SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KTVU) - The young man savagely stabbed at a Santa Rosa movie theatre last week remains in intensive care, but is steadily improving.
"It missed the jugular vein and the carotid artery," Debra Lucero told KTVU, at Memorial Hospital, where her 21-year-old son Adam is being cared for.
"And it just missed his vocal cords by a hair," added Lucero, describing the deep knife wounds to his chest, throat, shoulder and ear.
"I think he was somehow being watched over and it wasn't his time to go," observed Lucero, "plus he helped to stop the perpetrator from getting anywhere else."
The random assault occurred last Wednesday afternoon, as Adam watched a movie at the Roxie Theatre in downtown Santa Rosa.
The same night, the recent college graduate was to sign a lease on a rented room in San Francisco and soon start a new job. But minutes into the show he was suddenly attacked from behind.
"My first reaction, will he make it? I'm not prepared to lose my son," said Debra Lucero, remembering the call from the trauma center.
As Adam's family drove from their home in Ventura County, Adam was undergoing six hours of surgery.
Arriving to find him on a ventilator was hard for his mom, who is a nurse.
"Thinking you have your life planned out, and the next minute, someone attacks you from behind in the dark," mused Debora.
"Adam said he thought the man was punching him at first."
The suspect, a 23-year-old transient, was calm when police caught him nearby.
He had tossed a large kitchen knife in the trash as he left the theatre.
"My son took off his shirt and blood was coming out of him all over the place," described Debra.
Adam says he pressed his bloody shirt against his wounds, and asked two strangers who had come to his aid, to do the same.
"Both of them were pressing down on the neck and they said blood was everywhere. So he saved his own life, along with the Good Samaritans who didn't run out of the theatre when they heard there's a stabbing."
Those helpers have since visited Adam, and shook their hands, without a dry eye in the room.
"He has good moments and bad moments," girlfriend Sharayah Gastellum told KTVU. "He's still trying to crack jokes, which is a good sign."
With tubes making speech impossible, Adam has communicated with notes, and one reading "I want a refund on the movie" got everyone laughing.
But as outgoing as Adam is, his mom knows there will be difficult days ahead.
Besides his physical wounds, there is the trauma of the attack, already causing nightmares.
"It's the surprise factor, and feeling that you're not safe. And how things can change in a minute," explained his mom. "But I feel assured for the rest of his life he can handle anything that comes his way".
The Lucero family is grateful to everyone who has helped with a gofundme page for Adam's recovery.
His new employer in San Francisco has assured him, they'll save his position for him, until he's well enough to report to work.
Suspect Delonte Hart, remains jailed with bail set at $1 million, on charges of attempted murder.
Police say he may also be responsible for the random stabbing death of a sleeping homeless man two nights before, but have not charged him in that case as they investigate.
Adam has said he had no interaction with Hart before the attack, but saw him in the restroom before finding his seat in the theatre.