Just under two weeks ago, Tara Galbo went to Spain for a family vacation on a Disney cruise through the Mediterranean, but what she went through on her second day in Barcelona while waiting for that cruise to begin was more of a nightmare than magic.
Galbo, a Milford-based family law attorney, was with her partner and 3-year-old son and shopping near Barcelona’s La Rambla when a terrorist driving a van plowed into the crowds.
The driver of the van was mowing down people on the pedestrian plaza, just steps from where the Galbo family had just been. More than a dozen people were killed in the attack.
"Absolute disbelief. This cannot be happening," is what she recalls thinking as she realized what had taken place outside of the doors of the shop where she and several dozen people from around the world were being told to stay put following the attack. They remained there for more than five hours.
"We don’t know if there’s somebody out there with weapons. We don’t know if there’s more attacks. Everyone’s just trying to catch their breath," Galbo said.
While trying to contain her own panic, Galbo tried to shield her 3-year-old son from the reality of what was outside.
"He kept saying, 'Mommy what happened on the street?' I just said there was a man that was speeding and they’re trying to find him," Galbo told NBC Connecticut.
But Galbo said in those moments of what should’ve been intense fear, while she and her family were trapped in a shop with people from every corner of the earth, came a sense of community and resilience to not let the terror win, no matter where it happens.
"I felt blessed and cursed at the same time. Wrong place at the wrong time, right place though. I’m alive," the mother said.
Galbo plans to talk to her son about what happened as he gets older, but she doesn’t want to use this experience to teach him fear.
She said she wants him and everyone to take from her experience that there’s more that unites people than divides them and people are more alike than they are different.