Former pro-wrestler Mick Foley has paid an emotional tribute to the city of Orlando following a chance encounter with a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shootings.
In a heartfelt Facebook post, the semi-retired sportsman — now a best-selling author, actor and comedian — revealed he hadn’t been sure what to expect when visiting the city on business this week.
“I wondered if I could ever find joy in the theme park capital of the world again,” he wrote on Saturday.
Read his full tribute here:
But Foley ended up attending a memorial for the victims after randomly bumping into Christopher Hansen, a survivor of the massacre, at his hotel.
“And in doing so instantly connected to something bigger than myself; a sense of community and spirit of healing,” he wrote.
Foley, who went by a slew of aliases during his decades-long career in the ring — including “Catcus Jack” and “Mankind” — admitted that the horrific shooting dead of 49 people by Omar Mateen on June 12 meant he “won’t ever be able to look at Orlando the same way again.”
To him, it will never now simply be “the theme park capital of the world.”
“Instead, I will look at Orlando as the place that took the very worst that hate could dish out — and bested it through the sheer force of love,” he wrote. “It’s a city that refused to be defined by the formidable forces of intolerance, ignorance and fear – and instead chose a path of acceptance, inclusion and understanding.”