The events that went down in Las Vegas on October 1st, 2017 were indescribable.
The last 30+ hours have been a blur. I first learned about the shooting from a Facebook post by a former co-worker who linked the Las Vegas Police Department scanner stream. I turned on the local news and immediately started to hear all the sirens.
I live half a mile from the University Medical Center Level 1 Trauma Center and had the front door of my house wide open. I felt the screaming sirens in my chest. I began to text friends to make sure they were safe, checking friends Facebook pages marking themselves safe. I didn't want to call my family in Arizona and wake them, but I knew this would be the first thing they would see when they woke up so I decided to send them a text to assure them I was safe.
I had a couple of different text exchanges with friends sharing our disbelief in what was unfolding before our eyes. I was sitting on my couch watching the news and listening to the sirens. When I saw that people were using their pickup trucks to transport the injured to UMC, I couldn't help but think to myself I cannot just sit here and do nothing. Anything. I'll use my Jeep to help get people out of there or get them to safety, home, hotels, whatever.
I noticed that the media wasn't saying much about blood donations at the time and based on the amount of gunshots I could hear from all the videos, I knew the projected number for injured at 100 people had to be incorrect. Blood was going to be needed, and quickly. I tweeted out a reminder, tagging media outlets hoping people would start spreading the word and getting the community to their nearest blood donation center.
As soon as I heard the roads were open, I jumped in my Jeep and went for it. I didn't care if it was just one person that I got to safety. I knew plenty of people that were at the concert and for the locals, they were likely not able to get to their cars. Tourists wouldn't know where to go, bodies needed to get to hospitals, I just wanted to get there to help people get to safety.
I picked up a couple of girls who were in shock. I dropped them off at a gas station where they were going to meet family coming to pick them up. They just wanted to get as far away as they could. I turned back around and picked up another couple. They were hesitant to get into a complete strangers vehicle and I assured them I was a local just trying to help. They told me they lived far and I said " I don't care, just get in". They said again, "we live really far, on the southwest side of town" and I repeated again, "I don't care, get in and I'll get you home".
They got in and I tried to turn the heat on since it was a little chilly that night and I didn't have the top on my Jeep. I wanted to try to make them as comfortable as possible. The guy kept saying to his girlfriend "I didn't think we were going to make it. I thought that was the last time I was going to see you". I didn't really know what to say, I just wanted to let them know they were going to be okay and that I'd get them to safety. Half way to their apartment the girl in the backseat says "This is so scary. I work on the strip and we had some recent shootings right outside of Paris". I said "I know, I have a couple of clients that face the strip outside of Paris" and then she tells me she works for HEXX kitchen + bar. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Of all the people that I could have picked up on the side of the road trying to get away from the devastation that occurred, I picked up a girl who works for my very first client I signed when I started my company, ELVN Digital.
After I dropped them off at their apartment, the guy was trying to give me gas money and I refused, I wasn't trying to take any money. When they got out of my Jeep they both gave me a huge hug, and when I was leaving the parking lot and looked over to see them embracing each other. Almost like a sense of relief knowing they were home and they were safe.
I drove back towards Mandalay Bay and tried to see if there was anyone else I could pick up. The police started to block off more streets and it was hard to get to more people. I went on a couple more back roads and decided I was going to head straight to the blood donation center. It was 4 a.m. and I didn't even know if the center would be open, but I'd show up and stand in line if I had to. There was about 100-150 people already there. I shared across all social channels that this location was open and if anyone wanted to help, this was a place that could use donations, blood donors, food, water, blankets etc.
I was so proud to see the Las Vegas Community coming together to do our part in saving lives
Over the next several hours the donations were pouring in and the line was down the street.
After waiting in line for six hours, I was finally able to get in a chair and donate blood. My single donation could help save up to three lives.
I started to get several messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook from media outlets asking me for content. I was just trying to keep people informed of what was occurring in the community and my whereabouts. I wanted to communicate through social media what we could do to help. I never thought my photos and videos would reach so many. I hoped that I could give one person the courage to donate blood if they had never done it before. I hope it encouraged one person to ask themselves "what could I do to help". I hope it gave just one person the inspiration to help a complete stranger in need. We should do this as a community, but even more, as humans.
Be kind to people.