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This Woman Married The Man Who Saved Her Life During The Las Vegas Shooting

Chantal Melanson met her future husband Austin Monfort at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival just 24 hours before the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Austin approached Chantal on the dance floor at Gilley’s, the famous country music bar.

At first, she made fun of him for not wearing cowboy boots, but once they got to talking, Chantal told Metro.co.ukΒ “It just felt like we knew each other forever. We went to grab a bite after the bar and exchanged numbers.”

The shooting that would go down in history as one of the worst mass shootings ever to occur in AmericaΒ took place the very next day.

Stephen Paddock killed fifty-nine festival-goers and injured 869 of the 22,000 attendees from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel before taking his own life.

After the tragedy, Chantal returned to her native Canada and Austin went home to California. They kept in close contact via FaceTime and soon fell in love.

Chantal says, “There was a reason we met when we did. We needed each other in this chaos.” Chantal, now 29, attended the festival on a whim because a friend had offered her a spare ticket. She took a few days off to travel to Las Vegas for the three-day event.

Early the next day after their initial meeting at Gilley’s, Chantal and Austin met up at the festival where they danced and enjoyed the day with their friends.

At 10 PM, as Jason Aldean performed on stage, Paddock opened fire. “We thought it was fireworks at the beginning since all big concerts usually have some kind of fireworks, however when it wasn’t stopping, everyone dropped to the ground,” Chantal said.

“We were on the ground across from each other so we both were looking at each other. We stayed on the ground for a while and the shots were not stopping.”

“Everyone ran in different directions but Austin stayed with me and we ran together. We ran across the entire festival grounds stopping a few times to get shelter,” Chantal told Metro.co.uk.

Chantal and Austin hailed a taxi to escape to safety but when they saw a woman who’d been shot in the stomach and leg limping toward them, they rerouted to the hospital.

The couple rode out the citywide lockdown in response to the shooting and spent the night at the hospital.

Chantal said Austin “held me throughout the night and kept me safe. After what we had just gone through, he was my safe place.”

Once she was safe at home she explained how Austin “was the only person I wanted to talk to. It just felt so right and safe talking to him after what we went through.”

The long-distance couple alternated visiting one another, never spending more than 6 weeks apart. Austin proposed to Chantal on March 8, 2019, in Laguna Beach after 18 months together.

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Less than 24hours of meeting each other we were in a mass shooting together and he never left my side. Almost two years later, living in two different country, we have a fairytale love story πŸ’• . Friday March 8th we headed to our favourite place to unwind Laguna Beach 🏝 we got ourselves a cute hotel room and we really didn’t make any plans other than spend time together and relax. It was a windy and chilly day by the water but we bundled up, Austin even wearing cowboys on the beach. Once we got down to thousand steps beach Austin gave me a hug. Right away I could feel his heart beating out of his chest. I asked him if everything was okay? . That’s when he looked at me got down on one knee, reached in his cowboy boot and made me the happiest girl in the world πŸ’ . We sat on the beach, cracked open a beer and soaked it all in πŸ’• the night was followed by an amazing dinner and celebration drinks at our favourite rooftop bar @skyloftoc . . #longdistancerelationship #isaidyes #engaged #fiance #heasked #howheasked #proposalstory #lagunabeachproposal #followforfollow #proposal #lovestory #howwemet #ourstory #ourlovestory #huffpostido #followourlovestory #lovejourney #followus #couplegoals #coupleinfluencer #influencer #k1visa #k1fiancevisa #sandiegoblogger #fiancevisa #route91strong #route91family #route91harvest #route91survivors #tragedytolove

A post shared by πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έπ—”&𝗖 πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦| Couple Blog | Love (@tragedytolove) on

Chantal recounts the proposal: “Laguna has been our little getaway since our relationship started. We loved to escape to Laguna for a day or two and just soak all of it in, just me and him.”

“He brought me to our favorite beach and there was no one around. It was perfect.”

“His heart was beating out of his chest when he gave me a hug and he got down on one knee and proposed, followed by a beautiful three-course meal.”

Austin even pulled the engagement ring from one of the cowboy boots he’d worn to the beach for the proposal.

The couple was legally married last November and had planned to return to Las Vegas for a wedding party with family and friends before having to postpone the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Having navigated immigration policies, Chantal has been granted a visa and waits on her green card.

Currently, Austin and Chantel are grateful to be able to quarantine together in the same country. The couple looks forward to celebrating their wedding after the lockdown is lifted.

h/t Metro.co.uk

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