As a parent, you’ll experience a number of significant milestones in the early years of your child’s life. Indeed, from their kids’ first steps to their children learning how to talk, moms and dads will remember these moments for years to come. Elizabeth Gomez could definitely relate to that, as her young son reached a big landmark in August 2019.
Residents of Fort Worth, Texas, Gomez and her boy were preparing for an important day in the latter’s life at that time. He was due to start his first day at kindergarten, in fact, which would kick off his journey through the school system. However, the youngster’s mom couldn’t help but feel a little concerned ahead of this big moment.
That’s because just over a week before Gomez’s son took the first steps in earning his education, a mass shooting occurred in El Paso, Texas. As a result of that tragic incident, more than 20 people were killed and many others wounded. Then, after the culprit was apprehended, he admitted that he’d singled out Latinos during the attack.
Given that disturbing news, Gomez was understandably cautious ahead of her son’s big day. But despite her concerns, the boy offered his mother some words of reassurance as he walked to their car. And since then, a video capturing that sweet exchange has made a massive impact on social media.
For those living in the United States, 2019 has proved to be a very troubling year so far. Prior to August, nearly 250 mass shootings had taken place in various parts of the country, with 52 of those incidents happening in July alone. Tragically, 246 people had died in the course of those attacks, while close to 1,000 had been injured.
The deadliest incident during this shocking period took place in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in May 2019. On that particular occasion, 12 individuals were murdered by a mass shooter at a local town hall. The culprit also injured an additional four people in the attack before the authorities shot him.
And yet more mass shootings took place over the following couple of months. However, few people could’ve predicted what would happen later in the summer, as three horrific attacks occurred within the space of a week. The first of those incidents happened at the back-end of July.
At that time, a large number of visitors were enjoying the last day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. But as the event began to wind down, a man named Santino William Legan pulled out a rifle and started firing. It’s believed that the shooting lasted for around 60 seconds before the authorities intervened.
By the time that Legan was done, though, three individuals had been fatally wounded, while more than 10 others were wounded. Two of the victims were children: 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and six-year-old Stephen Romero. Then, just a few days on from this incident, another shooting took place.
On August 3 patrons went about their business as per normal at a local Walmart in El Paso. But in the late morning that all changed, as a gunman arrived at the store. With a semi-automatic rifle in his hands, Patrick Crusius started firing at the customers inside the building.
Over the course of around six minutes, Crusius killed 22 people in the Walmart premises, wounding an additional 24. As the shooting continued, the city’s SWAT unit was deployed to the area. Following the attack, the gunman eventually gave himself up to the authorities on a road close to the store.
Given those horrific figures, the El Paso shooting became the worst such incident in America in 2019, surpassing the Virginia Beach tragedy. In addition to that, it took its place among the deadliest mass shootings in the state’s history as well. Only two other attacks in Texas had boasted higher death counts.
A third mass shooting then took place in Dayton, Ohio, some 24 hours after the El Paso massacre. Nine individuals were killed on that occasion, while close to 30 more people were wounded. The culprit was quickly dealt with by the authorities when he opened fire, but the damage had already been done.
While the country was left reeling by the three shootings, the El Paso incident continued to stand out for one particular reason. In contrast to the tragedies in Gilroy and Dayton, the motive behind what happened in the Walmart store became clear in the following days. And the details proved quite chilling.
During a conversation with one of the investigators, Crusius admitted that he had been singling out Latinos when shooting in the El Paso store. In keeping with that, the authorities also suspected that he was responsible for posting a racially driven online “manifesto” prior to the shooting. But the details didn’t end there.
Alongside that information, the investigators believed that Crusius had spent in excess of ten hours traveling to El Paso in his car as well. The shooter’s agenda was then seemingly confirmed by one of the injured customers, Chris Grant, who’d attempted to stop the massacre. As Grant recovered at a medical facility, he looked back on everything that had happened.
“I was inside the produce department, which is right by the front door,” Grant told CNN. “And I saw [Crusius] popping people off. I was like, you know, ‘This is crazy.’ So to deter him, I started just chucking bottles. I just started throwing bottles, random bottles, at him. Then one went right toward him.”
At that point, Crusius fired at Grant, catching him with a couple of shots to the torso. But despite his injuries, Grant kept an eye on the shooter’s movements. The wounded man continued, “He walked to the bank, which was right by the restrooms, and just randomly started [shooting people].”
“I knew people were praying in Spanish. And [Crusius] was just… they’re on the ground, and he still just shot them in the head,” Grant added. “I mean, they’re praying in Spanish, [saying] ‘Please, please, don’t shoot me.’ And he had no remorse for their lives at all.”
Given those horrific details, then, a Latino mother such as Elizabeth Gomez couldn’t help but feel incredibly cautious ahead of a big day in her life. As we heard earlier, around a week on from the El Paso mass shooting, Gomez’s young son was due to start kindergarten in Fort Worth. And while there’s more than 600 miles between the two cities, the tragedy continued to stick in her mind.
