As I was running, I remember I seeing a building to my left. People were rushing inside before the dust cloud hit. Through the darkness, I made it to the doors of that building. They were glass doors, and, to my misfortune, they were closed. I tried to shatter the glass with my motorcycle helmet. That did not work.
Things were very confusing. I managed to open my eyes a little and noticed people inside. I felt around to my right and found the opening to a set of revolving doors. I pushed and was able to make it inside. Once there, I coughed very hard trying to get that dust out of my throat. Finally, I was able to take a breath. However, the dust would not remove itself from my throat. Nonetheless, I was safe for the moment, and I could breath.
I noticed a phone. I grabbed it and called home. My younger brother picked up the phone. He was so calm, as if he did not know what was happening. I told him to put on my mother on the phone. When she heard my voice, she broke down, she was hysterical. I told her to calm down, obviously I was ok, she, however, did not understand that. She mentioned my girlfriend was there. I spoke to her also.
She too was in a state of hysteria. I reassured her and hung up the phone.There were about a hundred people in the lobby of that building. The majority had sought refuge, as I had. It was mayhem- confusion everywhere. People did not feel safe; they were looking for a way out of that building also. They moved like sheep, all together and in the same direction. I moved in my own direction, opposite theirs. I found someone’s Dunkin Donuts coffee; I grabbed it and gargled with it. That removed about 50% of the dust from my throat. I kept the coffee until I had removed all the muck. As I coughed, someone grabbed me and sat me at the security guards office. I told him I was ok, while another woman handed me some napkins and turned away. As I looked outside, the darkness was subsiding and daylight light was coming back. For me, that was a sign that I had to get out of there. I needed to get away from downtown as fast as possible.
I made my way to a bathroom. I washed my face, hands, and mouth. I grabbed an orange juice from the rack, and walked outside. No, I did not pay for it, neither were there cashiers to collect any money even if I wanted to. Once outside, there was about 2-1/2 inches of dust on the floor. It looked as if it had snowed. Police and other officials were confused. People walked like zombies and everything was silent: no sirens, no talking, no birds, nothing but confusion. Folks, what you see in the movies is as close to reality as I would suggest you get. It is very spooky.
I started to make my way north. I found a bus that would take people uptown. It was full of people, but I managed to find a seat.
I met up with a gentleman who was in the stairwell with me. He told me his wife was in Tower Two. He was trying desperately to call her on her cell phone, but cell phone were not working. In my mind I doubted she was alive, but I kept that to myself. The bus moved about three blocks and stopped– traffic was not moving. Everyone on the bus decided to leave the bus and walk.
As we walked uptown, Tower One collapsed. We were now about 10 blocks from the towers, but fear and uncertainty made us run for our lives yet again. This time the dust cloud did not come near us, but it was a scare nonetheless. Soon after I met up with Carlos, my mom’s husband. We walked together to 42nd street and 12th avenue where a ferry was transporting NJ residents across the Hudson River. There was a 2-1/2 hour wait to board that ferry. But I had a means of getting on that boat faster than anyone else. I was covered from head to toe in white dust. I asked a police officer to get me on the boat because I needed to see a doctor. He agreed and got me and Carlos on. We walked from the ferry port to my house, about a 25 minute walk.
When I took that first step onto the stairs of my house, a shiver went down my spine. I finally felt safe. When I waked inside, my mother greeted me with an unbelievable hug. It felt like I had died and came back for one last hug – that was in intense moment…