We Went For Donuts: Our Las Vegas Terror

It was a scorching hot Sunday in the Las Vegas sun. I know because I had spent the better part of it laying by the Bellagio pool with my fiancé, Adam, and my best friend, Lacy. After three and a half weeks, it was a relaxing way to spend our last full day of holiday together. Like most other revellers in Las Vegas we went out for dinner and then meandered back to our hotel room to freshen up. We had plans of going out again, but once laying on the bed, we were all sun stroked out.

That is until around 10pm, when Adam suggested we needed something sweet to eat. Donuts were on the suggested menu. Rather than us all get dressed again, I volunteered to go down to the Bellagio shops to Jean Philippe (a patisserie) in search of donuts. Lacy was keen to go with me, so we set off by ourselves, leaving Adam in the room. We found the shop and while they didn’t have donuts, they did have crepes and ice cream. I was willing to bet Adam wouldn’t mind the substitution.

We stood at the cashier counter as I paid thirty-six dollars for Banana Fosters and Dulce de Leche crepes, as well as two scoops in a cup of cookies ’n cream ice cream. The young female shop attendant attempted to give me my ice cream first when I rejected, “Oh, can you not serve it yet until the crepes are finished, I don’t want it to melt.” Lacy decided to walk across the hallway to the opposite shop for a bottle of water, while I stood in front of the glass watching the crepes being made. They were just crisping at the edges.

Suddenly, all you could hear was a thunderous roar, the sounds of feet stampeding and shrill screaming.

I heard what I thought were two gun shots: Pop! Pop!

Someone yelled, “There’s a gun, a shooter!”

I looked to the right and saw the wave of hundreds of terrified people coming towards us. I looked the other direction to see Lacy ten feet away coming back towards me, white with horror. Then the crowd was upon us with people just pushing, pulling, urging everyone to “keep going,” “move,” “run!” Somehow Lacy and I were swept into a crowd that was pushed into the back of house of the patisserie where I had been watching my crepes being made.

The Bellagio staff were calmly directing people. “Get into the freight elevator, then go down three flights of stairs, and out the door!” As we waited in the elevator for it to fill up, none of us knew if there was a shooter trying to join us, or if we were luckily going to be safe barricaded in this metal structure. Soon, the elevator was at capacity and some people couldn’t get on when the doors finally shut. I remember the terror on the faces of those left behind.

Then Lacy and I are being shuttled out the opposite side of the elevator and we are going down flights of stairs as directed. One flight. Two flights. Three flights. Where’s the exit? “Just think of this as a fire drill,” I said to Lacy, while also trying to calm myself. As we finally came to a door, we found ourselves in the middle of the expansive, outdoor pool area. Not exactly the safest place to be, we both thought, with no cover whatsoever. Lacy and I could also see through the hundreds of windows of the adjacent building corridors of the Bellagio. People still running. Fast. Fast and fearfully. These were the moments that I thought we could die.

We ran as well, through the pool landscaping, accompanied by two others, not really knowing where we were going. We felt completely alone, scared, and misdirected. As we finally got to the opposite end of the pool grounds we found a Bellagio team member who directed us back inside and led us into Bellagio Ballroom 3. I remember seeing a sign that we were on the way to the Wedding Chapel and thinking how horribly ironic that was.

As we were ushered into the outer chamber of Ballroom 3, we finally started to get settled. Then staff members started moving us again, into the inner part of the ballroom. This didn’t help alleviate any nervousness, as we thought we were being moved for a reason, e.g. away from potential, nearby danger. We quickly settled in behind a table full of sound equipment, and hugged the wall, taking special note of the many entrances surrounding the ballroom.

We met a few other people caught up in the same madness. A blonde lady next to us kept asking people for a mint as her mouth was so dry. Failing to find anyone, she took a Xanax. The couple to our left were from Liverpool, England, and I remember thinking how fabulous her white on white dress was, but that her eye liner was way too heavy. (As was her accent). The room started with about fifty people, but soon there were hundreds.

