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Tragedy Often Exposes Kindness In Strange Places

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2021

Twenty years ago, I lived in New Jersey just across from New York City. My boyfriend and I worked in one of the buildings around the World Trade Center. I was five months pregnant in September of 2001. My boyfriend’s birthday was on the 11th. We usually made the trip to work together, but the day before, he told me that he was going to take his birthday off. I decided to go to work earlier than usual so I could finish my day early and join him for dinner.

On the 11th, I took the ferry across the Hudson River as usual. Just as I exited the ferry, I — and everyone else — watched as the first plane hit a tower. I stood there in shock. I was not sure what to do. I called my office.

Me: “Hi, [Boss]. I’m outside now. Do you see what is happening? I don’t know what to do.”

Boss: “I can’t tell you. I’m not sure myself.”

As I stood there with others in the street trying to figure out my next move, the second plane hit. Pandemonium struck. People screamed and ran. I started heading back to the ferry terminal. I was in danger of being trampled. I looked around and laid eyes on the biggest, baddest, biker-looking dude that I could imagine. I went to him and tapped him on the shoulder. It was too loud, with the screaming and crying, to talk to him. I got his attention and pointed at my pregnant belly with both hands. That man, that saint, that Earthly angel, put his huge shoulders around mine and started scooting me out of the area toward the ferry.

Big Scary Man: “Move! Move NOW! Pregnant lady here! Get out of the way!”

He escorted me, protected me, enveloped me, all the way to the ferry. He made sure I got on and seated and then he saw the boat off. I lost sight of him in the throng of people trying to exit the island. Maybe he went to help others? I will never know.

My daughter was born several months later and is now a college student. To that man: thank you. You may never know how much you helped me that day.

This story is part of our end-of-year Feel Good roundup for 2021!

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Read the Feel Good 2021 roundup!