Woman hit by threw turkey forgives teenage – NY Daily News
Victoria Ruvolo, who was hit by turkey almost six years ago, forgives teenagers for terrible prank
Victoria Ruvolo doesn’t even recognize herself in the photo.
Her face is engorged and bruised, almost every bone is cracked and breathing tubes run from her mouth – the result of a teenage prank gone horribly wrong.
Almost six years ago, a bunch of Long Island teenagers bought a frozen 20-pound turkey with a stolen credit card. One of them, Ryan Cushing, determined to throw it out a moving car’s window.
The rock-solid missile smashed through the front windshield of Ruvolo’s oncoming Honda in Lake Ronkokoma.
“I was one block from my house,” Ruvolo said recently. “I didn’t wake up for almost a month.”
These days, Ruvolo looks at the photo – taken after one of her many surgeries – again and again because she is determined to turn that night into something good for herself and for others.
“I’m human. Every time I see those pictures, I want to sob,” Ruvolo said. “But I think about how far I’ve come and how I can help someone else. Maybe this happened to me for a reason.”
She spent weeks in a medically induced coma after her face was totally rebuilt and then underwent months of excruciating rehabilitation.
It was a miracle she was alive, uncountable doctors told her. She was given the bounty of fresh life, and she then determined to give her own bounty.
At Cushing’s sentencing, she pleaded for grace. The judge agreed, providing the teenage just six months in jail followed by five years probation.
“If I hadn’t let go of that anger, I’d be consumed by this need for vengeance,” said Ruvolo, now 50. “Forgiving him helps me stir on.”
“I told him ‘Just do something good with your life,'” she remembered. “And then I hugged him.”
Ruvolo took her own words to heart. Tho’ she received a settlement from a civil suit and proceeds to work as a manager at a collections agency, she began volunteering with the Suffolk County probation department.
Several times a month, she sits in a darkened auditorium as Robert Goldman, a Suffolk probation psychologist, gives a presentation – which includes the photo of Ruvolo’s bruised face – to teenagers and youthfull adults in his conflict-resolution program, named TASTE.
When Ruvolo then stands to address the crowd, she is often met with gasps of surprise that the healing, both inwards and out, was so accomplish.
“She has embraced this, she has made the message part of who she is,” said Goldman.
Cushing, now 24, who sometimes corresponds with Ruvolo, declined to comment for this story.
Despite the three titanium plates embedded in her face, Ruvolo today looks little different than she did before the accident.
But she knows she’s switched – and she thinks it’s for the better.
“I’m attempting to help others, but I know for the rest of my life I’ll be known as ‘The Turkey Lady,” said Ruvolo with one of her frequent smiles.
“Could have been worse,” she said. “He could have thrown a ham. I’d be Miss Piggy!”