A PUNCH in the face ruined his night but had Steve Wilkes not been so lucky, it could have taken his life.
This weekend will mark a year since Mr Wilkes was king hit while enjoying a night out with his wife Nicole and friends in Toowoomba's CBD.
Mr and Mrs Wilkes, who both work at Hutchinson Builders, were out for a few drinks after last year's work Christmas party when they decided to get some late night takeaway from Charcoal Chicken in Margaret St.
Their four children were being looked after by their neighbours, allowing the couple a rare chance to step out for the evening.
"We were with a couple of other friends and we were just standing out the front of The Cube (Hotel) eating our chips, just talking," Mr Wilkes said.
"He has just come in... grabbed a handful of chips and started running."
Mr Wilkes turned to say something to the guy.
"As I have turned around he has just punched me and that's the last thing I knew."
His wife recounted the horror that unfolded in front of her.
She said two men had come out of the pub together.
One of them punched her husband.
"I just remember Steve falling, he just fell and just smacked his head on the concrete, like he was out cold when they hit him," Mrs Wilkes said.
"He was lying on the ground, it took him a while to come around and even when he did come around he wasn't very responsive.
"He was slurring and didn't make any sense and he was bleeding, he was bleeding from the lip."
The men fled, while police, paramedics and security staff from the hotel came to Mr Wilkes' aid.
"It was just horrific.
"Obviously, we have four kids - we don't go out very often so it was a horrible end to a good night."
The effects did not end there.
Mr Wilkes was discharged from hospital the next day but had to have three weeks off work.
He could not convert his thoughts into words.
"He even came back to work I think in the first week or so and everyone was so worried about him because he just wasn't him," Mrs Wilkes said.
"It really took him a few weeks to get over."
The emotional damage has also lasted.
TOP STORIES ONLINE TODAY
- VIDEO: Schoolyard bullies encourage brutal bashing
- Brutal coward punch leaves Toowoomba dad for dead
- Community mourns grandmother's car crash death
- Maiden Wellcamp Airport flight connects Downs family
- Bashing victim wants coward brought to justice
- Seven things to tell your Schoolie before it’s too late
- Brisbane man killed after being shot twice by police
"I can just be sitting at home and I just start thinking about it and start thinking about how I could have left my kids and my wife," Mr Wilkes said.
"We've got such a tight family and a happy family and it could have all ended and it really scares the living crap out of me."
He said he was concerned about his children going out once they were old enough.
"I would hope by the time that they get to that age that something is done about these cowards, I guess you could call them.
"Something is done to stop the violence and stupidity."
By taking the #HandsOff promise, you pledge:
- Not to participate in, or condone by being silent, any form of street or late-night violence; and
- To report any incidents of such violence to the relevant establishment and authorities
Please share that link with your friends, your family and your social networks and online groups - post it on facebook, tweet about it with the #handsoff hashtag, or simply email your friends and family. This is a community issue and it needs a community approach.
We've just taken the lead.
It's now up to you to really make a positive difference.
Have you, your family or friends been affected by violence? We would love you to share your story.
Your story is the most powerful way to bring about change. You can share your story easily here, on our website, via our Share Your Story page.
If you want you could also make a short YouTube video telling your story and why you support the #HandsOff campaign. Just remember to send us the link so we can share it with others.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.