The September 30, 2017 Austin Monfort saw Chantal Melanson in a bar Country music in Las Vegas. He was drawn to it and tried to connect, but she rejected it. She was with a group of her friends, with whom she had traveled since Canada, where he lived, to participate in the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day cycle of country performers. One of them also pointed out that Monfort did not have cowboy boots. He accepted the joke and left them alone.
A little later the young man of California He made a new attempt, and Melanson agreed to dance with him. They talked for hours. "He struck me as charming, as well as handsome and tall," she told People. "It was very easy to talk to him, it seemed that we knew each other forever." Then they exchanged their phone numbers.
The next night, the October 1stShe sent him a text to meet at the festival and watch the latest performances together. They were listening to the end of Jason Aldean concert when Stephen Paddock started to shoot over the crowd of 22,000 from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, and caused 58 deaths (one more almost two years later) and more than 800 injured before committing suicide.
Were 15 minutes of incessant shooting
The questions echoed in Monfort's mind -"I am going to survive?", "How much longer will the police take?", "How could we get out of here?" - while Melanson felt paralyzed by the panic.
Survived. And they continued to see each other, with mutual visits to California and Canada. And they fell in love and had planned a great wedding for May 8. But although the COVID-19 got in the way of those plans, they celebrated an intimate marriage as well and shared it in the social networks.
"I felt an impulse of responsibility for Chantal," said Monfort. “She was with me instead of being with her friends. I felt that not only did I have to find how to get out myself but also how to get her out. Keeping her quiet and taking her out kept me calm. ”
"I remember I was lying on the floor, looking Austin in the eye, trying to understand what was going on, "said Melanson. "The next thing I remember is that Austin took my hand and we ran all over the field trying to get to a safe place. "
Then the ambulances, the police, the media arrived. Austin and Chantal were referred to the hospital, where they verified that they were well. They had met 24 hours before and they had shared the most intense experience of their lives. The next day he returned to San Diego and she returned to Canada.
"While listening to music country and we were dancing, suddenly we were on the ground while the shots seemed to come from all directions. Austin never walked away from me that night, "recalled Melanson on his Instagram account, called tragedytolove (from tragedy to love). "Complete strangers holding hands, we ran around the festival grounds trying to escape the shooting"
Six weeks later he traveled to Canada: It was the maximum time they have been separated since then. Now she moved to California, where they got engaged in March 2019 and married on March 8, 2020. "Having lived together that terrible trauma it certainly brought us closer, ”Melanson told Oxygen.com. "He created a safe space for me. I knew exactly what had happened to me, and vice versa. ”
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