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Jayna’s hotel room was a crime scene

Jayna was excited – she was about to get married.

She works in the wedding industry, so she knows how to handle every detail. She also hired a wedding planner. Shayna knows from experience that on the day of the wedding, there are lots of different things happening, and you have to anticipate problems and avoid surprises.

She never could have predicted that the events of that day would include a fire alarm, a gunman, and having her wedding story featured on the national news.

Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel
Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel

 

Jayna (top left) and her bridesmaids, the night before the wedding
Jayna (top left) and her bridesmaids, the night before the wedding

 

Jayna and her bridesmaids
Jayna and her bridesmaids

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Episode transcript (download transcript PDF):

Jayna was excited – she was about to get married.

 

She works in the wedding industry, so she knows how to handle every detail. She also hired a wedding planner. Jayna knows from experience that on the day of the wedding, there are lots of different things happening, and you have to anticipate problems and avoid surprises.

 

She never could have predicted that the events of that day would include a fire alarm, a gunman, and having her wedding story featured on the national news.

 

 

Scott

How many bridesmaids did you have for this wedding?

 

Jayna 

I had just 3 bridesmaids for my wedding. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to have any, but I did have 3. I had my sister and two of my best friends.

 

Scott

Originally, you were thinking that this wedding was going to be something kind of small and intimate, but then that kind of got changed around. What was the process there?

 

Jayna

My fiance was Filipino. Actually, he still is Filipino. Out of respect for his culture and everything, I just thought it would be really cool to have a small, intimate wedding in the Philippines. So I was researching beaches and hotels. I had connected with photographers there because I just wanted, maybe, like, one of those long 10-person-long tables on a beach, something nice and intimate, really good food, beautiful location, great photography, and that sort of thing. So I was researching all that kind of stuff. But my in-laws, kind of, boshed my whole plan. I even bought a wedding dress for a beach wedding.

 

They were telling me that they thought that it might not be safe for me to get married in the Philippines, which is, of course, their opinion. They said that being white or North American, people might see me as being wealthy, so they thought that it would not be safe for me. So they said, “No, you could get kidnapped in the Philippines.” I thought, “Well, then, I sure as hell don’t want to get married in the Philippines. I mean, I wouldn’t want to take that risk, especially if I’d already been warned about it.” Then it ended up being a wedding back home in my city.

 

The way I operate was– I’m like, “Okay. Well, if it’s going to be at home–” I work in the wedding industry, so I was like, “Well, great. I’m going to have all my friends who work in the wedding industry there. Well then, it has to be big. It has to be cool.

 

Everybody there has already seen everything, so I wanted it to be really unique if it was going to be back home. Then, the guest list just grew and grew and grew. Then, it was nothing like what I originally imagined at all.

 

Scott 

Right. Completely different. Now your fiance’s name is Ray…

 

Jayna

Yes.

 

Scott

What did he think of where it should be? Or was he just like, “Yeah, whatever you want.”

 

Jayna

Well, it was going to be my second wedding and his first wedding, so that’s why we had such different ideas. For me, I was like, “I’ve already done the big thing and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the marriage.” So I had just a different perspective. His outlook was, “I want to tell the whole world – I want to show the whole world – this woman that I found.” I was thinking, “Well, I can’t really argue with that.” So that was his impression. So yeah, we had different ideas. But because it was his first time, I also wanted to really respect his vision of what he wanted for a wedding.

 

Scott 

It seems kind of like, rather than the typical formal wedding, you were kind of going for a little more of a fun kind of theme.

 

Jayna

Yes, 1,000%. Yeah, because, of course, I’ve seen everything. Also, I’m an aquarian, and aquarians like everything weird. If we’ve seen it before, then we don’t like it. Because I was in Vancouver, Canada, I wanted, like, a “Vegas in Vancouver” theme. So I booked a nightclub. I had hip-hop dancers. I made a music video as a surprise to him where I recreated the “Whatta Man” music video by Salt-N-Pepa. Like, everything was big and crazy. My bridesmaids wore leopard print. I heard this quote one time that said, “A wedding isn’t a good party cuz you would never invite your grandparents to a good party.” I thought, “No, my wedding’s going to be a good party that my grandparents just happen to be at. If they want to leave early, I don’t care because this is about, like, a good time. So that’s what my goal was.

 

Scott

So were your grandparents there and did they leave early?

 

Jayna

My grandparents were there. They were probably the first ones on the dance floor. So yeah, that wasn’t a problem at all.

 

Scott

Good for them!

 

Jayna

Listen, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, right? I got my desire to party and have a good time from somewhere.

 

Scott

Well, you are obviously a high-energy, excited person.

 

Jayna

Is it that obvious?

 

Scott

It’s a little bit obvious. I can kinda read between the lines and pick that up.

 

Jayna

Okay, yeah.

 

Scott

So let’s talk about that night. First of all, there were, you said there were you and 3 bridesmaids. What about Ray’s men – the groomsmen? How many of those were there?

 

Jayna

There were 3 groomsmen. His sister was on his side too, so there were technically 4 on his side in his bridal party. They were going to all get ready at Ray’s parents’ house, so they were in the comfort of their home enjoying, like, a homemade breakfast. They were just kicking back and enjoying themselves. So they had a very different experience on the wedding day than I did, for sure.

 

Scott

And you and the ladies stayed at a hotel. Can you talk about that? What hotel was that?

 

Jayna

Yeah. I do weddings for a living. I do hair and makeup for brides. So I knew all the hotels in the city. I definitely knew how I wanted my wedding morning to look. I had a very specific idea of how I wanted it to be. So I booked myself and my ladies in at the Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver, which was one of the newer hotels – super beautiful with, like, this bougie cocktail, sushi lounge downstairs, white marble, and everything. It was just so, so, so beautiful. That’s where I wanted us to be because I knew that it would look good in photos and the lobby smells delicious. It’s just all the things that you want for a girly good time with champagne and all that good stuff. ,

 

Scott

I’m sure that’s part of how they designed the hotel because they know there would be groups like you coming in, taking pictures and you want to look good.

 

Jayna

Exactly. Totally. It’s all about the photos. If you didn’t get good pictures, did it even really happen?

 

Scott

You went there the night before the wedding. What did you do that night?

 

Jayna

I had matching pajamas for all the girls. I bought these onesie pajamas – like, a full-body jumper or a full-body Long John outfit, but they were all leopard print. We were all in these leopard print onesies. We’re doing face masks. We were playing music in the room and drinking champagne. Then, we ran downstairs to the lobby, took a bunch of silly pictures just in the lobby, and just, “Oh, isn’t this wild and crazy?” We’re running around the hotel in our pajamas. So we were just being ridiculous. Then, we were taking pictures, posting them on Facebook, and just having a good time.

 

Scott

We’ll have some of those pictures on the website and the show notes for this episode so people can see that.

 

Jayna

Oh, great.

 

Scott

That went late into the night, right?

