I lost a friend in the World Trade Center disaster.I'd like to tell you about him. I'll only use his first name as his passing has not yet been confirmed but, in all probability, he did not make it out.His name was Mark. He was 36 years old. He leaves behind a wife and three small boys. He worked in the World Trade Center, Tower I.I met him about a year ago when he called me and made an appointment to place his dad in the Assisted Living facility where I worked as the Director of Marketing.I liked him the minute we met. He had boyish good looks and a warm strong handshake. He told me about his dad and his concern about wanting to find the best place to provide care for him. Mark told me that his mom had been gone for some time. His dad was presently being hospitalized and Mark and his brother, Kevin, knew dad could no longer live on his own. Mark wanted to find a facility that was close to his home so he could visit regularly. I like to get to know the families of our prospective residents and when I asked Mark about himself, he told me that he was a CFO for a brokerage house in New York, married with 3 small boys. His face lit up when he spoke about those boys. I told Mark to bring dad in for a visit and a tour.The following week, Mark and his brother Kevin came in with dad and I gave them the grand tour. Mark's dad turned out to be a wonderful man in his 70's with the onset of Parkinson's. Dad wasn't sure this was the place for him so I did not force the issue. I don't do a hard sell on people, never have, I let them decide on their own. I told them to give it some thought. During our conversation Mark and Kevin told dad that if he moved in, he would be close to his grandchildren who would come and visit.Upon leaving, I went back to my office and brought out 4 bears to give to Mark and Kevin. Three for Mark and 1 for Kevin to give to the kids. Well, dad wanted one too, so I went back and got one for dad. I jokingly told dad that I had many more toys for him but, he would have to move in to get them.Mark called me the next day to thank me for the bears, the kids loved them. On the drive back to the rehabilitation hospital, they talked and dad said he wanted to come and stay with us. Mark's father moved in that month.I have to tell all of you that his father had all the female employees wrapped around his finger within the first month. He was such a flirt. We just loved the guy. I could see where Mark got his sweet and friendly manner. The apple did not fall too far from the tree.As time went on, Mark and Kevin would come in to visit with their families. They always stopped in my office to say hello. When we had our Halloween party, they all came in costume. I remember Mark came as a pirate, his wife a french maid and the kids in assorted costumes. They were an adorable family. We took pictures that night and I made sure I mailed copies to Mark.I don't normally get close to our resident's families but, Mark was special. He was so friendly and outgoing that you could not help but be drawn to him. When Mark came to visit his father, he would always stop by my office to say hello and chat for a few minutes. When I left to go on to another position, Mark heard and called to wish me luck and thank me for all the help in placing dad. He felt he made the right choice. I thanked him back and told him we would keep in touch.On occassion when I went back to visit, I luckily came a few times when Mark was visiting his dad. We chatted and he told me he changed jobs, but was still working in New York City. I could see that he was very happy with life. Things were going good for him and it showed.This past Thursday, I received a call from the Dining Supervisor where I used to work. She told me that Kevin came in to give the news to his dad about Mark.My former Executive Director who had also left the facility about two months after me, also received a phone call with the news about Mark. She knew him for less time than myself and yet the news devastated her. She called me and together we cried over such a loss. She had her own memories of Mark. We talked about him. We knew him for only a short time and would only see him on occassion but, his happy smile and warmth just made you feel so lucky to have encountered him.How do you explain this tragedy? I am at a loss for words, it is so senseless. A wonderful human being lost his life. A family lost a beloved husband and father. A father lost his son. A brother lost his only brother.I pray Mark, that you rest in peace. Whether you knew it or not, you touched many lives.Genygirl
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