I was on my way from the hotel to AOL when the second plane hit the towers. The cabbie’s radio said that the Pentagon had been hit. I remember being happy my family was living in California, away from the turmoil, but I wondered what I would do if war broke out and I was 3,000 miles from them. I also remember wondering if there would be a missile strike against the East Coast.
I got to AOL HQ, went inside, and an announcement came over the loudspeakers that they were evacuating the campus. Instead of going back to the hotel, I called the newsroom and volunteered my services. For the next 2 days, I assisted the AOL newsies in building community message boards, managing meetings, and whatever was needed. The first day, after almost the entire campus had gone home and we were the only folks around,. Steve Case came into the news room and told us we were making a valuable contribution.
By 8 pm that night I was able to reach my family in New York and confirm they were okay, and talk to my family in California and tell them I was okay.
Later that week, AOL chartered two jets and flew all the West Coasters home. The planes were so full, they had to stop in Kansas to refuel, something the jets had never needed to do in my past trips.