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Woman Marries Man Who Helped Rescue Her During Vegas Mass Shooting: 'I Felt Safe with Him'

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Some women spend their lives waiting to be swept off their feet by a knight in shining armor. It’s the stuff of fairytales, and as such, it doesn’t often happen.

But when it does, it gives hope to other women and makes for a great story. Chantal Melanson’s knight was a guy she met at a country concert — and at first, she turned him down.

It was at the Route 91 festival on Sept. 30, 2017, that Chantal first bumped into Austin Monfort.

“I was with my girls and I gave him a hard time for not wearing cowboy boots at a country bar,” she told People. “After I got over him not wearing cowboy boots, I thought he was really nice, handsome and tall. He was so easy to talk to, it felt like we knew each other forever.”

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Who doesn’t love a good love story? This is mine. October 2017 my love for everything country brought me to Las Vegas with my girlfriends for the Route 91 country festival. A weekend of what I expected to be filled with cowboy boots, country music and country boys turned into a weekend that would mark the rest of this wild journey I call life. Austin and I met at Gilleys the second night of the concert. No one told us that New York New York’s rollercoaster doesn’t run at 3am so we opted for pizza instead. We made plans to meet up on the last day of the festival and I didn’t give it much more thought other than he was cute and we seemed to hit it off. While listening to country music and dancing we soon found ourselves on the ground with gunshots that seemed to be coming from every direction. Austin never left my side that night. Hand in hand and complete strangers we ran across the entire festival grounds trying to escape the gunfire. We found ourselves in a taxi with a wounded spectator. Rushed to the hospital we stayed there into the morning. In the coming days Austin went back to California and I Canada. However that wasn’t the end of friendship and 6 weeks later Austin boarded a flight to Canada. Since then we have not spent more than 6 weeks apart from each other and I wouldn’t have my life any other way✈️?? . . . . . #route91 #love #countrystrong #vegasstrong #lovewins #country #route91strong #strongertogether #myforever #soulmate #tragedytolove #ourlovestory #followforfollow #gilleyslasvegas #countrygirl #countryfestival #instalove #lasvegas #bestlovestory #instagood #route91survivor #route91harvest #buzzfeed #lovestoriesintimates #theknot #howwemet #ellendegeneres #ellendegeneresshow #ldrcouples #likeforlikes @huffpost

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The two planned to meet up again on the last day of the festival — but that’s when things took a turn for the worse. At first, people thought the sounds were fireworks.

“We were just listening to music having a good time,” Austin said. “Until we realized that the noises weren’t fireworks, they were gunshots. Then it became, ‘Am I going to survive this, how much longer until police can make it stop, and how do we get out of here?'”

“I felt a sense of responsibility for Chantal. She was with me and not her friends. I felt like not only did I have to get myself out, but also her. Keeping her calm and getting her out kept me calm, and didn’t allow me to panic.”

“I remember laying on the ground just looking into Austin’s eyes, trying to make sense of everything,” Chantal said. “Next thing I knew, Austin was holding my hand and we were running through the entire grounds trying to make it to safety.”

“I felt safe with him — I didn’t want to leave his side. In many ways, he did save my life.”

In the aftermath, the two briefly went their separate ways — Austin to San Diego, and Chantal to Canada — but they’d formed a bond they could not shake, and soon they were in love and even civilly married.

Chantal started an Instagram for their love story, sharing her account of their meeting.

“[M]y love for everything country brought me to Las Vegas with my girlfriends for the Route 91 country festival,” she posted in August 2019. “A weekend of what I expected to be filled with cowboy boots, country music and country boys turned into a weekend that would mark the rest of this wild journey I call life …”

“While listening to country music and dancing we soon found ourselves on the ground with gunshots that seemed to be coming from every direction. Austin never left my side that night. Hand in hand and complete strangers we ran across the entire festival grounds trying to escape the gunfire. We found ourselves in a taxi with a wounded spectator. Rushed to the hospital we stayed there into the morning.”

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“In the coming days Austin went back to California and I Canada. However that wasn’t the end of friendship and 6 weeks later Austin boarded a flight to Canada. Since then we have not spent more than 6 weeks apart from each other and I wouldn’t have my life any other way.”

“We are trying not to panic as our big wedding in Las Vegas is approaching and the coronavirus news is not getting any better,” she shared on March 12. “Hoping will see a positive change in the next few weeks.”

The couple had planned a big wedding for May 8, but were legally married earlier so that Chantal could get a visa. As the day for their wedding drew closer, it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to celebrate as planned.

“Make the best of every situation,” Chantal shared on May 14. “May 8th should have been our wedding day. Instead we had a perfect dinner date in our backyard.”

“We accidentally surprised each other, while I was in the backyard decorating he left work a few hours earlier to surprise me.”

They’ve truly made the best out of difficult circumstances, and hopefully someday they’ll be able to have the big party they wanted to have with their friends and families to celebrate their love.

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