The mood of the crowd was varied. Some were trembling, while others were pacing. Having been caught up in the stampede and thrust through back of house stairs, Lacy and I had no desire to be front and centre. Throughout the hour or so of sitting in the ballroom, there was no information except for that coming from the various news sites on our mobile devices. This was extremely conflicting. Rumours abounded that there were multiple shooters, including CNN reporting that one of them was currently stalking the halls of the Bellagio with police en route.

During this time, I sat consoling Lacy, trying to block any negativity out of my own thoughts. “We’re just hanging out in a ballroom. There’s a bunch of people here. We’re safe. What a story this will be!” During the initial rush, I did have disastrous thoughts, however, sitting here, I felt a sense of calm come over me. I just wanted to get back to the room. I knew we would be safe there, however, neither Lacy nor myself really knew where we were.

Throughout the unfolding events, I had been sending short text messages to Adam about what was going on. At least, what we thought was happening. There wasn’t much I could say about our situation, but this left him feeling helpless. While I urged him to stay in the room, when we had settled into the ballroom he insisted on coming to find us. Unfortunately, he didn’t know where the ballrooms were either. I still think leaving the hotel room was a bad move on his part, but the things you do for love!

As the mood in the ballroom started to relax, a hotel representative in plain clothes announced something to the crowd from the distant stage. We couldn’t discern what he said, but people slowly started to go back to their rooms. It seemed the latest news going through the crowd was that all of the hysteria had been from the Mandalay Bay resort. Lacy and I were both trepidatious, but I finally urged her into the corridor so we could start the trip back to our own fifth floor room.

We had been in the corridor outside the ballroom for about three seconds when there was another loud Pop! and another throng of people started running towards us. Again, rumours of a gun were flying through the crowd faster than their feet were carrying them. Lacy and I ran back into the ballroom, this time diving under two tables next to each other, covered by table clothes. You could hear other people scuffling and screaming, and then there was a silence. I quickly texted Adam again, “Something happening. Stampede back in ballroom 3. Under a table.”

Any sense of calm I had before, was now completely gone.

Every foot step that you heard, or could see in the sliver of light between the end of the table cloth before it hit the floor gave way to imaginative possibilities of an active shooter stalking the room.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Adam had been caught up in the same throng of people. He also heard the Pop! and stampede. He was forced outside to hide in a garden bed. The trauma that Lacy and I had experienced the first and second times, was now being experienced by him.

After about fifteen minutes under the table, with nothing but silence to hear, I peaked my head out from under the table. There were a few people milling about, and I finally saw some Bellagio staff in the room. The last Pop! was apparently a glass that had shattered on the marble floor which caused the heightened response. Heightened, indeed.

With that knowledge, I grabbed Lacy and dragged her to our room. That was my only mission: get us to a lockable room, and meet Adam there. On our way back there were many people lingering around, no one quite seemed to know what had happened, nor what was supposed to be happening. After a dedicated quick step, Lacy and I were back in our room, but Adam wasn’t. He had finally found the ballroom, to discover that we had already left. After about ten minutes he arrived back to the room to share his own harrowing experience as well. Seeing each other for the first time after these events … I could have melted into his arms forever.

Even though Adam and I had seriously talked about these type of potential events before coming on holiday, this is the type of experience I would have never expected to find myself in. The Bellagio team did a wonderful job guiding us to safety away from potential danger. When I close my eyes, I still have glimpses of terror: running, hiding, loud shots. Whether we wanted it or not, this was a giant punctuation mark to the end of our U.S. holiday.

Once on the road halfway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, we stopped and finally bought those donuts in peace.

40 Responses

  1. leanne says:

    Jesus Molli how absolutely terrifying !

  2. Sandy Allen says:

    So sorry to hear you experienced this, but so happy to hear you all made ok. May the rest of your visit go smoothly.

  3. Lynne says:

    I’m not quite sure what to write. Happy you are safely home. So, so sad for the family and friends of those who died. I cannot understand how anyone could do what he did. I have never understood the gun laws in the US.

