'I'll never be the same and neither will Las Vegas;' Woman survives mass shooting
Survivor flies to San Antonio to be with family
SAN ANTONIO – She and her city will never be the same. A woman living in Las Vegas flew back to San Antonio Tuesday night to see her parents after surviving the mass shooting at a country concert Sunday night.
Lauren Dickover is now living with the kind of trauma that never leaves a person.
"It's scary. You don't ever know how you're going to react or how you're going to feel until you've actually been through that situation. I pray to God no one else is," Dickover said.
Like many others, she first thought the gunshots were fireworks.
"I mean, Jason Aldean is a very pyrotechnic person. He always has fireworks and fun things at his shows. I've been to a few of them," Dickover said.
Then reality set in as she saw people drop to the ground and Aldean run off the stage.
"It just became chaos," she said, tearfully. "I was with my boyfriend and his son, and we just grabbed hands and kind of dropped and fell on top of him. There were these three tower suites. We were lucky to be close to them and we ran and hid under them. Once it kind of got quiet for a minute, we looked at each other and were like, 'We gotta go. We gotta run.' And we just took off."
After surviving the mass shooting, Dickover immediately booked a flight to San Antonio to be with family.
"My mom and dad are both here," she said, standing at baggage claim at the San Antonio airport. "You just need a mom hug sometimes."
Dickover was supposed to get to San Antonio on Wednesday, but many airlines are offering free flight changes to people coming from Vegas, so she was able to arrive Tuesday.
"I'm so grateful to Southwest. I just booked the flight at 2 p.m. and got straight on the plane," she said.
Dickover works at the Cosmopolitan Hotel concierge desk on the Las Vegas strip, not far from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the shooter was stationed. She hopes the shooting won't stop people from visiting Las Vegas.
"It's such a small, tight community here. People come to visit from all over, and you become attached to your guests and those become your family, too," she said. "We welcome tourists, and that’s what we want. Now, we just don’t want them to be scared. We want to show them that we can come together as a community. We still want you to come here."
She's felt confident, seeing the love pouring in from around the nation and the world. She said the support she sees is badly needed.
Through tears, she said, "There's so many people still hurt and so many people fighting for their lives, but, yeah, I'm OK. I have a couple bruises and, you know, I'm lucky."
After a tragedy like this, one thing, in particular, is necessary.
"Give someone a hug. Tell them you love them," Dickover said, hoping love can replace some of the pain.
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