One of the more priceless exchanges of this week’s Oklahoma City tornado news coverage happened about 5:35 p.m. Tuesday.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was interviewing a young woman named Rebecca, whose husband was traveling when the tornado hit, and who was prepared to ride out the tornado with her 19-month-old son Anders.
Rebecca, who’s from Louisiana, explained that all her Oklahoma-native neighbors and her husband told her to stay in the house because “it never hits anybody.” On Monday, she and Anders grabbed a mattress and got in the tub, watched on a laptop as the tornado approached — then, she said, “I just panicked.”
“I’m from Louisiana. We have hurricanes. And when they’re big, you just leave — you know?” she said to Wolf.
“I ran. I ran. I didn’t have any shoes on,” Rebecca continued.
Rebecca drove in the opposite direction as the tornado and escaped, returning to the house about 45 minutes later to see whether her cats had survived, only to find her husband there, searching for her and their son in the rubble that had been their home.
“We just burst into tears. It was awesome,” Rebecca told Wolf.
“Well, you’re blessed. Brian, your husband, is blessed. Anders is blessed. . . . We’re happy you’re here. You guys did a great job and I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” Wolf wondered.
“Yeah,” Rebecca said, noncommittally.
“Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” Wolf pressed.
“I-I’m-I’m-I’m actually an atheist,” Rebecca responded, apologetically.
“You are? Alright, don’t thank the Lord,” said Wolf.