  4. Cass says:

    oh Molli, this is such a fucking horrendous experience for all of you, but such a relief for all of you to find each other safe and unharmed. I can only imagine the terror you must have felt being separated.
    Love to you both Molli and Adam and Lacy too.

  5. Kathy says:

    Thank you Molli for sharing. So very thankful you and your loved ones are fine, at least physically. Peace and hugs to you!

  6. Sue says:

    Wrapping all of you in hugs 🤗

  7. Susan K says:

    Omg!! So glad y’all are ok. I can’t even imagine the panic. My husband’s cousin’s two sons were at the concert and staying at the same hotel as the gunman. They are ok. One had blood on his shoe. They left luggage and all and headed home to their parents instead of staying the two more days they had planned. Our world is going nuts!

  8. Angeline Shaka says:

    So glad you all were safe! What a terrifying night and so devastatingly sad. For the lives lost and for our seeming inability to be at all willing to put measures in place that would stop these kinds of things from happening at all.

  9. Bonnie says:

    Wow! What an experience. I’m so glad you’re all ok.

  10. Carrolyn V says:

    Dear sweet Molli,
    I am so distressed with our country these days……vindictive, self absorbed politicians beginning at the top, few other politicians willing to stand up for what is right, people listening to crazy talk radio and allowing themselves to believe it….our horrible gun culture! Fortunately there are more beautiful souls like those who rose up to help during that horrid Vegas scene! Please don’t judge us by he kooks! Thank god we have sewing, quilting, fabric to calm our nerves.

  11. I’m so glad you, Adam, and Lacy are safe. I won’t say OK because being safe and OK are two different things. Love to you all and everyone affected.

  12. charlotte m. says:

    How awful. I am glad you are all okay. This is such a horrific thing here. So sorry you were caught up in it. Praying the US congress comes to its senses and fixes these horrible gun laws.

    • Linda says:

      I for one am not praying – I am urging as many people as I can to put pressure on their congressmen, to protest, to write letters, to donate to groups fighting the rich NRA. ACT ACT ACT NOW

  13. Debbie says:

    I am trembling and speechless. How horrifying!! I am so sorry you and your loved ones (and everyone else of course!) went through this. Hugs to all of you as you live and move forward….Peace.

  14. I’m so sad to hear about your traumatic experience. Living here in Vegas it has been hard to watch the news and learn more about the victims involved. I’m so glad you all are safe and sound!

  15. Mary Ann says:

    Glad you all are safe. Until I read this I hadn’t really understood how quickly the terror spread across the strip and into other locations. Unfathomable that someone could do something so senseless.

  16. PennyDog says:

    This is really frightening, glad you’re OK. I had a friend there, you can see her on one of the videos that were released filmed in front of the stage where there’s nothing for anyone to do but crouch and cover their heads, thankfully she and her friends got out OK, and my boss and his wife were there and were fine too.

  17. Reading this gives another look at the sheer terror, the thousands trying to flee, those who didn’t manage to stay safe, and the different reports of what to do. SO thankful you are all safe, how life changes in an instant for so many people, families, businesses, police and others . Thank you for writing this and sharing with us. Hugs from a safer NZ.

  18. Linda says:

    So glad that all three of you are okay! What a sad day in Las Vegas’ history. May something like that never happen again!

  19. Tina says:

    I am so relieved to hear you guys are all okay.

    This is such a horrible event. and I, as a German, absolutely don’t understand AT ALL why gun laws will not be changed in the US – but to be honest, I gave up hope long ago they ever will.

    It is so scary to think that not only you had to endure this, but many more people will have to in the future.

    Take, care.
    Tina

    • Linda says:

      Tina- Please don’t give up hope for us. MANY MANY Americans are determined to fight for gun control. Help us by posting whenever you can – tell us what is working in your country and how senseless and stupid our present situation is. Help us to not lose hope and to keep trying. Thank you for your above comment.

