One American is lucky to be alive, three times over, after experiencing terrorism thrice in a few short years. On Tuesday, 19-year-old Mason Wells escaped with his life during the airport portion of the Brussels terror attacks. He and some fellow Mormon missionaries had just dropped off a member for a departing flight when two explosions ripped through the building. Wells sustained injuries on one side of his face, and his right hand was badly burned, but he survived. Two of his fellow missionaries suffered similar injuries while a fourth walked away with minor bumps and bruises. The group was six weeks into their Belgian mission when their lives were forever altered.
That right there is enough to cause serious reflection, but what’s even more frightening is how this isn’t Wells’ first encounter with terror. As a spectator of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Wells hoped to catch a glimpse of his runner mother as he stood a block away from the pressure-cooker bomb that exploded near the race’s finish line. He and his father were also in Paris during the attacks that claimed over a hundred lives last November. Scott Bond, a Latter Day Saints Church Bishop who knows Wells, remarked upon the “incredible” nature of surviving more than one tragedy. Bond spoke with the New York Daily News:
“It’s incredible he’d be so close to more than one of these. I think any of us would be seriously shaken, but I think he’s someone who could handle this better than anybody. He’s the kind of young man to somehow turn this into a positive. He’s a terrific young man.”
As authorities continue to search for those responsible in Brussels, stories like this one — along with that of heroic airport worker Alphonse Youla — take us away from the cable news stream and put a human face on survival. In this ABC News video, Wells’ parents touch base via phone with their son as he describes his wounds. The emotion pours forth as Wells (a former Eagle Scout) struggles to keep his parents calm while also admitting he’ll be hospitalized for a few weeks. Once Wells recovers, he hopes to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Here’s the ABC News video of Wells’ conversation with his parents.