BOULDER, Colo. — Rikki Olds’ uncle said he remembers her as the type of person who would change her hair color once a week, from pink to green to red, depending on how she felt at the time. She also snorted when she laughed hard.
"She would come into the house and joke around, and we'd laugh," said Bob Olds. "She would start laughing so hard she would snort."
"She's probably gonna like throw something at me or something for telling you guys that," he added as he looked toward the sky. "I will really miss her and that personality of hers."
While she had a clear sense of humor, Bob Olds also described his niece as a driven and independent young woman.
"She had dreams and ambitions," he said. "Now, she can't do those things."
Rikki Olds’ life was cut short at 25. She was one of the 10 people killed when a gunman opened fire at the Boulder King Soopers where she worked as a front-end manager.
A media liaison for Rikki Olds' family said she was born in Lafayette and graduated in 2013 from Centaurus High School. She went on to attend classes at Front Range Community College in pursuit of a career in nursing, but eventually changed career paths and was hired by King Soopers in early 2016.
"Rikki was living her dream," Bob Olds said. "Yeah, she wanted to be a nurse, but that plan got altered, so Rikki had a backup plan. And Rikki was pursuing her dream of being a store manager at King Soopers."
There, she moved up the ranks of the grocery store chain over the course of her 5 years with the company.
“[She was] dynamite, very energetic and an outgoing young woman,” said Jeff Hooker, a pickup clerk who knew Rikki Olds. “She was a manager – a good one too.”
Bob Olds said he got a call telling him his niece had been killed 13 hours after the shooting. She was mostly raised by her grandparents, and when her grandfather died six years ago, Bob Olds said he stepped into more of a father role.
“It’s heart-wrenching and it’s agonizing, and I don’t know what else to say about it,” he said. “It was miserable, and it’s still miserable knowing that she’s gone.”
He did note that the community support has been "overwhelming" and said that people even gathered outside their home Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil to show support.
Bob Olds said he's especially saddened by all the things that his niece will now never get to do.
“She hadn’t got to live life, 25 is young,” he said. “She didn’t get to experience motherhood, marriage, any of those things. I mean, it was taken from her, and I keep going back to ‘Why?’”
The "why" may never be answered, but Bob Olds said his family will continue on with the resiliency that Rikki Olds had come to personify.
“Like my dad instilled in me, like my dad instilled in her, we go forward,” he said. “As difficult as it is, go forward. Are we gonna grieve, is there going to be a part of us missing? Of course there is, there always will be, but do you give into that?
“Do you let him win? No, you truck forward, you keep pressing, you try to honor as best as you can.”
Her uncle also noted that Rikki Olds has a little brother who is taking her death especially hard. He said that the children didn't have a relationship with their mother and because of that, they were extra close.
"Please remember him in your thoughts and prayers," he said. "She was like a daughter to my mom. My parents raised her for the most part, so my mom essentially lost a daughter and a granddaughter. My sister lost a niece. And it's tough."
Now their focus is on moving forward as best they can while honoring Rikki Olds. They want her to be remembered for her impact on those who knew her, and not by her last moments.
"There's a hole in our family that won't be filled," Bob Olds said. "We try to fill it with memories, but it's tough."
In a statement sent to the media, Olds' family called her "truly one of a kind."
"She didn't follow trends -- she made them," it read.
Read the full statement from Bob Olds below:
"On behalf of the Olds family, we want to thank the community and Rikki’s friends and co-workers for the outpouring of support for our family. Today we are mourning the loss of our granddaughter, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend and colleague. Rikki Olds was truly one of a kind. She didn’t follow trends—she made them.
"From the outside, you might notice her colorful hair, her bubbly personality, her laughter and a smile that lit up the room. For those of you lucky enough to call her a friend, you knew she was a type of person who would always be there for you. She’d embrace you and give you confidence to be the person you want to be. She was a giver to others, and she gave herself to her career. She aspired to work up the ranks of King Soopers, and she strived to be the best manager she could be to her work family. In fact sometimes that even caused her guilt because she had to correct employees she considered friends and family. Whatever Rikki set her mind to do, she would do it. She had the tenacity and big dreams to make a great life for herself and to help others along the way.
"No one can replace Rikki and the happiness she brought to our lives. Our family is suffering a great loss, and we will get through this together one day at a time. On behalf of our family, thank you for honoring Rikki’s legacy and the light she was in this world. Our hearts go out to the other victims’ families who are going through the same grief we are. We especially want to recognize Officer Eric Talley, who sacrificed his life and is a hero in our hearts. May we never forget their lives and the impact they made. Thank you."
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