  20. Katy says:

    So glad to hear you got out safely. I was on a call with some of our soon to be ex-colleagues in the US (the company got divorced) and their big conference was in Vegas this week so they were all arriving on the Sunday before and during the mayhem. It sounded terrifying for them.

    I’ve been caught up in several IRA bombing threat evacuations of places over the years (mostly train stations) and the adrenaline carries you through the first part, getting to safety, but it’s the wave of what hits you after that that catch you unawares. I’m glad my home country finally got to grips with that, hopefully yours will too.

  21. Jonathan Parish says:

    Terrifying experience!

  22. Ang says:

    I knew you were safe, but didn’t realise you were so close to the terror and at risk. What a frightening experience. Much love to you, Adam & Lacy. May our vote on marriage equality make a difference to laws in Australia VERY SOON, for a million reasons… but reading your story, my heart was pining for you to be married to the person you love, as everyone should have the right to. ❤💛💚💙💜💖

  23. Suzanne says:

    Watching on TV you can appreciate the terror, but it doesn’t relay the same heartstopping anxiety of reading through your experience… goosebumps and shivers!!! I am so glad you are home safe and sound! And on a lighter note, Mr Sparkles is a fiance now?? Is this just a new occurrence or have I missed some big announcement?

  24. Wanda from quilting Bee says:

    I did not know you were in Las Vegas. No reason for me to know that. If I had, I could have worries longer and prayed for the safety of you all. I do believe
    God was watching out for you and many others. So sad for victims who did not survive. Now, to pray for relatives and trauma survivors, including officers and trained personnel. Thank goodness for employees who kept their heads and did their jobs of leading folks to safe places. God bless us every one. ❤️

  25. Wanda says:

    I did not know you were in Las Vegas. No reason for me to know that. If I had, I could have worries longer and prayed for the safety of you all. I do believe
    God was watching out for you and many others. So sad for victims who did not survive. Now, to pray for relatives and trauma survivors, including officers and trained personnel. Thank goodness for employees who kept their heads and did their jobs of leading folks to safe places. God bless us every one. ❤️

  26. Sarah says:

    How awful. Just reading the screenshots is scary enough. Such a senseless tragedy. So glad you and your loved ones are safe.

  27. Kate says:

    Terrifying! Thanks for sharing, SO happy you are all safe and sound <3

  28. I’m so sorry that you, Adam and Lacy got caught up in all of that terror. I am so so so glad you are all safe. Much live to you all. xx

  29. Tamara Hutchinson says:

    I am so mad that you were close to such danger in my country. I am so at odds with the government’s policies, and lack of regulations and resources for gun control – as are the majority of Americans. It’s a very sad state of affairs here right now IMHO. Thankfully you are all safe.

  30. Hayley says:

    Oh wow. I can’t even imagine. Glad you are all safe and sound. It brought me unstuck reading Adam’s texts of “I can’t find you” – how frightening. Xx

  31. Rike says:

    I’m so glad to hear you are safe and everything turned to a good end for you. I think no one can imagine this situation before being in it.
    Hope you don’t have to think about it for a long time while trying to sleep.
    Greetings from Germany
    Rike

  32. Debi. says:

    Oh my goodness. That was such a compulsive read. You have to thank your lucky stars you were where you where at that time – and safe.

  33. Patricia says:

    Oh my! I’m so glad you are home safely and in the arms of Adam! Please know you will continue to be in our prayers…..how I wish I could give you a big hug right now! Take good care!

  34. Kevin Britton says:

    As I started reading your post, I had to circle back to remind myself it was you. Sorry you witnessed this horrible experience, and glad you’re fine. Big hugs from Orlando.

  35. Beth T. says:

    I am so, so sorry you went through this harrowing experience. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Did you discuss the possibility of this kind of thing happening because you were coming to the States? That makes me so sad, especially because it turned out to be a realistic fear.

  36. Mania says:

    Greetings and hugs from Poland Molli! Terrible experience! Imagine that in our government there are people who want to make it easier for ordinary citizens to access firearms! This is indignant! I hope we avoid this!

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