 

Jayna

Yeah. Of course, there’s the mixture of the nerves and of the wedding. We had all these to-do lists. I had so many moving parts for the wedding. I was going to have a flash mob choir in the ceremony. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie, “Love Actually.” Have you ever seen that movie?

 

Scott

Mm, yeah. With Hugh Grant?

 

Jayna

Yeah. There’s a scene in the wedding when they announce, “Husband and wife.” The best man arranged to have, like, trumpets stand up and then they start singing “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. It’s this whole big thing in the church after they say, “I do”. Well, I had arranged for a whole choir– as soon as they announced us as husband and wife, some people would stand up in some pews and, like, “Love, love, love…” Then, the other people stood up. Then, the whole church was singing, “All you need is love.” And my guests were like, “What the hell’s going on?” So I had so many moving parts between, like, flash mob choirs and the music video that was being edited. I had just so many things. There was a mixture of, “I wanted to sleep but there were so many checklists.” And, but

 

Scott

Hang on a second. Didn’t you have a wedding planner? Wouldn’t that person do a lot of this?

 

Jayna

I did have a wedding planner, for sure. Her name’s Alicia. She’s the best wedding planner, for sure, in the city. Actually, Vogue magazine voted her as one of the Top 10 wedding planners in the world. She’s amazing. But of course, like I said, because I work in weddings, I just knew how I wanted things. She was going to be my day-of coordinator. Actually, what’s funny is, because I consider her such a good friend, I initially asked her to just be one of my bridesmaids and she rejected me. She said, “No, because if I’m sitting in the hotel room with you and I’m not in control of all the moving parts and making sure everything’s okay, then I’m going to lose my mind.” So she actually rejected me. Then, what I did was I bought her a bridesmaids outfit so that instead of her working in her normal wedding planner all-black, kind of, pants and fanny pack, whatever, she was wearing a bridesmaid outfit as my wedding planner, just as my little kind of tribute to her because I was like, “Okay, you can still be my wedding planner, but I want everyone to know that I really wanted you to be a bridesmaid.”

 

Scott

That’s cool. That’s a good compromise.

 

Jayna

Yeah. It actually ended up benefiting me in the long run because of everything that went wrong. It ended up being so much better that she did say no to being a bridesmaid, but we’ll get to that later.

 

Scott

So talking about what went wrong, you guys were coming back to the room – this was, like, in the middle of the night at 3 AM, 4 AM, or something like that?

 

Jayna

Yes. I mean, I don’t know – it’s hazy. The four of us drank 2 bottles of champagne. So what happened was we were running around the lobby taking our photos. We got back up to our room. We were fumbling to find the key to get into the room when, all of a sudden, the alarms started going off in the building. It’s pretty strange for a really fancy hotel at 3 or 4 in the morning. If they were doing a test or something, it would be at noon. So we were in the hallways, like, “What the hell’s going on?” Then, this guy in the room next to us opened the door and peeked out. He saw these 4 girls standing in leopard print pajamas outside his room and he was like, “What’s going on?” We said, “We don’t know.” He went, “It’s probably nothing.” Somebody probably just pulled an alarm. We were like, “Yeah, probably.” So, then, we just went back into our room. Instead of evacuating, we just went back into our room and poured another glass of champagne, probably.

 

Scott

That just seems so odd though. I mean, usually, like you said, if it was a test, it wouldn’t have been in the middle of the night.

 

Jayna

Exactly. But sometimes people pull alarms, right? Or it’s a false alarm. I don’t know.

 

Scott

Or sometimes, the hotel’s on fire.

 

Jayna 

Sometimes, there’s an actual emergency. Exactly! But ignorance is bliss. We were like, “Ah, fuck it.” So that was kind of the mood of the moment. Fuck it. It’s a technical term.

 

Scott

All right. So you guys just went in, ignored it, and went to bed?

 

Jayna

Yep. Mm-hmm. We had a suite in the hotel. I had my own bedroom with, like, this king-sized bed. My bridesmaids wanted me to get a good night’s sleep, which is hilarious because do any bride get a good night’s sleep the night before– so they were all in the other room on their bed. So we all said goodnight and whatever. We turned out the lights. I think it was probably, like, 4 when we went to sleep. I knew that I still had thank you notes that I wanted to write for my bridesmaid, for the groomsmen, for the parents, and everything, so I popped up out of bed at, like, 6 o’clock in the morning, I would say – so, only two hours later.

 

All my bridesmaids were still asleep. I started writing my notes. I was just lying on the bed writing things out. Then, as a break, I just went to my Facebook just to see because, obviously, there’s all the hype around the wedding. Everybody knew I was getting married – we were posting. I do a lot of stuff on social media. So of course, I was posting and keeping everybody updated. I wanted to see, “What’s the feedback? Do people care? What kind of messages am I getting?” So I opened up this message on Facebook. Somebody commented, I think, on the picture that I posted and she said, “Oh my God, I’m watching the news! Are you okay?”

 

I was like, “I’m sorry. Why wouldn’t I be okay?” My heart just kind of sank because I thought, “Is there something I don’t know?” Then, of course, my mind went back to that alarm that had gone off in the middle of the night which I didn’t know what it was about.

 

Scott

Yeah. Boy, that’s gotta make you so curious, like, “What’s going on that I don’t know about?”

 

Jayna

Exactly. And “Please, not on my wedding day. Please, not this day that I had planned for. We moved the date once, so I’d been planning this wedding for a solid two and a half years. Obviously, there’s just so much pressure put on that one day. The last thing I wanted was for something to go horribly wrong, especially if you feel like you’ve already dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, you have a wedding planner, and you’ve preemptively found every solution to every possible problem that could come along. But you just can’t predict every kind of problem, right?

 

Scott

Yeah, exactly. Obviously, in your business, you must work with checklists and know that nothing could fall through the holes because you’ve covered everything.

 

Jayna

Yeah, I’ve seen brides have meltdowns over the wildest things. I have a really good way of putting things into perspective where I’m like, “You know what? This does not matter.” My motto is always “Ask yourself this question if anything’s going wrong for your wedding.” Ask yourself this question, “Will the guests leave your wedding saying, ‘What a fabulous wedding! Too bad one bridesmaid’s toenail polish wasn’t the same color as the other bridesmaids.’” Some brides will freak out over something that simple that nobody would ever notice. So I had a really, really good idea of what really matters and what doesn’t.

 

Scott

Yeah. How did you figure out what was going on and what did you do?

 

Jayna

Right. I didn’t know what to do, so I just went to grandfather Google and I searched, “News Pacific Rim, Vancouver.” That’s all. I didn’t know what else to do because she said she saw it on the news. So I just searched “News Pacific Rim Vancouver” and all these stories came up.

 

Scott

The Fairmont Pacific Rim is the name of the hotel?

 

Jayna

Yes. Pacific Rim. Okay. Yes, exactly. Obviously, I posted what we were doing and tagged the hotel we were at on Facebook, so I figured that that’s why she said, “I saw it on– is everything okay?” So I searched it and it said, “There is currently a police standoff happening with a deranged gunman in the lobby of the Pacific Rim Hotel.

