Terrorism attack changes survivor’s heart forever

A sweet boy from high school taught me something about love this week.

Of course, he is no longer a boy.

He is now a man, a husband and a father.

An incredibly happy one last July as he walked along Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France.

Do you remember the evil that happened that night as the French celebrated Bastille Day, their independence day?

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A terrorist barreled a truck down that boulevard packed with people. Eighty-six people died that night.

Greg’s wife saw the truck first.

She screamed for him to jump out of the way as she dove for safety with their 10-year-old daughter.

“I had to decide to jump right or left,” Greg told me this week. “I jumped to the left. For the most part I got out of the way except for my right leg and foot. They got hit by the front of the truck.”

As his wife and daughter scrambled to take cover in a nearby building, Greg sat in the street. His leg was broken in 12 places.

He was losing a lot of blood. There was chaos all around him.

“Two people saved my life that night. My wife first, and this stranger second.”

“This man put me in the back seat of his car and quickly took me to the hospital. I went right into a five-hour surgery.”

That was the beginning of multiple surgeries and a two-month hospital stay.

Followed by two months in rehab and another 2½ months recovering in France.

Finally, more than six months after Greg came face to face with evil, he and his family are back home in America.

The leg doctors told him they might have to amputate is 90 percent healed.

As we spoke, I couldn’t help but wonder.

Has this taken the sweetness out of the nicest boy in our high school class?

“It has changed how I see people,” he admitted. “I see deep down this maniac who killed a bunch of people.”

I held my breath wondering if this terrorist had also crushed Greg’s heart?

“Beyond that person, people are good,” he smiled. “We got such incredible support during my recovery. It’s overwhelming, really. Whether it’s in France, America, or the majority of the world, people care. And they want to help. And I didn’t realize that as much as I do now.”

That’s where I found the lesson.

While the circumstances may be different, we all face obstacles that can change us.

That could be tragedy, grief or a broken heart.

Maybe someone has done us wrong.

This Valentine’s Day, sweet Greg reminded me about the secret to love.

There’s so much you can’t control. Most stuff, really.

But you do get to choose where to jump.

Me?

I’m with him.

Staring straight ahead at what is good and what is love.

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