NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Family and friends were at Norfolk International Airport waiting for their arrival. Kati Wilkins and Johanna Munnelly had been in Paris since Wednesday for a conference that included people from 72 countries.
When the attacks happened they were in a theater in the 18th district getting ready to see a show.
“We heard sirens and commotion and we turned our phones on and we were getting messages from friends and family back home asking if we were okay. They are the ones that told us what was going on,” Kati Wilkins said.
“We figured out what was going on pretty fast from people telling us, our friends were text messaging us and Jo was a little bit calmer, and I was a little bit more panicked. I was ready to leave. I was ready to come back to our place and hide here,” Wilkins said.
She says the streets were empty.
“There was hardly anyone on the streets, cars even. When we got here the roads were packed, honking horns everywhere, people riding bicycles. Last night there was no one of that over here,” explained Wilkins.
“We were told to stay low, low profile. Do not go anywhere, so we are staying put until we know we can get safely to the airport and get a flight home,” Wilkins said.
The North Carolina natives say the Parisians have shown them nothing but hospitality and they hope the city of light soon shines bright again.
“The Parisians here are absolutely wonderful and they have been very welcoming and very friendly. It wouldn’t be fair to say I’m never coming back to Paris because of this one experience,” explained Munnelly.
The ladies say although their plans were cut short, they would go back to Paris.