Mike Rowe is well known for saying profound and incredibly insightful things on social media, even as Twitter and Facebook descend into an abyss of political sniping and angry retorts.
His response to a reeling Las Vegas resident is, of course, no exception.
A woman named Molly Carr wrote to Mike on Facebook, asking if he had any words for the hurting city. “I live in Las Vegas, and I’ve seen you here often. Once, in the lobby at Mandalay Bay. We’re all shattered here, obviously. A comforting word from you would go a long way.”
Mike responded, without hesitation, fondly recalling the time he spent at Mandalay Bay while working on his Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs.
“There are no words, Molly, at least in my vocabulary, to bring you the comfort you seek,” he wrote. “But there are people among us who restore my faith in the species, even as others seek to rob me of it.”
“I’m not surprised you saw me at the Mandalay,” he continued. “I cleaned their shark tank back in 2006, and I’ve stayed there at least thirty times since. Maybe that’s why my initial thoughts about this latest tragedy were so random and strange. Even before I imagined myself in the thick of the chaos, (as I always do,) and even before I thanked God that I wasn’t, (as I don’t do enough,) I found myself wondering if I had used the same elevator as the killer. Isn’t that odd?”
Rowe then delved into his own psyche, wrestling with his presumed connection to the Las Vegas mass shooter, Stephen Paddock, trying to reason with having walked the same halls and, perhaps, even stayed in the same room.
“As people were being murdered in the most cowardly way imaginable, by a creature I can barely think of as human, I lay in my bed at home, stunned and horrified – wondering if I had stood in the same box and pushed the same buttons as the man now destroying countless lives and families,” Rowe wrote. “Since I’ve ridden all the elevators at Mandalay, I determined that the answer was yes.”
“I then wondered if the killer and I had shared the same barstool in the lobby? Had we swam in the same pool, or chatted up the same bellman, or played a hand of blackjack at the same table? Had we slept in the same bed?”
It turns out that it’s very possible: Rowe says he stayed on Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor, in one of the King Panoramic suites, which offers a wall of windows with a sweeping view of the strip. It was the same view Paddock requested, so that he could get a clear line of sight to the country music festival below.
“I remember looking down at the sprawling, empty space 300 feet below my window,” he continued. “The same sprawling space that was recently filled with thousands of people having a good time, right up until they weren’t, courtesy of a monster.”
He was struck, he said, by “how unknowingly we rub elbows with evil.”
“They look just like us. And so we dine with them in restaurants, unknowingly. We walk by them in shopping malls, sit next to them in theaters, and maybe even hold the door for them as they smile and nod in thanks.”
Rowe then turned to the city of Las Vegas, in the hopes of offering some solace in the midst of a devastating tragedy that has now rocked a city to its core. He encouraged his fans to see the good in the people that ran to the rescue, and those who selflessly gave their own lives to protect their friends and family members.
“I’m sorry, Molly. I know these are not comforting words. The world is as uncertain as the people in it, and we share this rock with some very uncertain folks. But we also share it with living proof that hope will never die. Take comfort in men who threw themselves over other people’s children. They are no less real than the killer, and they are still with us. Take comfort in the woman who loaded wounded strangers into her car and drove them out of harm’s way. Take comfort in the hundreds of first responders who risk their lives every day, and the hundreds of anonymous citizens who stood in line to give their blood. Take comfort in the fact all good people are shattered, and that you are not alone.”
“There are no words, Molly, at least in my vocabulary, to bring you the comfort you seek,” Rowe went on. “But there are people among us who restore my faith in the species, even as others seek to rob me of it. I can introduce you to those people. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my little slice of cyber space, and that’s what I can do today. The same thing I do every Tuesday.”
Towards the end, Rowe reminded his fans of an episode of Dirty Jobs that he spent with a woman named “Ginger,” who, along with a group of fellow aunts and grandmothers, travels around the country serving soup to first responders who are helping around the clock in a tragedy. He used Ginger’s story to remind his fans that while tragedy is often a reminder of the worst in people, it’s also often a reminder that there is incredible good in humanity.