leading Chris to the decision that he needed to end his life.
“I said, ‘The hell with it,’” Chris recently told NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck. “I’m gonna finish this. I’m going to drink this beer and then I’m going to end it all. I’m done fighting and arguing. This is fighting a fight you can’t win.”
Just then, his daughter came outside, and told her dad that she loved him, which was enough for Chris to stop, walk in the house and turn on a NASCAR race, where he watched an uplifting story about none other than Kyle Busch.
“I’ve seen a lot of people hurt and messed up, so you grow immune to stuff like that,” Chris said. “But I saw that story and the good Lord meant for me to see it that day. It made something click inside. It made me think. And from that day on, it’s been different.”
Chris went on to send Kyle his Purple Heart medal, and Kyle now displays it at his race shop. And while Kyle and Chris have never met, Chris stays in daily communication with Kyle’s father-in-law.
“People don’t understand what these guys have done,” Chris said. “People want to see the bad and no one wants to see the good. I’ve seen so much bad in my life.”