 

Scott

The lobby where you just were? Or is there more than one lobby?

 

Jayna

Yes. Literally, the lobby that I just was in with all my bridesmaids. We were in the lobby taking photos. We came upstairs. The alarms went off while we were in the hallway, which means we literally just missed the gunman by, like, moments because the alarms obviously went up but all we did was coming up the elevator when the alarms were going off. I mean, we very well could have been in the lobby at the same time he was there. We just didn’t know what was happening and went back up. I really don’t know but, yeah, it was pretty crazy.

 

So the first thing that I did when I read that was I ran to the window because I just thought, “If something crazy is happening, are there police outside? What’s happening?” So I just got up and ran to the window. We were on the 9th floor. I looked down and it looked like I was watching a scene from a movie. There were police cars circling the whole building and yellow tape all around us. So everything was shut down for as far as I could see. Basically, in Canada, we were overly safe. You couldn’t even get within 2 blocks of the hotel. There were police absolutely everywhere.

 

When you see those scenes in movies when a guy’s about to jump off, jump out a window, and you see all the police side by side by side looking up the building – that’s basically what it looked like from my perspective looking down. It looked like I was about to jump and all these police cars were trying to tell me not to. Yeah, there were a lot of police. I ran into the other room and I was like, “Holy shit. You guys, wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Look! You guys remember the alarms last night?” They were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I was like, “There’s a gunman downstairs.” They’re like, “What?!” Then, they all ran into the window, looked down, and saw all the police cars. We were just like, “What the hell do we do now?”

 

Scott

Obviously it’s something unusual, but even more so in Canada because you guys don’t have the mass shooting problems that we have here in the US, right?

 

Jayna

Yeah. Guns are not really a thing. I mean, when I travel to the US, I have moments where I’ll be in traffic and think, like, “Oh, that guy could have a gun in his car.” Whoa. We just don’t have that here. People don’t carry guns. It’s not a thing that you hear about unless maybe somebody’s a hunter.

 

But yeah, for someone to just wander into a lobby with a gun waving it around and nobody knowing what their intentions are, for sure, it’s not a normal thing in Canada at all.

 

Scott

So at that point, I would think the hotel would be calling each room to advise what’s going on. You just found out about it on Facebook and on Google. Did you hear from the front desk or anything about this?

 

Jayna

Well, what I found out later was that, of course, they evacuated all the staff in the building. So anyone who was working in the lobby or anyone who would’ve been interacting with the lobby or anything were all being evacuated out the back. So it wasn’t like there was somebody working at the front desk to answer our questions if we called down. The building has mostly been evacuated. It was, like, every man for himself kind of thing. So later, I discovered that there was a message, I think, left on our machine in our room, but checking the answering machine was not, like, the first thing I thought of.

 

Throughout that whole morning, all we really knew was what we were seeing updated on Twitter. We were watching, like, social media feeds, but we were never notified by anybody, really, because as soon as the staff left the hotel, they didn’t even know who were left in what rooms, who evacuated when, who might have left, when the alarms went off, or anything.

 

And the other thing that’s really important to note is they sounded the alarms not knowing what else to do, but it was actually a horrible, horrible move because when you have a man in a lobby with a gun and then you sound alarms, then everybody starts to evacuate. And you don’t want people in the lobby with a guy with a gun. So we were actually better off staying in our room like we did because it wouldn’t have made much sense for us to go running through the lobby at that moment. I think most people ignored it.

 

Scott 

So in your drunken stupor, you made a better decision than everybody else.

 

Jayna

Yeah. Later, I spoke with the GM and he actually said, “Yeah, looking back, it was a mistake to set the alarms off, but this was the first time we’d ever been faced with this situation, so we don’t really know what to do if it’s never happened before.” I’m sure now that they have a really great plan for if a gunman walks into the lobby.

 

Scott

Right. They’ve got a policy now.

 

Jayna

Yeah. But at that moment, there was really nothing.

 

Scott

By this time, there were probably some people who would’ve been on the way to the hotel to start prepping for the wedding and everything and they may not have known what was going on yet.

 

Jayna

Right. I had a whole bunch of things that were supposed to happen with people coming into the hotel that morning. My photographer was supposed to come and get photos of us getting ready. I had a video team that was supposed to come in and get videos of us getting ready. My mom hadn’t seen my wedding dress yet. I was keeping it a surprise for her because I wanted– I had told her that I was going to do her hair and makeup, and I wanted to get her ready. Then, I was going to get myself ready and then have, like, a reveal moment where she saw my dress for the first time.

 

So the first thing I did was call her and say, “Mom, please don’t come to the hotel. I don’t know what’s happening, but you’re not going to be able to get in. There’s a gunman downstairs.” The first thing she said was, “Well, who’s going to do my hair? I didn’t even pack a curling iron and I thought you were going to do it.” I was like, “I have other problems right now, mom. I’m sure we’ll figure out your hair.”

 

Scott

That is hilarious. “I know my daughter is in danger from a deranged gunman, but what about my hair?”

 

Jayna

“What about my hair?” She said, “I didn’t even pack a curling iron.” I said, “Well, I’ll see if I have a friend who can drop a curling iron off for you. In the middle of all this, let me try and find you a curling iron.” The other thing that’s really interesting is there were so many people who had told me that I should hire a hair and makeup artist. But that’s what I do for a living, so I wouldn’t have really felt comfortable having anybody else do hair and makeup. So I said I was going to do my own, even though people thought I was crazy. Then, I have a girl, one of my best friends – I call her my ride-or-die. She has worked with me for 13 years. She was going to come and do hair and makeup for my bridesmaids. Of course, now, that girl – her name’s Ricky – could not come to the hotel to do hair and makeup for my bridesmaids. But thankfully, I had my kit there – all my hair and makeup stuff – so I could get myself ready. I was like, “Okay, well shit, I guess I am doing hair and makeup for all my bridesmaids now because I don’t know how long this is going to last for – I have no idea how long this whole gunman situation going to be – but we need to be ready when it’s over so that we can go to the wedding.

 

I really never gave up on thinking like, “Keep it moving.” This might blow over really fast. Who knows? Let’s just get ready. So I told my bridesmaids, “I’m going to get myself ready first because I have to walk down the aisle. If you’re not ready, you don’t really have to. Like, it’s fine, if you know what I mean. Let me get myself ready as fast as I can and then I’ll get you guys ready.” So I did my hair and makeup. I mean, now, looking back at the photos, it’s so funny how much I don’t look anything like what I would’ve wanted to look like because I was just thinking like, “Blah blah, blah. Hurry up and get ready because I had three other people’s hair and makeup to do.” So I got myself ready as fast as I could.

