A man and a woman nearly died when they were involved in the Las Vegas Shooting but fell in love instead. The pair have since shared about their planned May 2020 wedding and revealed more details about their love story.
On September 30, 2017, Austin Monfort, from California, noticed Chantal Melanson from Canada, for the first time at a Las Vegas country bar. The pair, who didn’t know each other then, were in town for the Route 91 Harvest three-day festival.
On the second night of the festival, Monfort, 24, approached Melanson, 29, but was rejected. The Canadian native explained: "I was with my girls and I gave him a hard time for not wearing cowboy boots at a country bar.”
The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign adorned with flowers on October 9, 2017, a week after the mass shooting | Photo: Wikimedia/Rmvisuals/Lasvegassignflowers/CC BY-SA 4.0
STRANGERS GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
Instead of giving up, Monfort went up to Melanson later on and asked her to dance. Giving in, the pair ended up dancing and talking for hours before exchanging numbers.
Melanson recalled: "He was so easy to talk to, it felt like we knew each other forever." On October 1, 2017, the following night, he texted her asking for her company at the festival before it ended.
INVOLVED IN MASS SHOOTING
However, things turned tragic as gunshots rang out from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, was firing from his broken hotel window at the crowd of 22,000 concertgoers.
Monfort and Melanson initially thought they were hearing fireworks but she started panicking when they realized it was gunshots. He reacted by trying to protect her and guide them to safety.
LAS VEGAS SHOOTING VICTIMS
The Canadian recalled: "Next thing I knew, Austin was holding my hand and we were running through the entire grounds trying to make it to safety." The gunman ended up killing 59 people and more than 800 others were injured.
VICTIMS STAY IN CONTACT
Monfort and Melanson stayed together until the next morning when they had to go their separate ways. The duo stayed in touch over the next months and started developing feelings for each other.
In March 2019, the pair got engaged when Melanson visited California. They later married in a San Diego courthouse and planned a traditional celebration which was meant to happen on May 8, 2020.
POSTPONING WEDDING DAY
In an Instagram post on the day that was supposed to be their wedding day, the couple shared the things they were grateful for. Melanson’s visa was approved, the couple has been living together for 6 months, and they’re now quarantined together against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On October 1, 2019, survivors of the mass shooting recalled the tragic events of that day to pay tribute to its anniversary.
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