Woman marries the man who helped save her life in the Las Vegas mass shooting

Austin Monfort was hanging out at Gilley's — a famous country music bar — in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 30, 2017, when he saw Chantal Melanson on the dance floor. He approached her and she made fun of him for not wearing cowboy boots.

Both were in Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest, a three-day country music festival from September 29 to October 1, 2017.

The two began chatting and realized there was some chemistry. "It just felt like we knew each other forever. We went to grab a bite after the bar and exchanged numbers," Chantal told Metro.

The next day, Chantal texted Austin and they met up at the festival. The two found a spot near the stage and danced the day away with Austin's friends.


At 10 pm, as Jason Aldean performed on stage, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the concert from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

"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 told Metro.

"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," she said.

"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," she added.

Fifty-nine of the festival-goers died in the shooting and 869 of the 22,000 attendees were injured. Paddock died by suicide in his hotel room.

Chantal and Austin jumped in a taxi to get to safety and saw a woman limping towards them who had been shot in the leg and the stomach. So they drove with her to the hospital.

"We stayed in the hospital overnight due to lockdown and Austin never left my side," Chantal said. "He held me throughout the night and kept me safe. After what we had just gone through, he was my safe place."

After the tragedy, Austin returned to his home in California and Chantal flew back to Canada, but they talked with each other every day through Facetime and quickly fell in love.

Their relationship helped them get through the trauma of living through the shooting. "We've dealt with everything by focusing on the positive," Chantal said. "There was a reason we met when we did. We needed each other in this chaos."

Six weeks later, Austin flew up to Canada to see Chantal. "And we never spent more than six weeks apart either me going to California or him Canada," she said.

After eighteen months together Austin proposed to Chantal in Laguna Beach, California.

"He brought me to our favorite beach and there was no one around. It was perfect," Chantal said. "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 wore cowboy boots for the occasion as a nod to their first conversation.

For immigration reasons, Austin and Chantal had a quick courthouse wedding on November 1, 2019, but they plan to have a big celebration for both of their families soon. The couple hoped to get married in Vegas on May 8, but that's been postponed due to coronavirus.

"It's been a bit stressful as so much planning has gone into it with my whole family living in Canada and his California," Chantal said.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Lately, Twitter has been a rough place for famous Chrises. First Evans had his day on the trending side bar, and now it's Pratt's turn. With the way things are going, we cringe for what's in store for Hemsworth.

Earlier this week, Warrior Nun writer Amy Berg posted a photo on Twitter of four famous Chrises - Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt. "One has to go," Berg captioned the photo.

Pratt started trending as he was quickly dubbed the "worst Chris." And things just got worse from there. Until some real-life heroes stepped in and tried to address the situation, defending their co-star and friend.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

A photo of Joe Biden hugging and kissing his only living son, Hunter, is circulating after Newsmax TV host John Cardillo shared it on Twitter with the caption, "Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?"

The question is clearly meant to be a dig at Biden, whose well-documented life in politics includes many examples of both his deep love for his family and his physical expressions of affection. While his opponents have cherry-picked photos to try to paint him as "creepy," those who know him well—and who are in some of those viral images—defend Biden's expressions of affection as those of a close friend and grandfatherly figure. (And in fact, at least one photo of Biden holding and kissing a child's face was of him and his grandson at his son Beau's funeral, taken as a still shot from this video.)

Everyone has their own level of comfort with physical space and everyone's line of what's appropriate when it comes to physical affection are different, but some accusations of inappropriateness are just...sad. And this photo with this caption is one of those cases.

Keep Reading Show less