I was at a 1000 room hotel in LA. Sept 11 AM had a literal 1000 check outs, and 1000 check ins that day.
We had people sleeping in lobby, our bar, all restaurants. I sent people home, assuming further attacks. People call it panicky, but 15 years later those who disregarded “shelter in place” announcements are being considered “heroes”. My thought: Why the hell would you take a chance? What is funny, we had just opened this bar in the Wilshire Grand, called “Point Moorea”, and it was super silly faux tiki thing. I just wanted my employees out of there. About a year earlier, we had a significant bomb scare during the 2000 DNC, and I just evacuated the hell out of the bar, to the dismay of staff and drinkers. I don’t get knee jerk capitalism vs life safety. I really don’t. So… the afternoon of Sept 11th, I am at work. The day was my first day off in something about 40 days. My ex-wife and I were “excited” to finally spend some time together. Quotes are because it wasn’t exciting to be in an unhealthy relationship, but I digress. I worked in a bar, and went to bed at about 4am Sept 11th. This is PST time.
6am our time, our east coast people finally started ringing. It was my first day off in over a month, and I angrily answered the phone to hear my sis in law saying “are you watching”.
That morning, I tried to cook breakfast, a few times. it’s hard to aggressively burn eggs. Did it twice. Then some Jack Daniels. A Couple shots. We needed food, and went down the street, in West LA (past Apple Pan), to The Cable Car Diner. In fact, I sat next to the “O” face guy who was also the Washington State Apple dude at the time. He and a friend, me and my ex, alone… sitting and sharing the experience of the world and time changing and altering in front of our eyes. We even had a weird “you’re office space “O” face dude?” moment, that wasn’t one of those “YOU ARE FAMOUS” things, as we are all in the biz and don’t annoy our famous guests. It was more of a “holy shit we’re sharing this moment” thing. I’m going to find him on twitter and say hi, right now. But I still had to go into work, downtown, and make sure nothing was happening. Yay Management!! At our bar…. I met a guy who didn’t drink, but was drinking.
I asked “why are you nursing that coors light for 3 hours? Want another on the house?”
He showed me his boarding pass for the AM flight from Boston. I can’t remember if it was truly the 1st AA flight, or the 2nd United one. He had thought to fly out from Boston that AM, to save his company money for the hotel room, but decided last minute to come and stay overnight in case of missing conference becuase of flight delays.
He woke up with something like 300 (hyperbole) voicemails, capped out, everyone thought he was dead. His secretary, who had booked the flight, was nearly suicidal.
I literally saw his boarding pass. He told his secretary to buy a frame to show his receipts and boarding pass. He didn’t know what else to do or say. He just knew that his moment of not being totally cheap saved his life. Or maybe it was judicious knowing AM flight delays, and didn’t want to miss an impacting conference for his biz.
He was kind, humble. He sat for 16 hours or so in the same seat. He had about 2, maybe 3, beers, in that time. I am sure memory has retarded reality in some way, ie amount of time.
He was in tech, and was in LA at the Wilshire Grand Hotel for some conference. If anyone could find out where he is or what he is doing, I would love some follow up.
What are you stories or memories?