MOORE, Okla. – A struggle for the perfect bubble is Hayden Payne’s mission right now.
Days ago it was a struggle for life.
Hayden, brother Hunter and sister Emma were all in the Plaza Towers Elementary school when the tornado hit.
Hayden is still trying to process it.
“We were up against the wall in a crouch position so we wouldn’t get hurt,” he said.
This third grader was one of the first to be pulled out of the school’s rubble.
“When the tornado came by it collapsed a wall on top of all the third graders and then the roof fell in after,” he said.
Dad Dusty Payne pulled Hayden out.
“He was in a ball still on his knees trapped underneath everything,” Dusty said.
Right in front of him was a classmate that was face down and he was buried up to his face in rubble.
We checked his pulse and there was nothing there so I covered him up with a blanket so the other kids couldn’t see him anymore,” Dusty said.
That child was Hayden’s good friend Christopher Legg.
“I was right here, there was a girl right there and he was right there,” Hayden said. “When I get pulled out, she was right here. You can see him right here…across.”
Payne said Hayden had one immediate worry.
“He was concerned about finding the mother to his friend to tell his friend’s mom that he didn’t make it,” he said.
A message no 9-year-old child should bear.
“At night he talks in his sleep and last night he had a dream and he just sat straight up and he wasn’t awake,” he said.
Three Plaza Towers survivors with much healing ahead but this father living in the moment right now.
“We’ve been all sleeping on the couch because they want me sleeping there with them. When you hug your kids tonight hold on to them for a little bit longer because you don’t know.”