Friendship blossoms from State Fair tragedy
INDIANAPOLIS - A special bond has developed between a victim of the tragedy at the State Fair and a stranger who came to her aid.
It's been ten days since the rigging above the grandstand stage collapsed at the state fairgrounds, killing seven people. Among the stories of tragic loss, there are also tales of heroic acts.
Sitting hand in hand, Jaymie Polet and Serena Litteral seem like the best of friends.
"We just sit and talk and watch movies and, you know, I feel like I've known her my whole life," said Polet, a Cincinnati resident.
But their friendship is just a few days old.
"I just happened to go in her room. She was laying there by herself and I just stayed with her," said Litteral, who is from Indianapolis.
After the stage collapse, 17-year-old Polet, who suffered breaks in both legs and a fractured skull, was separated from friends and family. Serena, who was at the fair that night, decided to help.
"I was, like, 'Look, I don't have anyone. I don't know where my mom is'," Polet said. "And she said, 'I'll stay with you.' And I asked if she'd come to the hospital with me and she did."
Litteral followed the ambulance to St. Vincent Hospital, where just happens to work as a CAT scan technician. She stayed with Jaymie through surgery.
"She held my hand through everything. Really made me feel comfortable," Polet said.
The teenager says there was one man who pulled her out from under the wreckage, another who carried her to the first aid station and then there's Litteral, who's been with her ever since.
"She really has a way of calming you down and making you feel better. Really helped me out a lot," Polet said.
Litteral also let Jaymie's father know what happened. He was out of the country on business and came back after getting a call from a stranger named Serena.
"Grateful. I mean, you know, grateful. Tremendously grateful," said Roeland Polet.
But there have been difficult days for Polet.
"Meagan, really, I can't even explain. She meant the world to me," she said.
Meagan Toothman, a former cheerleading coach and friend, died Monday from her injuries suffered in the collapse.
"In a way, Serena has helped with the whole thing, because she kind of reminds me of Meagan. She has her fun personality," Polet said.
It's a friendship that has blossomed in the midst of tragedy.
"It's crazy, but, you know, she means the world to me now," Polet said.
"Now I just see her every day before I come to work, twice a day," said Litteral.
A young woman thankful to be alive, who knows it will be impossible to ever say thank you enough.
"I want to make people happy. People have done so much to make me happy through this, I want to make a difference in people's lives, too," Polet said.
She plans on doing that by working for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But first Jaymie, who's from Cincinnati, will attend Indiana University. She was going to begin her freshman year next week, but that's been pushed back to the beginning of next year.
Once she leaves the hospital, Jaymie and Serena plan on keeping in touch. The friendship that started just a few days ago, they say, will last a lifetime.