TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If you look at a map, the attack in Turkey seems like it happened a world away from Tampa, but for Martin Gunesh, the owner of Tazza Café and Grill in Tampa, they didn’t just hit close to home- they hit his heart directly.
“I almost collapsed,” Gunesh said. “I couldn’t function last night. It was terrifying.”
His wife, Sidka, along with his 10-year-old son, Calvin, are living in Istabul right now, along with most of his family members and loved ones.
“My niece works in the airport, my wife’s best friend works in the airport,” Gunesh said. “We were worrying about them, and through Facebook, we were checking on them to make sure they were okay.”
Thankfully, all of his friends and family members are safe, but Gunesh still wore all black to work at the restaurant on Wednesday to honor the lives lost in the attack.
“We lost people, we lost lives,” Gunesh said. “They don’t have to be my family members, they were innocent people.”
The attack in Istanbul frightened Ermelinda Mehhj for a very different reason.
As a Muslim woman living in Tampa Bay who wears a hijab, she worries that she and her young daughter will be targeted because of their faith.
“Sometimes, I just stay in my house, I’m afraid to go outside,” Mehhj said. “People look at me like I’m Muslim and I’m part of those bad people.”
In the midst of atrocity, hope for a better, kinder world still remains in the eyes of Mehhj’s young daughter and in the heart of Gunesh.
“Good will win against evil,” Gunesh said.