Nashville couple narrowly escape thanks to slow food service

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In a twist of fate thanks to slow service at a Spanish restaurant, an East Nashville couple and their friend narrowly escaped Thursday’s terror attack in Barcelona.

Nick Ewald, 29, and Kat Cantu, 26, who are on vacation in Barcelona, ​​said they were 100 meters from where a white van drove into a crowd on a pedestrianized street lined with trees in the popular tourist district of Las Ramblas, killing 13 people and injuring at least 100 others.

“It’s so alive, but it almost feels like a dream,” said Ewald, sales manager for Calvary Logistics who also coaches Little League in East Nashville. “We were very lucky.”

The couple, who live near Cleveland Park, had spent the day touring the city with their 28-year-old friend Jeromy Morrow from Ohio, taking in the views. It was their second night in the city after visiting Germany for a friend’s wedding.

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Ewald said he and his friends didn’t see the van, but ran with the frenzied masses who fled the area.

“We had lunch at a downtown restaurant on Amargós Street,” Ewald told USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee from Spain, just hours after the attack.

“Our service was very slow,” he said. “So slow that I complained at least twice about the delay we had been in.

“It was a blessing.”

At the end of lunch, the trio got out and stopped to buy water to take back to the rental house where they were staying.

It was then that cries resounded.

“In two minutes, we went from impatient to see the next sites to panic,” he said. “We heard screams and saw hundreds and hundreds of people running around like there was a stampede… saw the fear in the eyes of the people running towards us.

“We just started running. We had no idea what we were running from. We ran and we ran and we ran,” he said. “We really didn’t know where to go or what to do. We turned around to see if it was a false alarm – and found a group of cops in a nearby plaza.”

Eventually, the trio took refuge in a cafe with a group of other people.

“We walked in and heard there had been a terrorist attack, so we barricaded the doors and sat there and started reading what had happened online,” said Ewald, the voice gentle. “People were crying and looking around like they didn’t know what could happen next. We would call friends and family to tell them. “

Following: Cruise lines move forward with calls from Barcelona over terror attack

Ewald said they also called the US consulate and were told to stay where they are.

Eventually, the three began to return to their nearby rental, trying to figure out what had happened.

“Barcelona has this incredible energy and last night the vibrant streets with its colors, sounds and smells made us vibrate with excitement for today. Tonight there is no buzz,” he said. he said, describing the city after sunset.

“There are blue lights everywhere, helicopters circling overhead, candles lit in the hallways crisscrossing el Raval and Las Ramblas. Very little is open, and there is a dark atmosphere from almost everyone we have. seen or talked to. “

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Police search Barcelona streets after van attack

Onlookers watched as officers patrolled the streets after police said a van mowed down a crowd of people on a busy Barcelona sidewalk.


Despite the terror, the trio have no plans to leave town.

“We’re going to stay here,” Ewald said firmly. “The streets are full of people but also full of police with assault rifles. “

He said he was relieved that there were suspects in custody.

“We’re in a very diverse city, so we’re very careful about where we go,” he said.

Ewald expressed concern for those killed and maimed in the attack, but reiterated personal gratitude for his safety and his two fellow travelers.

“The city is sad beyond words and it is impossible not to feel bad for the victims, their families and the people who are afraid,” he said. “We are lucky, so lucky that so many things kept us from being here. Others weren’t as lucky as us.”

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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