In the days since the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, plenty of stories have emerged about the heroic actions and selfless bravery of everyday heroes.
Any horrific event undoubtedly leaves people shaken and feeling like the world is a dark, scary place. That’s why it’s important to recount the stories of the Las Vegas shooting heroes — to remind ourselves that there is still so much good in the world and that there are so many people ready and willing to help those in need.
Taylor Winston, a US Marine veteran from San Diego, is one of those people. His incredible actions during the shooting may have helped save dozens of lives — and all it took was a bit of car theft.
Scroll through to read about this amazing story.
[H/T: Bored Panda]
Taylor was attending the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night with his friends when gunfire rang out.
The 29-year-old Marine veteran told CBS that he and his girlfriend, Jenn Lewis, were dancing the two-step to the right of the stage when the shooting began.
But rather than fleeing for his life, Taylor’s Marine instincts kicked in, and he snapped into action.
He credits his training with helping him quickly assemble a game plan.
“I saw a field with a bunch of white trucks. I tested my luck to see if any of them had keys in it, first one we tried opening had keys sitting right there. I started looking for people to take to the hospital,” Taylor told CBS. “There was just too many, and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere.”
In all, Taylor (who joined the Marines at age 17 and served two tours in Iraq) managed to transport over two dozen people to the hospital in the course of multiple trips back and forth to the festival grounds.
As of the latest updates available, the Marine doesn’t yet know which of his passengers or how many survived.
But he did manage to meet up with the young man who indirectly made his heroism possible.
Phelps Amelsberg is the Las Vegas man who brought his white truck to the festival and (thankfully) left the keys in the ignition.
While he surely didn’t mean to leave his keys behind, it’s a very good thing that his truck was ready and waiting to help ferry victims to the hospital.
Taylor left behind the truck after using it to transport the victims to the hospital. But, likely by accident, he walked off with the keys to the vehicle and left his cowboy hat behind.
Phelps took to Facebook to post a request for “the person who stole my truck” to get in touch with him. He clearly didn’t realize at first just how many lives the car “thief” had attempted to save.
“To the person who stole my truck from route 91 to haul a friend to the hospital: I am not mad. Would do the same thing if I had to. I would just like my keys back, please. I don’t even care that the back seats ruined. You ditched the truck at town square in front of Stoney, will even buy you dinner and give you your cowboy hat back,” Phelps wrote.
Given how viral Taylor’s story has gone, it was no time at all before someone was able to put the two men in touch. Phelps later posted a screenshot of the text conversation between them.
“Thanks everyone I found the keys and his [sic] is the story I got with it,” he captioned the photo.
“Hey Taylor told you might have the keys to my truck ?? All I won’t [sic] is the key. Other then that it’s all water under the bridge to me and how’s the person you hauled doing,” Phelps wrote to Taylor.
“I have em for ya. When do you want to meet for em? We’re at the Monte Carlo. I took about 30 critically injured to the hospital,” Taylor replied. “Your truck was extremely important saving those people’s lives. I don’t know if they all made it. Sorry about doing so and all the blood.
“I saved the tool box too. We pulled it out to fit more people but put it back in after the 3rd trip,” he added.
Phelps posted the screenshot of the text exchange on October 2, 2017, and in comments to the post reiterated that he didn’t care about his truck; he was just glad it was useful in saving people. In the two days since, the messages have gone viral.
The young man even connected with Lauren Farina, one of the shooting victims who Taylor helped save with the truck. He also confirmed that he’d “had the honor of meeting [Taylor]” the night before to retrieve his keys.
“Thank you for your part in this. If it weren’t for your truck, he wouldn’t have been able to step in and save so many lives,” Lauren replied.
Several commenters who own auto detailing businesses even volunteered to clean up the bloodstains in the back seat for free.
Remarkably, Taylor wasn’t the only Marine helping to save lives in Las Vegas.
A young Marine named Brendan Kelly was also in the crowd in Las Vegas that night, dancing with a girl he had met a few hours earlier.
When tragedy struck, Brendan’s training took over and he used his body to shield the girl, Renee, from the hail of bullets.
Thanks to his quick thinking, they both survived the attack and lived to tell the tale.
These young men represent just two of the incredible, heroic stories emerging in the wake of the Las Vegas attack, but we can be sure that Marines everywhere are proud of their brothers-in-arms today.
I think we can all agree, we’re incredible grateful to heroes like Taylor and Brendan for stepping up to help others, and putting their own lives on the line to do so.
If you’re looking to help the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, consider these seven ways you can lend a hand.
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