It’s not always that you get to thank the person who saved yourlife but Ridgeite Diane Hunt, a 9/11 survivor, had that opportunitybecause she made it happen.
The story began in front of Century 21 where Hunt, then asecretary at Citibank at 388 Greenwich Street, exited her expressbus that beautiful morning at 8:42 a.m. Then, it happened.
I heard the sound of a plane diving and looked up, she said.A beautiful American Airlines jet flew right into the north tower.As it pierced the building, all this gold glitter puffed out.
Hunt thought someone was filming a move. I stood there watchingthe glitter fall for a few seconds, thinking how pretty it was,she said. Then metal and concrete started hitting the ground. Irealized it was real.
She rushed back to the bus amidst confused crowds. I went tothe window seat, looked up, and at that moment, the second planehit the south tower, she said. Next I heard a woman’s voicesaying over and over, Ma’am, you’ve got to get off this bus.’ Itwas a cop.
A dazed Hunt kept walking up Broadway, hoping to find anoperating bus. After numerous failed attempts, Hunt finally foundone in service at Madison Avenue and 57th Street, late in theafternoon.
She arrived in Bay Ridge around 6 p.m., ate and went to bed -where she stayed for eight days, with the television on constantly.Hunt returned to work the following week.
I remember the smell in the air that permeated the island forweeks afterward, she recalled. I could not imagine the WorldTrade Center in the empty sky. I used to go into my boss’s officeand he would point to where they were. I could not for the life ofme see those buildings in my mind’s eye. I was consumed withloss.
But Hunt was determined to find the officer who saved her. WhenCentury 21 re-opened in March, she told her harrowing story to anofficer on patrol, asking if she knew her hero. She did.
I couldn’t believe my luck, Hunt said, adding that she calledher precinct and spoke with the captain. I told him I knew nothingabout her, other than she was tiny and black. He found her, and wechatted.
They made plans to meet the following Tuesday. I was flyingaround for the next few days, Hunt said.
Since then, Hunt and her hero – whose first name is Alicia –have been friendly. I had an award made up for her – a picture ofthe World Trade Center with everything but the very tops of thebuildings enclosed in fog, she said. It was wonderful.