The right place at the right time

Paige Zezulka, Managing Editor

In the early hours of the morning on Sunday, Oct. 10, I was celebrating a wedding with friends and family in St. Paul, Minn.  

While heading back from the ceremony a few of us stopped at our hotel to freshen up while others gathered at a local bar across the street.  

My girlfriend I were about to leave our room to join the rest of the crew but were stopped in the hallway by another couple from the wedding party. They invited us into their room to have a beverage before going to the bar. Why not save a few pennies right? So, we followed them.  

Well, a drink turned into two, and an hour went by. Time is nothing when it comes to good company. We had looked at our clock and it was about half past midnight. ‘Man, it had gotten late,’ we thought, ‘so we better meet up with the rest of the crew.’   

As we walked outside of the Holiday Inn, a little tipsy might I add, flashing red and blue lights swarmed our vision. At least 10 cop cars, multiple officers and chaos filled the street before us.  

I had asked a cop on the sidewalk outside of the hotel what was going on. She had mentioned there was a shooting across the street at a bar called, Seventh Street Truck Park about 15 minutes prior.  

We had mentioned that we were about to head to the bar to the left of it, Eagle Street Grill and she told us they were being shut down. In fact, everything around the area was closing and people were told to leave the area and head indoors. 

So, right then and there, we went back inside the main lobby of the hotel. We made a few calls to our family and friends, and thankfully they were all safe and escorted out of the bar they were in.  

Afterwards, the wedding party squeezed themselves all in one single hotel room and discussed the wildness that just occurred. “I was just in that bar yesterday having a burger…” “I heard people screaming and running for their lives.” “I saw a person getting carried into an ambulance.” “A shooting, man, downtown St. Paul, that is the city for ya.” 

After the situation disappeared a bit from our minds with the help of being intoxicated and still yet celebrating a wedding, the night came to an end.  

We woke up that morning in amazement to find out the shooting we thought was a one-person incident, actually involved 14 people injured, one person dead and three people being held as suspects.  

I remember walking down the sidewalk that morning passing the bar, seeing what was once a fun and eccentric place to gather, now a crime scene.  

Yellow tape surrounded the area. Leftover drinks still sat on the outside bar countertops. Trash filled the ground. News teams filled the street trying to capture their next story.  

I thought to myself, ‘These people were just out with their friends and family like me. They were enjoying the night and the next thing they knew, they were fighting for their lives.’  

As the day went by, our friends and family traveled back to their homes, and I found myself thinking back to those flashing lights from the early morning.  

‘What if my girlfriend and I didn’t stop for those drinks across the hall with that nice couple?’  

‘We could have been crossing the street while the shooting took place and been amongst the chaos. I mean the accident happened 15 minutes earlier from when we left.’  

‘We might have thought the Seventh Street Truck Park was more outgoing than the grill where everyone else was at and convinced them all to join us there.’  

‘It could have been our last moment too.’ 

Was it fate that our friends and family chose the bar right next door? Was it just a coincidence or a completely random event?  

Whatever it was, we were at the right place at the right time.  

Whether you believe in fate, luck or synchronicity, it doesn’t really matter because in all reality things just happen. And even though we may have an impact on future events, we do not have full control over them.  

At the end of the day all we can do is be thankful to exist in the present moment.