– Starbucks in ground floor of Forsyth Barr Building, Corner Colombo & Amagh St, Christchurch Central

Here is my recollection Feb 22nd 2011

Headed off to work on my bike. Normal day to me. It was my first shift at Starbucks in Forsyth Barr. Started work at 11am. Dropped off banking at bank across the road, counted $ then carried on making coffee. My co-worker took me up 2 floors of the building to show me where the bins are kept. Came back down and made more coffee.

Things start to shake, building starts to move. I run under doorframe in total panic. Coffee machine falls over and nearly spills boiling coffee all over me. Everything is violently moving. It slows down so I run from the building. The first thing I notice is the buildings have collapsed near me and I instantly know that people have died in there. A woman comes running to me in a Whitcoulls uniform on, telling me to find help, her co-worker is stuck in their staffroom. I dont really remember thinking about what I was doing but I pick up a chair from the cafe and follow her to the staffroom. The place is dark and there are books everywhere. I yell at the trapped woman to stand back then I ram the door with the chair. Adrenalin is running through me as I smash the chair through the door. It breaks but then there is an aftershock. I drop the chair and sprint from the store, yelling Sorry as I boost outta there. I see my co-worker with my bag so I grab my keys and unlock my bike. There is water/mud/coffee/sewage running out the building. I then see the Whitcoulls lady with her co-worker and give them a hug. She is thankful I broke the door. I turn to see the cathedral falling apart. Buildings all around me are crumbling, people are running and crying for help. I look up to see people standing waving out of the windows in the building above to Starbucks, where I had just been 15mins previously. They are trapped because of blocked stairwells. They hang HELP signs on their windows and wave fluro vests. There is nothing we can do.

Police tell us to leave the area so I walk back to a friends place with him. There is total devistation everywhere. I hurry past the PGC building where people are scrambling everywhere and yelling for people trapped inside. There is another aftershock and everyone runs. I am so scared. Lucky I have gotten through to mum (thanks old telecom network). We get to my mates place and I stand outside, feeling like i’m gona throw up with fear. After a wee bit I bike home through the muddy slush that has filled the streets. The roads are totally broken in half. I get home to my flatmates and the house and cat are fine. We go to her mums place for the night. Restless sleep but I am just thankfull to be alive :)

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