OKLAHOMA - Ten days of paradise came to an end just 10 minutes before Felicia Maher boarded her flight back home.
"I heard something. I thought it sounded like firecrackers, maybe," said Maher, who was in the terminal before her flight. "But, then, I heard a whole lot of screaming, just screaming and running and just pushing, and everybody was like ‘Get down, get down’ and we all hit the floor. People were trying to crawl under the benches."
It was pandemonium in the Ft. Lauderdale airport, minutes after a gunman killed five people and wounded six more.
Maher took cover, trying to process what was happening.
"Everybody on the floor around me was just pleading the blood of Jesus and just like praying, and I was thinking 'I don’t want to die. I do not want to die," said Maher, a Chickasha native who now calls Wichita Falls home. "I was scared, I was so terrified but I was also grateful. I was thankful for good things I have experienced, because I have had a really rich life."
Realistically, Maher was likely not in any danger.
The shooting happened in baggage claim of a different terminal.
But, without knowing the extent of the threat, people were frantic, Maher said.
"People were pushing all over each other, and it was just insane," she told NewsChannel 4 on Saturday. "I thought my ankle was sprained for a little while, because they were stepping all over my legs. They were like ‘We gotta get out of here,’ and everybody jumped up and we were directed toward the tarmac."
On the tarmac, Maher and thousands of others stayed put for four hours.
Some sat on luggage carts, while others simply sprawled out on the ground.
"Fear, a lot of fear," Maher said, describing the feeling outside. "It was the uncertainty of what was happening around us."
Eventually, security moved Maher and the others to the front of the airport, where they waited for another four hours, before catching buses to a convention center to rest for the night and learn more about what had happened that afternoon.
A day later, Maher is still shaken.
She's thankful for the family and friends that checked in on her when they heard the news.
More than that, she's just grateful to be alive.
"I try to ask myself why I needed to experience that, you know?" she said. "Like, what was I supposed to learn from that situation?"
"It makes you realize that anything can happen to anyone at any moment," she added. "And, we should be living our lives to the fullest and being the best we can be."