 

I did all my bridesmaid’s hair and makeup while we basically watched for news updates on Twitter and there were stories going like, “Oh, he’s on the second floor now.” which I don’t think was true at all. Anybody can post anything, right? So, we were reading all this stuff and were, like, “Is he coming up to our floor?” Then, of course, I reached out to my fiance. I said like, “Babe, something crazy is going on.” He was like, “What?” I was like, “There’s a gunman in the hotel. Of course, if you’re not watching the news, you just wouldn’t know.” He was like, “Holy shit.” But at that point, it was so early in the morning that we kind of thought. “Okay, well, let’s just see how this shakes out” kind of thing. So we started off thinking, “We have a lot of time. Let’s just keep getting ready and just see what happens, kinda.”

 

Scott

Obviously, the cops were handling this. They’re a little more experienced in what to do and everything. They shut down all the surrounding streets.

 

Jayna

Mm-hmm. They shut down the SkyTrain.

 

Scott

What is the SkyTrain? Is that, like, the primary public transportation there?

 

Jayna

The sky train is like our underground– what would you call it in, like, New York? It would be the subway. It’s like our subway, basically. That’s our SkyTrain. They shut that down. They shut all the streets down. People weren’t going to work if your business was anywhere near there. So it’s really funny. Because this was a few years back, whenever I mentioned, “Oh yeah, my wedding was the day the gunman was–” People all remember it because it was a Monday. I forgot to mention that my wedding was on a Monday. So it was supposed to be business as usual that day, but everybody got told, “You can’t come to work. You can’t get on the SkyTrain. You can’t get to work even if you could.” So everyone was kind of on pause. So my wedding is a memorable day for a lot of people – let’s just put it that way.

 

Scott

So no one could come in or out of the hotel. People couldn’t go to work. Obviously, this was all over the local news.

 

Jayna

Yes, it was. It was not just local news, it was international news. It was all across Canada, for sure.

 

News Reporter

It was a dramatic standoff – one that shut down a busy portion of downtown Vancouver for nearly 10 hours. A distraught man walked into a hotel, armed with a gun. As Alan Waterman reports, negotiators spent hours unsuccessfully trying to get him to surrender.

 

Alan Waterman

The standoff that held the city hostage began just before 2.30 in the morning. A 28-year-old Surrey man walked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel and flashed a handgun to the staff. He then proceeded up to the 3rd floor and held up. Police descended on the scene and began negotiations with the gunman. But his only request was for water.

 

Police Negotiators

We want to end this as peacefully as possible. The safety, his safety, the safety of the public and our officers is paramount. There have been no shots fired and we hope that it stays that way.

 

Alan Waterman

Early on, police told hotel staff to pull the fire alarm in order to clear out guests. It seemed to inflame the gunman, so guests were told to lock themselves in their rooms.

 

Male 1

It was a very difficult situation. We were doing the best we could following their direction. I think under the circumstances, they already did everything they could as fast as they could.

 

Alan Waterman

But the situation dragged on not only for the hotel but for much of the downtown core. The uncertainty surrounding the standoff meant police had to issue closures to roughly 8 blocks of the business and hotel district. Thousands had to cancel appointments and face re-routing. Local residents found areas of their buildings closed off.

 

Scott

No one could come and do the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup, so you had to do that. Also, the photographer and videographer couldn’t come in and get any of those pictures either.

 

Jayna

Exactly.

 

Scott

And you guys couldn’t even go down and get breakfast.

 

Jayna

No.

 

Scott

Did you have anything to eat at all?

 

Jayna

Good question. We actually ended up just eating everything in the minibar. We were like, “Oh, there’s some popcorn here. There are some peanuts.” We had a mini bar breakfast on my wedding day.

 

Scott

So some Cheez-its and ginger ale or something.

 

Jayna

There was actually a moment where I looked over at my bridesmaids and said, “Do you think they’re going to charge us for all this?” Usually, you think, like, “Oh, it’s like a million dollars if you eat something in the minibar.” But we just went ham on it. We ate everything that we could find there. For the record, they did not charge us for what was in the minibar. One of the perks of having a gunman on your wedding day – you get free mini-bar food.

 

Scott

The whole irony is that your business is doing hair and makeup for other brides just before their wedding in order to make their dream wedding come true. Now, your wedding day is just all messed up. It’s chaos.

 

Jayna

Yeah, it is, except it’s exactly expected for my life. It’s so funny. Looking back, everyone goes, “Yeah, of course, that was your wedding day because just this is how things go for me. Nothing is normal.” I think, to be completely honest with you, it’s exactly why when I was warned about the Philippines, I said, “You’re right. If someone was going to get kidnapped on their wedding day in the Philippines, it would be me, for sure, because although I was here in the fanciest hotel and in the safest cities in the world, I’m still with a gunman in my lobby. So, it is what it is. I feel like these kinds of stuff follow me.

 

Scott

When you’re doing the bridesmaids’ makeup and you said you had your kit with you, what were you missing? What would you have normally brought along for that if you knew you had to do that?

 

Jayna

Actually, it’s funny. I had everything that I needed, which is exactly why I was so glad that I stuck to my guns about wanting to do my own hair makeup. Of course, if I’m getting myself ready, I’m bringing all the stuff because I want to make sure I have everything I need. But if I would have gone with what other people told me in terms of, “Let somebody else do it,” they wouldn’t have been able to get into the hotel room to get me ready and we wouldn’t have had any hair and makeup stuff. So thankfully I did have everything I needed. The other thing is that, like I had mentioned, my beautiful wedding planner, Alicia, because she stuck to her guns, if she had stayed overnight at the hotel with me as I asked her to, if she had acted as a bridesmaid as I wanted her to, she would’ve been stuck in the hotel with me and not able to be out at the church trying to arrange all this mayhem because, eventually, everybody was arriving to the church being like, “What’s going on? Is there still a wedding?” and the pastor went, “We could do this tomorrow.” Someone literally told my wedding planner, “We could do this wedding tomorrow if she can’t get out of that hotel.”

 

Scott

That’s what I was going to ask you. Because this thing kept dragging on, did you consider just postponing it to another day?

 

Jayna

Nope, I absolutely did not. I said to her, “I don’t care if I have to say my vows over Skype. I’m getting married today.” I was like, “Nope, fuck that because – my wedding was already on a Monday and people had already taken the day off work – who’s going to come on a Tuesday?” We’ve just been counting down for too long.

 

The other thing was that – I remember the day before – obviously, we brides become obsessed with the forecast. We want to know what the weather’s going to be like. My wedding was on a Monday in October in Vancouver, British Columbia, so we have usually shit weather around that time of the year. I was looking at the weather and the forecast said, literally, “There will be 0 hours of sunshine and a 100% chance of rain.” So it sounded 1,000% like I was going to be getting married on the day of the apocalypse. I was like, “0 hours of sunshine? What does that even mean?”

