LOS ANGELES >> The wife of the only American killed in last week’s Barcelona terror attack said today that she’s trying to find a man who may have been the last person to see her husband alive.
A photo or video posted on social media shortly after the attack shows the man, who appeared to be dressed like a waiter, trying to help 42-year-old Jared Tucker, said his wife, Heidi Nunes-Tucker, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Barcelona.
Nunes-Tucker, of the San Francisco Bay Area, said she does not have a copy of the post but that she and her family would like to thank the waiter.
“We are trying,” she said. “It looks like he was helping and anybody that stopped to help amidst the chaos … that’s just a testament to the helpfulness and the love people can have for one another without even knowing one another.”
Nunes-Tucker saw the image shortly after the attack while she was searching for Tucker but now can’t find it. If the man was a waiter, she thinks he worked at a brew pub among the many bars and restaurants along Las Ramblas, the lengthy Barcelona promenade that the attackers sped down in a van, mowing down pedestrians.
Tucker was among 13 people killed and scores injured by the van. A bloody getaway and a second attack hours later in the seaside resort of Cambrils left two more people dead.
Nunes-Tucker said her husband would have been among those helping the wounded on Las Ramblas if he had survived.
“He was very brave,” she said. “He loved to help people. That’s what he did.”
The day the couple left for their European vacation, which also included Paris and Venice, her husband cooked a feast for friends who had just returned home from the hospital after having a baby.
“He spent the entire day cooking enchiladas so we could take it to their house so they didn’t have to worry about cooking, and he still hadn’t packed, and we were leaving hours later,” she said. “He was always thinking of others first. Never himself.”
Nunes-Tucker said she expected to remain in Barcelona for several more days because her husband’s body was being prepared for her to take home to Lafayette, California.
Nunes-Tucker said she first met her husband at an annual art and wine festival in Lafayette in 2012.
“I kept seeing this extremely handsome surfer guy throughout the day and I kept telling friends, ‘Look at that cute guy, there he is again,’” she said.
When she later noticed the handsome stranger leaving, a friend went and brought him over.
“He came and sat next to me and we hung out the rest of the night at the festival,” she said. “We danced and we were pretty much inseparable after that. It was an instant connection.”
Tucker proposed marriage just before the same festival three years later.
“He walked in the door carrying some groceries I had asked him to get and he starts crying — he doesn’t hardly get through the doorway,” she said. “He got on his knee and said, ‘I don’t want to live life without you and I have something to give you.’ And he had a ring.
“I said, ‘You have a gift or you have a question for me?’” she said. “He said, ‘Oh wait! Will you marry me?’ He was really nervous.”
The two had a blissful life, the sixth-grade teacher said, with her husband working in his family’s business remodeling swimming pools. She has a son and he was the father of three daughters.
“As far as matters of my heart go, I have lost everything. He was my heart and my soul,” Nunes-Tucker said. “Waking up next to him and going to sleep next to him was all I wanted to do. He was my person.”
Nunes-Tucker did not have much to say about the men who planned and carried out the attack. Six were killed by police, two more died in an explosion at a house where authorities said bombs were being prepared and four surviving suspects were questioned by a judge in Madrid today.
“The only thing I would say is as a mom and as a teacher, I feel like it’s so important to continue to teach our children to be kind, to be tolerant, to love one another,” she said. “Jared would not have wanted to focus on any sort of hatred or intolerance. That was just not what he was about at all.”