A man who jumped into action to help evacuate people amid the chaos of Sunday’s Las Vegas massacre experienced a visit he will never forget.
Thomas Gunderson, a 28-year-old from Newport Beach, California, helped concertgoers to safety as the shots started raining down on the crowd of 22,000, Fox News reported.
Back in the early moments of the massacre, Gunderson said he was not the only one evacuating people to safety.
“There were a lot of people helping and risking their lives for others,” Gunderson told Fox News.
Amid the carnage, Gunderson said he kept wondering if the shots were real.
“We heard the rounds going off but we kept thinking, it’s fake, it’s fake,” he told Fox News.
It was then—a split second later when a bullet plunged into his leg.
“I went straight to the ground. It didn’t hurt. My body numbed up,” he told Fox News. “I was covered in a pool of blood—it was shooting out. It was literally everywhere.”
He said he dragged himself behind a row of bleachers. “I was getting scared at that point,” Gunderson said. “I thought I might bleed out.”
Just minutes later, two young women came to help him and gave him first aid, wrapping a belt around his left leg while the other woman got some men to help carry him to safety.
The bullet went through Gunderson’s leg, he suffered torn muscles in his calf and nerve pain but luckily the bullet missed the bone and arteries.
“It’s hard to stand—very painful,” he told Fox News.
Later in the hospital, Gunderson received a visit from President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
“It was one of the greatest moments in my life,” he said.
Even though he was in severe pain, he was determined to stand up and greet the president.
“I told my family that I was going to stand up and shake my president’s hand—out of respect for him and our leaders and our nation,” he told Fox News.
Gunderson did exactly what he said he would. He can be seen grimacing in pain as he greeted the president and shook his hand. A Facebook video of the meeting was posted on his account and has gone viral.
The moment captured the hearts of Americans, as of writing on Thursday, Oct. 5, the video has garnered over 14 million views, 409,000 reactions, and 351,171 shares.
“This guy looks tough to me,” the president said.
Gunderson said both Trump and the first lady were “so sweet to me and my family.”
“That was one of the most humbling experiences of my life—the fact that the president would take time to come here and just shake my hand and to let him know if I needed anything,” he said.
Gunderson also posted a photo on his Instagram of the encounter.