Thinking your world is about to end has a way of giving life some perspective. Maybe the house being a mess isn’t such a big deal.
That lesson was one in a mix of relief, sadness and anger as panicked residents of Hawaii learned their islands were not, in fact, being targeted by a ballistic missile on Saturday morning, as a false alarm sent out to the whole state had led them to believe.
Amanda Olson of Kauai was enjoying her regular Saturday morning exercise class when she received the alert. As everyone else in the class checked their phones, peace turned quickly to panic.
“It went from being a regular morning exercise class to all of us running for our lives,” said Olson, 35, at one time a Huntington Beach resident and intern at the Orange County Register.
“It was the most panicked I’ve ever felt in my life,” she said. “I was terrified. I thought for sure it was all going to end in a few minutes. Part of me thought ‘okay, this is a bad dream, this isn’t real.’”
Rushing home to her husband and children, Olson found herself wondering what she was supposed to do. The bathroom isn’t exactly missile-proof, after all, and the alert offered no advice beyond telling everyone to take shelter immediately. All she wanted was to be together with her family if it was all about to end.
Approaching her house, Olson talked with confused and frightened neighbors before finding her husband in the bathroom filling up emergency water bottles.
After a lengthy 15 minutes, Olson got in touch with her brother, who had heard the alert was a false alarm. It was more than 30 minutes before official word went out confirming it, Olson said. By then, her family driven to…