On September 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people lost their lives—and these seven people could have been among the casualties had it not been for a twist of fate that kept them out of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in Manhattan on that fateful Tuesday morning. Read on to learn about those who survived because of seemingly random occurrences.
Her mother’s persistence saved her life
For Holly Winter, September 11, 2001, was going to be the day of a blissful reunion for her and her college friends—but her own mother’s intuition saved her. Winter, who lived in Denver at the time, tells Reader’s Digest, “I was supposed to be at the Twin Towers on September 11 with my two best friends from college, who lived in Chicago and New York. Because the NYC-based friend worked non-stop, Winter and her other friend coordinated their calendars for a surprise breakfast picnic on September 11 in New York at his office in the original One World Trade Center. “It was the only date that worked for both of us. Our plan was to fly into the city the night before, then show up at his office at 8.00 am with a breakfast of champagne and caviar—his favourites.”
She continues, “I called my mother who lived in upstate New York to let her know her I was coming to town, and she told me she was coming to visit me instead. I begged her to change her trip, reminding her that she was retired, so her schedule was more flexible. She refused, saying it felt like the right time to visit.”
Winter cancelled the trip with her friends. “My Chicago friend decided to make the trip without me. The surprise worked as planned and they called me at 8.00 am, and we laughed and talked for a while. I hung up so that they could enjoy the visit without keeping me on the phone. I lost them both.”
A rare holiday saved her life
Brenda Christensen, who at the time lived in California, never missed her annual media tour (a week-long string of appointments held with clients, editors, and reporters) at the Twin Towers in Manhattan for her public relations business except for the one in September 2001. “Every single year I was in New York for work in September. My first appointment was always in the Twin Towers to meet a Wall Street Journal reporter for breakfast at 10 am sharp,” Christensen recalls. “However, the one year I decided to go on holiday instead was 2001.” Instead of being in downtown Manhattan that year, Christensen spent the night at a hotel in New Orleans for a stay-over en route to meet her sister-in-law in Jamaica. “I woke up in the French Quarter to the horrific news, not knowing if any of my colleagues and staff were decimated, as they were near the towers in Lower Manhattan. (Luckily, they weren’t.) I felt I had missed a lightning bolt.”