Everybody said the same thing. She had just called them and she’d seemed so happy; she couldn’t be gone. This news felt impossible.
Photo credit: Valerie Handy Carey, holding a photo of her daughter
33-year-old Brittany Glover was always checking in on people. Relatives young and old, friends, and colleagues. If she met you? Right now? In one minute, she’d discover something you had in common. In five, you’d be friends. That’s how she was.
Except now, Brittany Glover — who ran a popular vegan soul food truck and catering business and who had just completed flight attendant training so she could travel the world — would never check in on anyone again. The evening of Sunday, September 18th, she had talked to her mother, Valerie Handy Carey. Some friends were taking Brittany to an outdoor music event on Atlanta’s west side. She didn’t really feel up to it but was rallying. “I’ll let you know how it is,” she told her mom. Those were the last words Valerie Handy Carey would hear her youngest daughter say.
Atlanta was a stop-over for Brittany, a way station between Houston, where she was set to move for her airline job, and her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She loved to travel and was learning several languages, including Spanish, to prepare for her new life. In a few months, she would finally visit Jamaica, a place that held a longtime fascination for her. “I’ll be the tour guide,” Brittany had told her girlfriends. To the delight of some relatives with Jamaican roots, she’d even learned Jamaican patois. This impressed and tickled her mother. “I’d say to her, ‘What’s going on, island girl?’ And she’d just start in. That’s one of the fun things about her that I’ll always miss.”
Valerie also misses working side-by-side with her daughter at Brittany’s popular vegan soul food truck and catering business, serving up vegan banana pudding, Oreo cookie souffle, and soul food classics like fried “chicken,” mixed greens, and mac and cheese. “You name pretty much any regular food, and she could turn it into a vegan dish.” This was the source of the business’s tongue-in-cheek name: “Oh Sh*t, It’s Vegan?!” Once her airline career was off the ground, Brittany had plans to publish a cookbook.
On August 29th, 2022, Brittany graduated from a rigorous six-week flight attendant training. Three weeks later, she was crossing Hollowell Parkway after that night out with friends when a motorist struck and killed her before speeding away. Months later, Valerie Handy Carey still hopes the driver comes forward. “I want to believe that there’s some compassion in this person.”
Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway: Google Maps streetview January 2023
Police said Brittany Glover wasn’t in a crosswalk when she was struck. However, there was no crosswalk in sight. In the past decade, more than 20 pedestrians have been killed on Hollowell Parkway, one of ten streets that account for a full third of Atlanta’s pedestrian deaths. All ten of the streets in the city’s High Injury Network are in neighborhoods with lower median incomes, a larger share of Black residents, higher rates of walking and using transit to get to work, and lower rates of car ownership. In other words, these are the places that could benefit most from street features that keep pedestrians safe. Instead, they’re the places that tend to lack such features.
At Brittany Glover’s homegoing service, there was shock. But there was also storytelling. Among cousins and siblings; old mentors and new colleagues. People Brittany had turned into friends by transforming a moment’s chance meeting into lifelong friendship. “See, she was gonna find a connection there somewhere,” says Valerie. She pauses. “But I do hate that she didn’t get to live it all the way out.”
Photo credit: Valerie Handy Carey