 

But on this day, while I was in my hotel room trying to get these bridesmaids ready as fast as I could, I looked out the window and there was just this really bold, very strong beam of light shining down on the ocean – because my room had a view of the ocean – right outside my room. I just felt like it was, like, God, angels, the universe, or something just being like, “You’re going to be fine.” It was this very calming light because I was told there’s going to be 0 hours of sunshine, but there was just this bright, bright light, almost, like, right on the water outside my room. It was so comforting that, now, if you talk to any of my bridesmaids, especially my best friend– she knows me so well. She said, “When I was around you that day, even though most brides would’ve been absolutely losing their mind and being hysterical, you couldn’t even tell there was anything going on wrong with me.” I was completely calm. We’re just going to keep moving forward one bridesmaid’s makeup at a time. Have faith that this is still going to happen. I was just very logical and very calm when things went crazy around me. That’s just what I did.

 

So I was doing each girl’s hair and makeup. What’s really funny is one of my bridesmaids is my sister. My sister and I are 13 months apart. She is, for sure, like, my best, best friend. She’s also my biggest cheerleader. She used to work for my makeup business for, like, 13 years. She answered all my emails for me. She was always my hype girl. If somebody said something like, “How do I know if I’m going to like my hair and makeup that was done by Jayna?” She would go, “Are you kidding? She’s the best in the city.” So she’s, like, my best hype woman.

 

The only person whose hair and makeup I’ve ever done who did not like her hair and makeup was my sister. On my wedding day, I got her ready and she saw herself in the mirror. So imagine me doing her hair and makeup even though I was under all this stress. She saw herself in the mirror and she was like, “I don’t like it.” I was like, “Okay. But we got, like, a gunman downstairs. I gotta get to my wedding. You don’t like your hair and makeup? What do you want me to do about this?” My best friend was just looking at me, like, “Just ignore it. It’s fine. It’s fine.” I’ve never had anybody just straight out say, “I hate my hair and makeup,” but my sister thought she would just save it for my wedding day on my most stressful time. She said, “I don’t like it. I don’t know why I just don’t like it.”

 

Scott

Did you ever ask her about that later after you were all done with everything?

 

Jayna

I did. Of course, I had to ask her. It was ridiculous. She said, “Well, I just have really high expectations for you. I just really pictured that you would do a full transformation on me, and I still just look, kind of, like myself.” I said, “Yeah, it was my wedding. You’re still supposed to look like my sister.” Yeah. I don’t know. She wanted to be unrecognizable after that, I guess.

 

Scott

I don’t know what to say about that .

 

Jayna

But still to this day, my best friend always jokes, like, “Everybody always loves your work. Well, except for your sister on your wedding day.

 

Scott

Mm-hmm, because she looked like herself.

 

Jayna

Yeah, exactly.

 

Scott

So this thing just kept dragging on. Now, you’ve been awake for, like, five hours and doing what you could and all that. You eventually called Ray, your fiance and just said, “I don’t know what to do. What would he do?”

 

Jayna

Yeah. Well, initially, like I said, I thought we had all day but, now, it was getting to, like, I think, around noon when I knew the wedding was in two hours. Now, we were really close to being ready to go, and then it was like, “Okay…” Because, well, first of all, obviously we did not want to get evacuated before we were ready because if the hotel, all of a sudden, came up and said, “Go now.” and we’d have to leave all the hair and makeup stuff, we’d have to just go, like, in our pajamas or something. So we really, really, really wanted to make sure we were ready before we were told we had to go. So, that was the first thing. It was kind of stressful thinking that we might get evacuated.

 

Once we were almost ready, we still hadn’t heard anything and it was still happening downstairs. Then, I was like, “Oh, okay. Now, we need to get focused on how we are going to get out of here because we are ready to get out.” Like, we really wanted this gunman to work with our timing for the day. So, I called him and I said, “Alright, I don’t know what to do. Shit’s fucked up. I don’t know how I am going to get to the wedding.” He said, “Don’t worry about it. We’re going to get you out of the hotel.” I had no idea what he meant by that, but he was determined to make it his mission because, of course, this was the wedding that he wanted.

 

He had a huge family. They’re all going to be there. The last thing, obviously, that he wants is to have this wedding not happen because of some dummy in the lobby of the hotel. So, he got off the phone with me and he told his groomsmen, “All right. We need to get Jayna out of this hotel.” So they did the best that they could with what they had. They took to the streets on social media. They called all the radio stations. They called all the television networks. They got on Twitter – anyone that they could call to bring attention to the fact that there was a bride in this hotel. That’s what they did because, also, on Saturdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this hotel is crawling with brides because it’s the place for brides to get ready. But my wedding was on a Monday, so I was the only bride. There’s no other brides in this hotel today, so I was the only bride.

 

Scott

That’s kind of smart to go public with it – get as many people aware of it as possible – right? And it seems like Twitter would be the best thing to do.

 

Jayna

Exactly. All the groomsmen, everyone, were all posting. So, right away, we ended up getting a response from Fairmont Hotels. Sorry, the police responded first, actually, and they said, “We will do our best to get your bride out of the hotel.” Then, the Fairmont Hotel tweeted and said, “We will work with the police to get your bride out of the hotel.” So, all of a sudden now, we had the police and the hotel knowing that there is in fact a bride in this hotel and she needs to get to her wedding.

 

Scott

At least, you know somebody’s working on it.

 

Jayna

Yeah, exactly. People know we’re here. People know that we need to get to a wedding. Then, what was really funny was somebody else tweeted, “Who the hell gets married on a Monday?”

 

Scott

That’s a valid question. right?

 

Jayna

Yeah. Well, my problem is because I work in weddings and brides booked me 2-3 years in advance. I knew that if I wanted to get married on a Saturday, it wasn’t going to be for 4 years, so we wanted to keep it within a reasonable timeline. All my friends work in the wedding industry too. So I said, “If I get married on a Saturday, none of my friends will be there and I won’t be there. So it’s going to have to be on a Monday when that’s, like, most of our day off.” So yeah, that’s why I chose Monday.

 

Next, we’re doing our finishing touches, getting ready when, all of a sudden, we hear this loud bang on the door. My sister just went running to the door. I said, “Whoa, Carly, there’s a gunman in the building. We definitely do not want to be just running to the door.” But when she opened it, there was the GM of the hotel and probably 4 or 5 SWAT team guys in bulletproof vests, like, “Okay, we’re here to get you out of the hotel.” My sister said, “Can we pack some of our stuff?” They said, “No, you have to come with us right now.”

 

So they took us down a freight elevator, which was just hilarious because I was just like, “Well, here we go. This is the start of my wedding day. Basically, they took us down a freight elevator so that we’d go out through the back of the hotel and not through the lobby, because the gunman was still there. My wedding planner, Alicia, had arranged– because all my other vendors – the photographer and the videographer – were all like, “Is this wedding still happening?” She said, “Yes, it is. We want to keep it going. So, instead of going to the hotel to film me getting ready, just stay 2 blocks away with her limo driver so that you can at least get her going to her limo.” So my limo was parked now probably 2.5 blocks away from the hotel, and my videographer and photographer were there waiting at the limo. When we got out of the hotel, it’s like fresh air. We’re outside. We didn’t know that this would even happen. It was a really windy day and the first footage of me on my wedding day is me doing, like, basically, a Denzel Washington run away from a building that looks like it’s going to blow up behind me.

