Christelle Thimon urgently tried to reach her family in France on the phone Thursday after news broke of the attack in Nice. A truck drove onto a crowded sidewalk following a fireworks display along the seafront in Nice, France. The interior minister says 80 people have been confirmed dead, while 18 of the injured are in critical condition.
She was in a parking lot, about to attend a Bastille Day Celebration in the Bishop Arts District.
“I couldn’t get through to them at first,” she said.
Thimon, who now lives in Grand Prairie and works for a credit financing company in Dallas, grew up near Nice and still has family members living there.
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“Then my brother called me back,” she said. “And when he called I was crying. He said, 'I’m OK, we're OK, we're OK.' And I was like, 'What about auntie?' And he was like, 'She was in bed. She's sleeping. It's fine. It's fine.'"
She reached her brother a second time on Facetime.
"He says he's fine but he can't sleep,” she said, holding up her screen.
At the Dallas celebration, the mood was festive. Live music blared from every corner.
"You have to just live your life,” said longtime Bishop Arts resident Trixie Tincher. “You have to trust. You have to live your life."
She said she is not afraid.
"This is what it's all about,” she said. “Love your neighbor."
Thimon said she recently talked with a family member in France who was afraid to send her daughter to Dallas after last week's attack on police.
"My sister in law called, because my niece is coming,” Thimon said. “And she said, 'I can't believe she's coming to you next month, in August, and this is happening. And I replied this could have happened anywhere, even to you. And it happened."
But on this night, the party continued, with a crowd determined to celebrate life, instead of fear it.
"It's a lot. It's too much,” Thimon said. “You try to make sense of it, but there's no sense to be make of it. I don't want fear to overcome me, so I won't let fear overcome me.”