It’s the hashtag of a city trying to wrestle with an unspeakable act, and a nation trying to heal with them. But, what is it really like in Vegas right now?
I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas last week checking on one of the businesses our company owns there. It’s only been two weeks since the horrible event I just can’t quite get out of my head. I wondered what my short visit would feel like. This has the possibility of starting to ramble. Apologies, but it’s more of a brain dump than a concise timeline.
From a business perspective, the city seems “normal”. I stayed at the SLS and the hotel, casino and restaurants all seemed fairly active. We have a restaurant near the site of the shooting where sales are down a bit. Hard to say if it’s specifically tied to the shooting or not.
Anyway, most everywhere I went it seemed like just another day in Las Vegas. The windows at Mandalay Bay have been repaired. People are walking down the sidewalks. You’d only really know what was going on if you took the time to look a bit deeper. I did just that.
When I was driving back from our restaurant I was passing the “Welcome To Las Vegas” sign. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s something of a tourist attraction. The sign itself is iconic, but it represents a completely different feeling right now. As I drove by, I noticed the memorials set up behind the sign. I tried to turn the car around but the traffic was too thick. There was a parking lot off to the side that I was able to grab a spot in. I followed the crowd crossing the road and was immediately struck by the size of the crowd and the lack of noise. It was solemn and pretty overwhelming.
I won’t go into a ton of detail, instead letting the pictures and video do the talking. The rock with thousands of signatures and the people signing all the curbs were the most touching part for me.
If you have a visit planned to Las Vegas in the near future and can handle the raw emotion, it’s an incredible display of support.
If you’re looking for a dose of reality, the Welcome to Vegas sign isn’t the only place to find it. I spent an hour talking to a young lady that works for our company in Las Vegas. Her brother was one of the people who lost their lives in the shooting. He was 16. Listening to her story was incredibly tough, but nowhere near as tough as the road her family has to fill their void. We talked for over an hour and still didn’t say everything that needed to be said. There were tears and laughter (more of the former).
The Final Two Pennies
Vegas is strong. So is Houston. And, Puerto Rico. But, there’s still a lot of hurt. Things can look so normal if you don’t want to look a bit deeper in Las Vegas right now. Keep it in mind when you think that maybe they’ve moved on. That Welcome sign was always a tourist trap to me. Now, it’s a required stop. Even once the flowers and candles are gone, there are people to remember.
Special thanks to Lisa T. for the Mandalay Bay pictures.
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