 

I was running as hard and as fast as I could with my bridesmaid behind me towards the limo, and I said, “It’s my motherfucking wedding day.” I had this hair flower in my hair that just went flying out behind me, but I just let it go and we just ran the limo.” because all I was thinking was, “There’s a guy with a gun right there. I don’t know where he is or what’s happening, but let me just get into this limo.” So we raced to the limo, popped in, and we pulled up to my wedding exactly 4 minutes before it was supposed to start.

 

Scott

You couldn’t have timed it any better.

 

Jayna

No. There were still people coming into the church when I pulled up, and I was like, “No, bitch. I had to get past the guy with a gun and I still made it here on time. You’re not allowed to be late because I made it on time.

 

Scott

And the guests that got there early weren’t even sure that you were going to show up because they didn’t really know what was happening, right?

 

Jayna

Well, to be honest, they didn’t know I was going to show up, and neither did my fiance. I was told that he was just sweating buckets, just pacing back and forth at the front of the church, and kind of trying to, like, lighten the mood, like, “Hey, hahaha. Oh, crazy, right? Weddings are always stressful, right? Haha.” Everyone was just kind of sitting on the edge of their seats, like, “Is she coming? Is the wedding really going to happen or not?”

 

My wedding planner was so stressed because, not only is she my wedding planner and she wants everything to go smoothly, but she’s one of my closest friends, so she’s so stressed for me. So when the limo pulled up, the first person who ran to the car was my wedding planner. She saw me, grabbed both of my hands, and just started to bawl her eyes out. She was like, “You’re here! Oh, thank goodness!!” Because she was so stressed all morning. Like, she really, really, really took my stress on for herself. So she was so relieved to see me.

 

Meanwhile, my fiance’s family– they’re Filipino and they’re quite superstitious. His family is very superstitious. So they were like, “Oh, this is bad luck.” The whole time, they were like, “This is not good luck.” One of them thought that it was one of my ex-boyfriends who might be in the lobby. They were like, “Does Jayna have any ex-boyfriends who might want to try and stop this wedding?” I actually had a moment where I thought, “Oh, I wonder where Corey is today because I feel like everyone has that one crazy ex. I was like, “Maybe, it is him. I don’t know.”

 

Scott

If it was him, this would be a movie, for sure. I mean, the whole thing sounds like a movie anyway.

 

Jayna

Well, what most people didn’t know was that one month before the wedding, this ex that I had, Corey, actually called and asked me if he could stop the wedding from happening because he wanted to be together with me. So there was a reason why I was, kind of, low-key stressed that maybe it could have been him, but it wasn’t. That’s the rest of the story. That’s the part that only you get to know because nobody else knows that.

 

Scott

Big reveal . So you got out of the limo, adjusted your dress, just went straight, and walked down the aisle?

 

Jayna

Well, there was a minute where we had to kind of wait for everything to get situated because, now, it was like, “Oh shit. She’s here.” So, everyone had to get in their places and get ready because they had to suddenly make a wedding ready to happenI remember that my fiance had arranged– we had switched gifts to each other. I had got him this watch that he really wanted. When I walked in, he had given me a bouquet of roses and each rose had a little note attached to it with, like, a compliment for me or, like, a sweet kind of little love note on it. So I stood there, opened each little note, read it, and had a little moment. Then, it was time to start the wedding.

 

Scott

Here’s what I thought was kind of funny. You got to the front of the church. You must have felt like there was still a little bit of tension in the air.

 

Jayna

Oh my gosh. The air was so thick. As I was walking down the aisle, the air was so thick. It felt like I was walking through quicksand. The aisle walking up to the front of the church had a red runner on it, and I had these, like, big white acrylic hearts all over the floor. It was really, really pretty. I just remember looking at each heart on the ground and just trying to make it to the next heart because I could just feel, like, this tension in the room. When I got up to the front of the church, he was looking at me with tears pouring down his face. I just looked out at everyone and said, “Woo, I made it!” Then, they all started to cheer and it all went back. Then, it was like, “Okay, we’re fine.”

 

Scott

That’s what everybody needed.

 

Jayna

That’s what they needed, yep. 100%. I needed it too, I think.

 

Scott

When you were at the front, I saw that you had written somewhere that, when you turned and looked at the back of the auditorium, there was something you didn’t expect to see on your wedding day.

 

Jayna

Exactly. While I stood at the front, I was holding hands with my fiance. He was crying. My heart was racing. I looked out. I see all these faces, familiar people, and then unfamiliar people because, of course, I had this choir that I’d hired to be there. So, there are all these faces. The place is packed. Then, I looked up over everyone’s heads and I saw all these video cameras – not my video team – because my fiance and his groomsmen had notified all of the news media.

 

What was happening was they all showed up at my wedding. So there was – oh my gosh – like, probably 10-15 video cameras and news reporters all standing at the back of the church waiting to see what happened.

 

Scott

This was the news story of the day all across Canada.

 

Jayna

It was. For example, let’s say there was just a man who wandered into a lobby of a hotel, and they figured it out and came over hours later. Like, that wouldn’t really be that much of a news story. But just the fact that there was a bride waiting on the 9th floor unable to get to her wedding, that’s what made it a really interesting story. So yes, it was all across the news. My friends in Toronto who couldn’t make it to my wedding said, “Well, it felt like we were at your wedding. We watched it on the news.”

 

Scott

If you couldn’t be at the wedding at 1 o’clock, tune into the 6 o’clock news and you’ll see it.

 

Jayna

6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and midnight. Yeah, you could watch it on any of the news. Yep, it was everywhere. In fact, a guy approached us on our honeymoon and said, “Didn’t I see you guys on the news?” Yeah, it was funny.

 

Scott

So did the rest of the wedding go okay?

 

Jayna

The rest of the wedding was amazing. Actually, just the way that I like things to go, it kind of felt like that was the entrance that I was just always supposed to make because everything was just so explosive at my wedding and so over the top that it was like, “Of course, we would just have this grand entrance like this.” But everything went really well. After the actual ceremony, they all sang, “All you need is love.” I got to the end of the aisle. Then, we were interviewed by all the news media. Somebody asked my husband at the time, “Did you ever think that the wedding wasn’t going to happen?” He said, “Absolutely not. Nothing was going to stop me from marrying her today.”

 

I said, “Not even a guy with a gun?” And he went, “Nope, not even a guy with a gun.” So that was what ended up on the news all across Canada, which was really cute. The rest of the wedding was so much fun. It was an actual party that my grandparents happened to be at. It was a real, real, real party. It was so much fun.

 

Scott

Yeah, with so much backstory. I mean, nobody had to think about how to start a conversation with somebody else.

