NEW YORK -- As chaos unraveled in Brussels Tuesday, 3,640 miles away New Yorkers with Belgium ties tried frantically to get a hold of loved ones near the sites of terror.
“We got a phone call about 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning,” Yves Jadot, a co-owner of Petite Abeille – the largest Belgium restaurant in New York City, told PIX11 News.
Jadot has an 18-year-old son studying in Brussels and finally made contact over Facebook after having no luck over the phone.
“Well you know being able to talk to him, it was a relief,” he said. “I mean I knew he wasn’t at the airport and he wasn’t at the train station this time of the day, so being able to speak with was a good relief.”
The mood was somber inside the East 20th Street restaurant Tuesday afternoon as many continued to keep tabs on the developing news overseas.
It all happened 24 hours ahead of when Jadot’s brother was scheduled to travel to New York.
“Him and his family were going to be at the airport at the exact time tomorrow morning at the exact time, so i guess we got lucky.”
While Jadot’s family had luck on their side, New Yorker Samuel Sadden who lived and worked in Brussels for 10 years as an attorney, was left rattled having worked in the law firm located above the subway station that was targeted.
“The subway stop is right near the European District and the street above it [which is] a one way street, it’s usually packed with people going to their jobs,” he said. “It was quite shocking.”
It was Facebook’s Safety Check system that gave the attorney who now teaches French in New York, a sense of relief.
“That was a very useful thing this morning for me to check up on my friends, to see if everyone’s ok,” he said. “I think everyone is accounted for.”
As Belgium begins to recover and move forward from Tuesday’s attack, Jadot offers up a message to his native people.
“Courage,” he said.