With all of the terrorist attacks and horrible crime happening in our world, I wanted to share with you guys a couple of incidents that I experienced first hand that were both scary and eye opening. Both incidents happened in the SoCal area within the past 7 years.
Fashion Island: December 15, 2012
The first time was at Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach, one day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It was the day before I was suppose to fly home to Minneapolis for the holidays. I wanted to do some shopping before I headed to the Stevie Wonder in LA that night.
I was in Nordstroms getting a makeover when suddenly, the ground started rumbling. At first I thought it was an earthquake, but then I saw all of these people dashing through the doors and heading towards the back. Is there a celebrity in here that I don’t know about? was my second thought. Suddenly, a man that came running through the door screamed, “there’s been a shooting, run!”
At first you feel stunned, then panic sets in. I dashed to the back of the store and went down the stairs, which lead to the outside grounds of the mall. I started hearing rumors that the shooting happened inside Macys and that people in the store were “locked down” by emergency personnel so that they could investigate the area. Unfortunately, my car was parked over on that side, so I walked the long way around back to my car and drove out safely. Never in my life have I moved so fast. The whole situation took me about 15 minutes to get out of. You can read and watch more about my encounter from KEYT-TV and CBS LA.
I later found out that the individual who fired the gun shot 54 rounds into the air and never once entered Macys. The man ended up getting 12 years in prison and luckily no one was injured. You can read more about the incident from the LA Times.
LAX Delta Terminal: December 21, 2016
The second time was at LAX where I was once again, heading home for the holidays. I was supposed to take a Delta flight out. That day security was beyond tight, more than I had seen it any other time I flew home for the holidays, and it took me 45 minutes to get to my terminal with the parking shuttle. Once I checked in my bags, I learned that the TSA machines were broken. I have been in this situation before and it is not fun. Obviously, the first thing you think is, crap, I don’t want to miss my flight!
Luckily, I was near the back of the line and a TSA agent told some of us to walk to the American Airlines terminal, go through TSA there and then take the underground tunnel back up to the Delta terminal. I followed instructions and before you knew it, I was sitting with a nice Bloody Mary at Rock & Brews.
Moments later, I saw a barrier go up on either side of the walkway while a policeman and a bomb sniffing dog investigated a mysterious bag. In this situation, I had no place to run or hide and the police were not evacuating us out of the terminal. I literally remember drinking my Bloody Mary fast, thinking that if something were to happen, at least I could feel buzzed. Luckily, the policeman and dogs moved 10 minutes later with the bag and no harm was caused. I later learned that there were suspicious bags left at the United, Delta and American Airlines terminals within a 2 hour span. My flight was only delayed by 30 minutes. You can read more about the incident from CBS LA.
It’s not fun to ever be in these types of situations. Obviously, mine could’ve been a lot worse and thank god they weren’t, but the reality is that they can happen anytime, anywhere and anyplace, even in what seems to be a safe and normal environment. The most important thing you can do is to react, protect and move yourself and your loved ones if you are with them to a safer area if you can. Guardian angels are watching over us, I know they are for me! 🙂