 

Jayna

Very true. “Remember that time?” “Yeah, exactly. We were all unified.” We all had something to talk about. It was really fun. It was a cool mix of cultures. Actually, because the decor was so over the top and so unique and interesting, we ended up getting featured in a wedding magazine and everything like that. So, lots of people left saying it was the best party they’d ever been at. I remember my favorite part of the night was when one of my uncles came up to me and said, “This is so much fun! I haven’t been to a nightclub in years.” That’s exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want it to feel like you’re at a wedding. I wanted it to feel like you were at a club having a good time and just dancing the night away. Everything else after that was, I would say, flawless. That’s how it went. It was wild and crazy, for sure.

 

Scott

After you left the hotel – of course, once you got out, you were focused on the wedding – that scene at the hotel continued, but the gunman was captured.

 

Alan Waterman

10 hours into the standoff, police set off a flash-bang device and moved in, firing a plastic bullet to take the gunman down.

 

Police

It’s called an Arwen round. It’s basically a large plastic projectile. It’s like a large cork. He was struck once with that and taken into custody.

 

Alan Waterman

The gunman who was known to have mental health issues was taken to hospital with minor injuries and guests who had ultimately been removed down the back stairs returned to the hotel, including this group of Puerto Rican conference goers. What was your biggest fear through the night then?

 

Alfonso Davila

No. There was no fear.

 

Alan Waterman

No fear?

 

Alfonso Davila

No. It was business as usual.

 

Alan Waterman

Business as usual after half a day of tension for the city core. The distraught gunman is expected to face weapons charges.

 

Scott

Were you on any news shows or anything as a result of this?

 

Jayna

I know that our story was on the news across Canada. I personally wasn’t invited to be interviewed on anything or anything like that.

 

Scott

Until now.

 

Jayna

Yeah, exactly. Until Mr. Scott interviewed me on “What Was That Like.” It’s my big break now.

 

Scott

Today, you are still working in the wedding industry, as you mentioned. I’d like you to tell people what you do and about your podcast. But I’m curious about one thing though. When you sent me an email, your email signature says your name and three things, “Makeup artist, podcast host, and hype woman. Can you describe – as part of what you do – what is a hype woman?

 

Jayna

Well, I love encouraging and empowering women. I think it’s pretty much what I was put on this planet to do. I always feel like, when I am glamming someone up, when someone’s sitting in my makeup chair, of course, I’m trying to make them look better on the outside, but it’s mainly about helping them to feel more confident, stronger, bolder, and more of the best version of themselves on the inside. So I started with one person at a time in my makeup chair. I get a lot of women who are nervous about their wedding or nervous about people looking at them, or nervous about all sorts of things, and I spend pretty much the whole time doing makeup, hyping them up, like, “You’re going to do great. You’re going to be amazing. You’re worried about the wrong things.” And just really trying to remind them of how amazing and beautiful they are.

 

When I started my podcast, it was meant to be a way for me to offer that same hype, but on a larger scale. So now, instead of just talking to one person at a time in my makeup chair, I can talk to all my listeners. So it’s really just a way of getting my hype message out to the world. That’s kind of what my whole thing is. It’s really become just a labor of love. It’s just a total passion project for me. So far, it’s been doing really well. Honestly, as much work as it has been for me, it’s given back to me as well. It just feels super rewarding. I absolutely love it and it honestly makes all the crazy things I’ve been through in my life feel worth it. It makes me feel like there’s a reason for it all.

 

Scott

And we’ll have a link to your website, hellojayna.com in the show notes as well. When I saw your website and your Instagram, I gotta say that you’ve just done an amazing job of branding. I mean, it’s all just super professional, very consistent in theme, and you are just like the stereotypical social media influencer. You obviously know what you’re doing.

 

Jayna

Thank you. I think the way that it has all stayed very consistent is it is all me. I’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned exactly about who I am. I know exactly who I am when I present myself to the world, whether it’d be on a website or Instagram writing. So, of course, it’s consistent because it’s me. It’s still me showing up in all these places, and it just really is. I like to think that if you find me on Instagram, you watch my stories, or if you listen to my podcast, or if you see my website and then you meet me in person, you think, “Oh, I feel like I already know her because it’s consistent.” It’s me. It’s me, it’s me. I’m not pretending to be anything that I’m not. It’s just who I am – as authentic as I can possibly be.

 

Scott

Yeah. That’s the way it should be. How can people contact you if they want their wedding day hair and makeup and everything to be perfect?

 

Jayna

Well, again, on hellojayna.com or on Instagram, @JaynaMarieMakeup. Lots of people hit me up there. Yeah, I am all for it. I mean, someone can hit me up if they need their hair and makeup done or if they just need a little hype session. I love cheering people up and reminding you how badass you are. They’ll just pop me a message anytime because I’m here. I’ve tried to be almost like the big sister that people have ever had. I feel like that’s kind of my job on this planet.

 

Scott

Who would have thought that a story that included a hotel lobby gunman could be that much fun. But I’m sure you could tell, I loved talking with Jayna.

 

And if you liked this episode, you might like episode number 110, because it’s also related to the wedding industry. In that episode, my guest is Jen – and she works as a professional bridesmaid.

 

Scott

Can you just give a quick summary of your service? What is it you provide?

 

Jen 

Absolutely. I come in as the hired bridesmaid I pretend to be your friend from some point in your life. I wear the bridesmaid dress, walk down the aisle, give the speech, help you figure out all of the plans before you get married, and make sure that everything goes smoothly at your wedding for you. I’m not a wedding planner. I don’t actually physically plan the wedding, but I’ll be there for the bachelorette party. I’ll help you go dress shopping. I’ll help you with all of those fun details. I’ll make sure that you feel good and supported on your actual wedding day.

 

Scott

That’s episode 110, titled “Jen is a professional bridesmaid”.

 

You know I don’t normally read the podcast reviews that get left by listeners. In fact, I don’t even ASK for reviews. But they come anyway. But there was one recently that caught my eye. Here’s what it said:

 

Hello! I just found this podcast today, and am very happy! Great interviewer who lets the storyteller tell their story in their words. Asks great questions, great array of subjects. Thank you!

 

And then there’s this last sentence:

 

I wish there was an area after each show to send good wishes to the guests.

 

And that was sent in by Shana, from Idaho.

 

So Shana, thanks for that. I appreciate the kind words. And the good news is, there IS a place where you can send good wishes to the guests – it’s our podcast listener Facebook group. In fact, a lot of the guests from previous episodes are actually IN that group, so you can engage with them directly.

 

This is something that really confuses me – over the past couple of months, we’ve had several hundred new people join that group, and some of them are long-time listeners who said they never knew the Facebook group existed. I feel like I mention it here on the show pretty regularly. But the thing is, I talk about it AFTER the conversation with the guest. I don’t want to talk about stuff like that at the beginning of the episode, because I know you’d rather get right to the story. So maybe some people just don’t hear the invitation to join that group. So if you haven’t joined yet, this is your invitation! We’ve got over 4000 podcast listeners in there and we’d love to have you join us. It’s at WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.

 

And this is another thing related to that. One of the things I use that Facebook group for is to get an idea of how you feel about certain stories for future episodes. Even if *I* think a story would be good, I like to hear it from you, the listener, if YOU think it sounds interesting.

