Rays staffer Leet safe in "surreal" Paris
Rays massage therapist Nate Leet was in Paris during Friday's terrorist attacks and - though never in any apparent danger - said the scene that night, and in the ensuing days, was staggering.
"It was just crazy,'' Leet said Sunday from Paris. "Really surreal. I couldn't believe all that was happening.''
Leet arrived in Paris late Friday afternoon, flying in from Dublin as part of a solo tour of Europe, walked around by the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe and was enjoying dinner when he started getting text messages asking if he was okay.
With a quick Google search on his phone he found out why and decided the best move was to get back to his hotel, a couple miles away, closer to the Louvre. He couldn't find an open cab, then arranged for an Uber ride only to have the driver call and say his family didn't feel he would be safe on the streets so he had to cancel.
Leet then realized his only option was to walk back, noting the obvious difference between people on the streets that knew what was going on and those still enjoying themselves in cafes and bars. Walking through a holiday market, Leet saw several police units on a search mission, instructing people to stay back.
"Strict survival mode at that point,'' Leet said.
Leet, 39, said he spent most of Friday night checking news reports and Twitter while assuring family and friends he was safe.
He ventured out Saturday, deciding such attacks are usually limited to one day, and said the city was eerily quiet. "Really different,'' he said. Most notable was the large police and military presence, many carrying Uzis and other serious weapons, specifically near some of the monuments and popular sites.
Sunday seemed "more normal'' overall, Leet said.
At least until he ventured near the sites of the attacks, such as the concert venue where shootings took place, several cafes where there were bullet holes and places where memorials were set up. Those scenes were very emotional, especially the young children and family members dealing with their grief.
"It was very solemn,'' said Leet, who is leaving Tuesday for Athens. "Seeing all the people, the damage. It was very moving.
"What hit the hardest was seeing people doing interviews and breaking down on camera over their loss. I'll never forget seeing this young teen-aged girl fall apart. That tore me up.''