19 years ago, I lost my beautiful wife of 21 years, Laurie, to cancer. The following day (9/11/01), as I was getting dressed to go to the funeral parlor, I watched on TV as those planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers.

Devastated was an understatement on how I felt at that very moment, especially being from NY. (I lost a few Citi business associates, some high school classmates, plus several firefighter friends, that day.

“Silver lining?”

Pls follow along.

A few days later, I get a call from Mike McCartney, a great friend of mine at the Citibanking Service Center here in San Antonio.

(Note: For the last year of Laurie’s life, I was given permission to work from home so I could take care of her, a favor for which I am eternally grateful.)

I had spoken to Mike during the last week in August & he told me about a young man (Victor Martinez) who worked for me but recently moved from SA to NY. Problem was that he didn’t have a job in NY & Mike wondered if I could be of any help to Victor.

“No problem, Mike…I’ll get right on it!”

I sent an e-mail to a dozen colleagues of mine back in NY who worked in different areas of the bank. I asked if they knew of any open positions or opportunities for this young man for whom I vouched on a professional & personal level. I didn’t expect, nor did I want, any “favors”…I just wanted to see if there was a chance that they could use an excellent worker & if they were willing to either speak with him or point him in the right direction.

Within a few hours, I received 12 replies to my e-mail – – 10 offers to help out & 2 “out of office” auto-replies. Everyone got back to me so quickly! (The people were the main reason that I LOVED working at Citi for all those years.)

I sent Mike back all the applicable information & told him to have Victor contact each one of them directly, mention my request & work out the appropriate arrangements.

I didn’t think much of it as it was something that I did pretty routinely, e.g., use my network of Citi friends/contacts to help someone.

So…

Mike calls me a few days after 9-11 to tell me something about Victor.

Apparently, Victor had spoken with Jeff Arestivo, an Area Director for several branches in & around the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. Jeff helped out & pointed Victor to his people at one of his Financial Centers.

The one at the World Trade Center (7 WTC).

Victor had an interview scheduled there.

For Tuesday, September 11th.

At 9:00 AM.

FYI, the planes hit the towers at 8:46 & a few minutes past 9:00.

My heart fell to the floor! I’m waiting to take my wife & daughter back to NY for the wake, funeral & burial and now, here I am, putting a person’s life in danger when I was just trying to help him.

I felt like the lowest form of life on Earth.

Then Mike says, “But Victor overslept & missed the interview!”

God certainly works in strange ways.

The last I heard (and it was a few years ago), Victor was still working for Citi at the former corporate headquarters at 399 Park Avenue.

Ya know, always be grateful for the life you have & for your loved ones & friends.

Life’s a pretty fragile thing and along the way, you’ll experience some of the greatest highs & the deepest lows.

But just always do your best to be a good person…you never really know what He has in store for you.

Love you guys! Have a peaceful day. 💖

P.S.  Victor actually moved up the ranks & is now managing his own Citi branch in the NY metropolitan area!!!

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8 Comments

  1. Carolann Iadarola on August 31, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    You are such a good soul, Mike. Yes, God works in mysterious ways indeed.

    • Michael LoRusso on August 31, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you! You do what you gotta do to help people…isn’t that why we’re here?

  2. Miranda Nightengale on September 6, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    I still remember the day you told me this story!

    • Michael LoRusso on September 6, 2020 at 4:17 pm

      Oh, the thoughts running through my head then…

  3. Lee Baca on September 6, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Mike that took back to my ctitibank days in Client Relations and working Mike and Victor and you l over your mangement style and how you empowerd is to be better for our clients after they were the reason we were there.l so sorry to hear about your health situation but hope this gets you back in the game and gives some peace. Take care and God bless you and your family and look forward to reading more and hearing more.Wishing you all the best.

    • Michael LoRusso on September 6, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Lee!

      I so loved my Citi family, most especially, those with whom I worked. And I will continue to do as long as I’m here!

      Pls take care & God bless you!

  4. Stephen John Bucchere on September 13, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Love you Mike.

    • Michael LoRusso on September 13, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      As I do you!

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