The recent tragedy in Las Vegas was horrific, but it also brought out the very best in many people.
Tom McIntosh was attending the Route 91 Harvest concert with his wife during the massacre—in fact, he was one of the hundreds of victims. He was shot in the leg and was bleeding profusely. Although he desperately needed help, he wasn’t sure if he would get it in time.
Luckily, a well-qualified stranger came along at the best possible moment.
The crowd began running.
“We were watching the show and we thought it was fireworks at first,“ explained Tom in an interview with Today. “Once everybody realized what it really was, everybody started running.”
Tom and his wife ran towards a wall to try to escape the shooting. Tom helped his wife and another woman who was struggling over the wall, but then he felt a bullet pierce his leg. He made it over the wall, but he wasn’t sure if he would live or die.
Tom’s pants were soaked and his shoes were full of blood.
Tom then realized he was losing a dangerous amount of blood. Other people tried to help him stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t working.
“That’s when James came along and tied my leg,” explained Tom.
A stranger named James Lawson, who had Army Reserves training and an EMT certification, came across Tom, and he helped fix the makeshift tourniquet that had been applied incorrectly to Tom’s leg.
“There were lot of people helping out.”
When James had finished the tourniquet, the bleeding slowed, and everyone took a deep sigh of relief.
“That’s when another guy put me in the truck along with James, and that guy brought us to the hospital.” James recollected. “There were lot of people helping out.”
“I’m very thankful that James was there to help me,” Tom said gratefully.
“We hung out there for 10 or 15 minutes and all of the sudden, some savior in a pickup truck stopped and asked, do we need a ride? And we said, ‘Yes!’ so we got in.”
The two of them made it to the ER with no time to say thanks to the driver.
They were reunited.
In a live interview on the Today Show, Tom and James were able to reunite for the first time since the incident. Tom was able to thank the person that saved his life personally. The two strangers embraced, both remembering what had happened but both thankful that they were still alive.
Tom said he was terrified, but James didn’t seem to be. James said, “I don’t even remember thinking.“
Although James has extensive training in combat life-saving training and he is EMT certified, this was his first time putting those skills to test in a very real environment.
They survived, and now share a permanent bond.
“There were dozens and dozens of other concertgoers who were doing the same thing,“ said a humble James, adding, “There’s got to be hundreds of stories like this one.”
And James did want to say that, “Whoever was driving that maroon F250 or 350, thank you, it could’ve been a whole different night if he wasn’t there to help us.”
Tom added, “I wouldn’t be here if you didn’t.”
Both men agreed this is definitely the beginning of a new friendship.