COLUMBUS, Ohio — “It speaks volumes about the humanity that we so often forget.”
Katharine Hayes' statement doesn’t make sense yet. It will, though.
She, her husband, two teenage daughters and an 11-month-old son were at Tuttle mall, Sunday. They were inside the H&M department store, which was a few doors down from Sole Stop.
Then, it happened.
“We were near the cash registers and heard seven shots,” she said. “Just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.”
Instant eye contact with her family lead to instant confusion. They, along with others, ran to the back of the store. Her husband, she says, ushered them through a door to a back corridor and then he stayed behind to help others.
“13-and-a-half…almost 14 years into this marriage and it’s like a whole new renewal of…another reminder why I married my husband because his primary focus was to make sure not only his family, but other people were getting out.”
On the way, she met strangers.
There was a little girl who turned around to tell her daughters it would be OK.
Then, a man who, during flight, found Hayes at the top of a flight of stairs.
“One of my kids was trying to hold on to the stroller to help me carry it and my husband grabbed this gentleman and said ‘Hey, I’ve got your back, can you help her carry that stroller down’,” she said.
Once safe, Hayes posted to Facebook trying to find that man and little girl to thank them. So far, nothing.
During shootings and times of chaos and confusion, Hayes says we’re quick to forget the good.
“It shows me that despite the evil that happened that caused us to get into that corridor and encounter that girl and that man later that that girl and that man…their hearts outweigh anything else.”