For a lot of parents, sending their child off to school for the first time can cause plenty of anxiety at home. Indeed, in some cases this could be the longest period that they’ve ever spent apart from the youngster. So with that in mind, Gomez was probably already feeling some stress even before those terrible events in El Paso.
Following the tragedy, Gomez’s anxiety understandably appeared to intensify. But despite the mom’s concerns, she wasn’t going to let them stand in the way of her son’s big day in August 2019. And she decided to capture a few moments of this significant milestone for the youngster on her camera.
In the resulting footage, as the morning sun kisses the tarmac behind Gomez’s car, she catches her boy walking toward the vehicle. Dressed in a blue shirt and brown shorts, he’s also wearing a large backpack when he approaches his mother. At this point, she asks the kindergartener a question.
“You’re going to your first day at kindergarten. How do you feel?” Gomez says. After a brief pause, her son looks at the camera with a smile and responds, “Good!” From here, the Fort Worth resident has another query, asking if he’s feeling any nerves ahead of his first day.
“No,” Gomez’s son replies, which seemingly catches her off guard. “I’m nervous,” she then admits, drawing a surprised look from the youngster. “Can you tell me something to make me feel better?” the mom asks. After this, he looks into the camera and offers up some comforting words.
Gomez’s son says, “Erm, just please don’t be scared, because there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Off the back of this heart-warming piece of advice, the pair exchange “I love yous” before the kindergartener hops into the car. With that, the brief clip comes to an end, but no one could’ve predicted what would happen next.
After Gomez recorded that video, she subsequently sent it to her cousin Stephanie later in the day. Clearly touched by what she saw, the relative then shared the clip on Twitter. “He said, ‘Please don’t be scared cause there’s nothing to be afraid of,’” she wrote in the accompanying tweet. “I love him so much.”
And before long, Gomez’s short video went viral on social media, earning well over two million views on Twitter alone. As for the tweet itself, that generated close to 60,000 retweets and just under 200,000 likes. The reaction didn’t end there, though, as online users responded to the kid’s calming words in the comments section, too.
“I feel like one conversation with [Gomez’s son], he can help me file my taxes,” a Twitter user with the handle jdSquad wrote. “Figure out why I’m depressed, tell me what foods to eat that can burn fat while I sleep and tell me the meaning of life. He GENIUS smart, I can tell!”
A number of other users also offered up humorous responses as they hailed Gomez’s son. While the replies continued to flood in on Twitter, one particular comment really stood out from the rest. Unsurprisingly, the Fort Worth resident wasn’t the only parent feeling nervous ahead of school.
“This is awesome!” wrote a user going by the name of TALENTD. “Next week my baby starts kindergarten, and I swear daddy is gonna be in tears to see my princess go somewhere without me being there! So I feel you on this.” And away from Twitter, Gomez also posted the video on her own Instagram account a few days later.
Much like before, the heart-warming clip generated a big response, earning more than 30,000 views and hundreds of comments. Alongside the video, Gomez also wrote up a lengthy message about her child. And as it turned out, she had a way with words just like the youngster.
“Your voice is the orchestra to my soul. There is no dissonance in your tune,” Gomez wrote on Instagram. “If the band were to fall silent, my spirit would continue vibrating to the beat of your song. Sing to me your melodies of goodwill and wonder, for I shall never reduce the volume of your quintessence.”
Gomez’s touching message didn’t stop there, as she made one last point. “You will live in infamy my luminary star, for your music is nirvana,” the proud mom added. “I love you is an understatement.” Moreover, that wasn’t the only post that she made on Instagram about her son’s first day at kindergarten.
In fact, a few days before sharing the video on the social media website, Gomez had taken a photo of her boy in his school uniform. Sporting a warm smile, he was captured standing outside on a patch of grass. And much like she would do in the other post, Gomez wrote up a message to accompany the image.
“So masterfully created and crafted,” Gomez said of her son on Instagram in August 2019. “Wildfire setting all things in his path ablaze. An uncontrolled, genuine, grateful, innocuous, exuberant, kind and messy version of two humans. A concoction of inquiries with very little answers.” And the mom’s thoughts didn’t conclude there.
“Yet the burning question still rises within me,” Gomez added. “How am I so fortunate to know you? How giving Mother Earth has been for gifting us you. An exciting first for the both of us, cheers to the new adventures kid.” Since being shared, the mother’s thoughtful post has generated another big reaction.
The Instagram post has earned in excess of 3,000 likes during that time, while also generating in excess of 150 comments from online users. Most of those responses proved to be incredibly positive, with people praising Gomez’s work as a mom. But that wasn’t all, as someone made a telling observation.
“Your captions are always so poetic and beautiful,” wrote an Instagram user named audieaaron in the comments section of the post. “No wonder this baby boy speaks so eloquently.” And that particular message appeared to make an impact on Gomez, as the Texas resident acknowledged those words with a gracious reply.
Meanwhile, one other comment continued to stand out. “Awesome job, mom!” an Instagram fan stated. “He is so sweet, thoughtful and so full of wisdom. Keep up the good work! He is going to be the change we see in the world! I hope he has an awesome week at school!”