Last May 28, Richard and the rest of the Gutierrez family gave a thanksgiving Mass at the Christ the King Church in Greenmeadows Quezon City to celebrate what they referred to as Richard's "second life." The 25-year old Zorro star was in a car accident last May 22 in Cavite where he and his bodyguard sustained minor injuries. His personal assistant, Nomar Prado, was killed.
After convalescing, Richard immediately went back to work on the set of Zorro last Monday. For him, it was a fresh start. Yesterday, June 7, Richard guested live for the first time in Showbiz Central to talk to host Pia Guanio about his new lease on life and how he has reflected on it.
After all that he went through, what does Richard feel right now?
"I'm fine right now," Richard said. "I can say that I am completely healed. I've moved on and intense ang nangyari sa akin and I learned a lot from it. But now, I can say that I am completely healed and I'm very happy."
There are things that are seared into Richard's memory and he openly admitted that they will stay there for the rest of his life.
"Hindi na mawawala sa akin yun, e," said Richard. "Feeling ko, maaalala ko 'yong pangyayaring 'yon habang buhay. Pero, it's how I handle it siguro after thinking about it and moving on forward. I can say na nagawa ko na 'yon and now I'm fine. It's a reminder for me of being alive and thankful to be just breathing everyday. Now I am thankful that I am alive."
Richard went on to share that he realized that he can make a difference in the world and for that he is thankful.
NOMAR AND THE ACCIDENT. Nomar's death left his family in need of support. What exactly does Richard plan to do to help the family of his trusted assistant?
"Well, nakakalungkot talaga ang pagkawala ni Nomar," Richard said. "He is like a brother to the whole family and I can say na he... You know, kasama ko siya everyday and he was like a friend to me, but... Yung family naman ni Nomar, nandiyan ang suporta ng family namin sa kanila at hindi naman mawawala 'yan.
"Right now, we are in the process of talking with them and finding out kung ano ba talaga ang gusto nila, kung anong tulong na maibibigay namin sa kanila. Eventually, malalaman niyo din. Right now, it's under negotiations."
But if he had a chance to do things over, let's say, go back in time before the accident, would there have been something he would have changed?
Richard thought for a moment and answered, "Masasabi ko wala, e. At that certain moment, pag nangyari sa buhay mo 'yon, yun ang tipong wala kang magagawa. Kahit anong gawin mo, kahit gaano ka kagaling at gaano ka kahusay sa ano mang bagay, e, pag naaksidente ka, wala kang puwede gawin. Doon ko na-realize 'yon. I was face to face with my mortality. Mahirap. At that certain moment, prayers lang talaga, e... But I knew God was watching over me."
After the accident, what went through Richard's mind?
"Total shock," he said. "Total shock ang nangyari sa akin. Paglabas ko ng kotse, dumaan ako sa bintana ng kotse ko. Totoo pala sinasabi nila na adrenaline rush, e, mas bumibilis at lumalakas ka. Sa bilis ko, hindi ko alam kung paano ako nakalabas ng kotse. Ang alam ko lang, nasa labas na ako ng kotse dahil sa bintana ako dumaan. Pag tingin ko sa kotse talagang...wala nang pag-asa."
Richard continued, "After nun, hinahanap ko si Nomar for about five to six minutes. Hinahanap ko siya. And eventually we had to climb up a hill para humingi ng tulong."
BACK IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT. The accident left nothing much but a scar on Richard's left eyebrow. Does Richard have any more scars, be it physical or emotional?
"I was thinking about it and was a bit scared," said Richard. "Pero ayoko magpatalo sa kaba. After ko sa hospital, nag-drive agad ako. I enjoy driving, e. Ayoko mawala 'yon sa buhay ko. Kahit kinakabahan ako, e, sinubukan ko mag-drive. And now, nagdra-drive na din ako."
Richard proceeded to share that his dad Eddie helped him cope with his trauma. According to Richard, Eddie, who also got involved in a car accident many years ago, told him to drive with a driver to overcome the fear and trauma. "Effective naman," Richard assessed.
Being in a hospital for almost a week turned him into a "new man." "Positive ang outlook ko sa buhay. I'm very positive and thankful sa lahat ng blessings ko... God saved me, di ba?"
Richard said in one of his interviews that he is still alive because God has a plan for him. Has he figured out what that plan is?
"Uhm, right now, not yet. But he is working on me very well," Richard said. "I can say na slowly, I am being changed."