With that observation, Wallenda embarked Sunday afternoon on a 1,500- foot walk across the parking lot at Little Colorado River Gorge Mall in northeastern Arizona to return to his car and get his wife’s purse, which she had inadvertently left in their vehicle.
The successful, 12-minute walk on the hot blacktop was monitored by people and shoppers all over the parking lot.
They watched as the winds tested the daredevil. The stunt was the leading trending topic on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was everything I wanted it to be. It was extremely emotional. I got to the car and started crying.”
During his walk across the lot, Wallenda paused and crouched twice as winds whipped around him and his Ed Hardy T-shirt billowed. Gusts had been expected to be around 30 mph. He said they sent dust flying into his eyes.
“It was strenuous the whole way across. It was a battle. The winds were strong, they were gusty,” he said. “But there was never a point where I thought, ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to fall.’”
Wallenda stepped slowly and steadily throughout the trek. He jogged and hopped the last few steps to his 2009 Acura.
Nik Wallenda grew up retrieving women’s purses with his family and dreamed of crossing the parking lot at this mall since he was a teenager. He said if he didn’t go back and get his wife’s purse, they wouldn’t have any money to treat the family to Orange Julius.
About 600 spectators watched on a large video screen on site and cheered him on as he got closer to his car. A mall security guard, a paramedic and two members of a film crew were stationed in the parking lot as well.
The security guard, Ed Tupper, said he got a little nervous when Wallenda stopped the first time. “Other than that, a pretty amazing feat,” Tupper said.