Fruitvale councillor left Paris hours before tragic attacks

"Our first reaction was to contact everybody that we knew near Paris.” ~ councillor Tabatha Webber

A Fruitvale councillor is in shock after jumping on a plane to Madrid and leaving Paris only a couple hours before terror ensued.

A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed about 130 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II.

“I was in shock,” Coun. Tabatha Webber told the Trail Times Monday over the phone. “I was with my coworkers who are French. One of them has a daughter who lives in Paris, so our first reaction was to contact everybody that we knew near Paris.”

This included 18 young Canadians on a French exchange under En Famille International, which Webber works for as the Canadian representative3.

The bilingual program matches a Canadian and French child, who switch places for a six-month experience. Three Greater Trail kids are among those who are safe and nowhere near Paris.

“Most Canadian kids do go to Paris when they are on a Canadian exchange, so our first reaction was to make sure that everybody we knew and everybody that I was managing were OK,” added Webber.

She and her daughter Meadow just finished seeing the sights and sounds of Paris before safely moving onto Madrid Friday.

“My heart aches for the Parisians as both of my children have done exchanges to France and we have very close ties to families there, as well as their culture and the city of Paris,” she said.

“We are lucky to be able to visit this beautiful city often and look forward to returning in the near future to this resilient city on the Seine. Unfortunately, this is twice in a year that they have had to deal with tragedy.”