They call Paris the “City of light.”
People fall in love with its beauty and culture, enough so to make it one of the world’s most visited places.
Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is no exception.
Following an eight-month season, Hechavarria booked his first trip to Europe, which included stops in Barcelona and Rome. Last Thursday, he stood in front of the sparkling Eiffel Tower, mesmerized by its glow.
A day later, terrorist attacks killed 129 people over several Parisian sites. Three hundred and fifty-two others were sent to hospitals with injuries. Leads and suspects have emerged. Everyone remains on alert.
“I was having lunch with my girlfriend and her family and I started seeing a lot of ambulances go by,” Hechavarria said in Spanish through an interpreter, having since returned to South Florida. “I was about 15 minutes away. We kept seeing a lot of ambulances and police cars go by, so we started getting worried, wondering what had happened.
“Later on I was watching TV and my girlfriend says, ‘Look at what happened!’ So we started watching what had happened with the shootings and the bombings. At the restaurant, the people who had already paid were just getting up and leaving because they made an announcement that some men had shot at a restaurant and they were on the loose. We paid the check very quickly so we could go back to the hotel, which was close by.”
Family and friends called to check up. Hechavarria assured them that though they were close — “nothing happened directly where we were staying.”
Instead of venturing outside, they remained at their centrally located hotel. Like the rest of us, they followed breaking news on the TV.
“I was going to be there four days, but we left on the third,” Hechavarria said. “I was scared because I’d never lived through anything like this. I was afraid for our safety because they were telling us the guys were still on the loose. …
“My heart goes out to all the French people and victims. I felt really, really bad for them, and it was horrible.”