 

So recently, I had a listener send in their story. Her name is Susan and at the time she was 50 years old. Her story is about how she started feeling some really weird health symptoms. It got worse and worse, and she was scared, and she didn’t know what was happening to her body. Eventually she was diagnosed with MS – Multiple Sclerosis. But a diagnosis is not a cure. At one point she could not move the right half of her body, and she was really frightened that this was her new normal. But she was able to get medication, and more importantly she learned how to take care of herself and avoid these relapses. I found the whole thing really interesting.

 

Now you might already be aware of this – I typically don’t do stories that are mostly medically-related. For the most part I just don’t think they are unusual enough to be a good fit for the show. But for Susan’s story, I was thinking about it, that maybe this was an exception to the rule.

 

So I went to the Facebook group, and gave them a summary of the story, and took a poll – yes or no – should this be a podcast episode. And a lot of people did want to hear it. It ended up around 16% said no. So that’s almost 1 out of 5 listeners that voted no. So in the end, I decided that it won’t be an episode here.

 

However, I knew that many of the people in the Facebook group still wanted to hear her story. So I asked Susan, and she graciously said that it would be okay to post her story – the full story that she sent me – in the Facebook group. So if you want to read exactly what happened with her, that’s where you can find it.

 

That’s what I love about that group – it’s not just people talking about the podcast and the most recent episode. We do that, of course. But really it’s a place where we can have stimulating, real-life conversations about things that are important to all of us. And as I’ve always said, there will never be any political discussions in there. You can certainly find enough of that everywhere else. So please join us, WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.

 

And right now, on the day this episode gets released, I’m in Orlando at Podfest Multimedia Expo. Spending a few days with a couple thousand podcasters and industry people, always a good time. If you’re at the conference, I hope we can connect.

 

So that’s enough of hearing me talk. Let’s get to the Listener Story! For this week’s story, it’s Jayna once again. But this story has nothing to do with weddings or makeup or anything like that.

 

Stay safe, and I’ll see you in 2 weeks.

 

(Listener Story)

Jayna

Are you afraid of bears? I could tell you one thing – I know my mom isn’t. At least, she said she wasn’t. That’s exactly how I ended up in one of the most terrifying situations of my life at the fresh, young age of only 9 years old.

 

I grew up in Cologna. It’s a little city that thinks it’s a big city and prides itself in being fabulous in all four seasons. There was a ski hill close by for the winters. The spring had orchards full of cherry blossoms. There’s a lake with beaches for summer and wineries to enjoy through the late fall. Now, my family took advantage of all of that. But the one thing my parents love the most was camping. We had a little boat that we’d put in the water and spend the day tubing and kneeboarding. Then, we’d find a camping spot along the shore somewhere and set up camp. When it came to bedtime, my mom and dad would usually sleep on the boat, and my sister, Carly and I would sleep on land in a tent. It was always so much fun, so I honestly never thought about what could go wrong.

 

One night, as we sat by the fire, probably telling stories and making fun of each other, I heard a noise on the hillside beside us. I became completely distracted from the marshmallow I was roasting, trying to strain to see where that sound was coming from. Eventually, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw it. It was a black bear. It wasn’t far away from us at all. I grabbed my sister’s arm and pointed at her. We both panicked for obvious reasons.

 

My mom rolled her eyes and told us all about how she worked at summer camps on Mount Robinson when she was a little girl. There were always bears, but they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. So you just need to keep your food up high and, if you see one, make a lot of noise and it’ll go away. She was so matter-of-fact about it that we almost felt silly for being afraid. So later that evening, we hugged mom and dad goodnight as we retreated to our tent and went to sleep completely oblivious as to what awaited us in the morning.

 

After just a few hours of rest with the sun barely rising, I woke up to my sister’s nails, dug right into the skin of my arm. “Ouch. What the heck, Carly?!” She whispered, “Jayna, there’s a bear.” As my eyes slowly opened, I looked above me and saw that our tent had, in fact, became the bears’ new play thing. He was tossing the tarps around back and forth. I remember my mom saying that we were supposed to make a lot of noise, but I was frozen stunned. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a paw tore through the fabric right between my sister and I. We laid there, gripping each other’s hands as the paw rummaged around from my shoulder to hers. Our hands were so sweaty.

 

Telling the story now, I’m actually surprised we didn’t pee ourselves. I guess, eventually, he realized he wasn’t going to find what he was looking for, so he retracted his paw from the inside of our tent and moved on to check out everything around our campsite. Meanwhile, my sister and I just laid there terrified with the tent, collapsed over our faces. We were only able to see orange and we were completely unsure of when it would be safe to find our way out after what felt like an eternity of lying there completely still.

 

We hadn’t heard any bear sounds for a couple of minutes, so we decided that it was possibly time to emerge and we sprinted to our parents on the boat there. They were sound asleep, completely unaware of anything their kids had been going through. I shook my dad’s shoulder abruptly and said, “Dad, a bear just tore its paw through a tent!” He said, “Haha. Okay, girls. Very funny. We need some more sleep.” So we sat on the boat trembling, just waiting for them to feel like waking up.

 

Eventually, they did. Since we were still on the bear thing, my dad thought he would humor us and go up the hill to see what we were talking about. He said, “Okay. Alright. Let’s see what this bear supposedly did to your tent.” He walked with us up the hill, saw our little fabric castle collapsed, and looked down at us like, “Okay, you two are so funny.” Then he picked it up, not knowing that it was the side that the bear had torn its paw through, and saw the perfect claw marks. There was no way we could have faked that. He yelled down the hill, “Holy shit. Wendy! Come here!” My mom came up to see. I asked her, “Did that ever happen to you, a Mount Robinson mom?”

 

The following summer, my parents had the genius idea to go back to the same camping area again. Surprise, surprise. In the middle of the night, as we were roasting marshmallows, we heard a bear. But this time, we didn’t take the chance. We packed up our camp in the middle of the night, moved to the other side of the lake, and set up there again. My parents went to sleep on the boat and my sister and I were sleeping in our now taped-up tent. “Doesn’t duct tape fix everything?” This time, when we woke up in the morning, it was to the sound of sprinklers. Well, we didn’t realize it because it was so dark when we made our move, but we had actually set up our tent in someone’s backyard.

 

Retelling this story now, I’m wondering what it must have been like waking up in the morning, pouring your coffee and a bowl of Cheerios, looking out your window, and seeing a whole family camping on your lawn? Oops. As an adult, my parents love to make fun of me for being too bougie to go camping or too fancy to camp with them. But now that you’ve heard my story, can you really blame me?

 

That’s my 5-minute story. Hopefully, you liked it. If you’d like to hear more from me, you can find me on my podcast at Big Lash Energy, my website at hellojayna.com and, of course, on Instagram at @jaynamariemakeup. Again, Scott, thank you for having me on your show and for creating this platform for people to tell their stories. It’s such a cool idea, and I love to hear what you have for us each week. Thanks again.