The Man Whose Wife Missed One of the Doomed 9/11 Planes and Whose Father Was Killed Rescuing People in the Twin TowersFiction!



Summary of eRumor:

An inspirational email about a man who was rushing his pregnant wife to the airport, but a flat tire delayed them and she missed her flight.

The man’s father, a retired firefighter, called and said that the missed flight was one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

That turned out to be the last conversation between father and son because the firefighter went to the World Trade Center to help out and was killed in the collapse.

Two years later, a couple came to the man’s door to say that they had been in the World Trade Center that day and that the woman, who was pregnant at the time, got trapped under some debris.  

They said the man’s father was the one who rescued her and that while he worked to free her, she talked with him about Jesus Christ and that he prayed to become a Christian.

They had named their child after the man’s father in honor of his rescue of her.

The Truth:

This story has all the earmarks of having been fabricated and is not substantiated by any evidence.

Most notably, there isn’t anyone named Jake or Jacob Matthew or Matthews who died in the World Trade Center tragedy and no firefighters at all with the first name of Jacob.

The eRumor says that the man who told the story was from Norfolk, Virginia and that he was taking her to the airport for a flight to visit a relative in California.  That would suggest he was taking her to an airport convenient to Virginia.  The eRumor also says that the wife’s intended flight crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

The plane that hit the south tower was United Airlines Flight 175, which was indeed going to California, but originated in Boston.

There was a flight on September 11 that took off from Washington’s Dulles airport and was also headed for California, but it crashed into the Pentagon.

Last updated 10/18/03

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

A man from Norfolk, VA called a local radio station to share this on Sept
11th, 2003. His Name was Robert Matthews. These are his words:

“A few weeks before Sept 11th, my wife and I found out we were going to have
our first child. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On
our way to the airport, we prayed that God would grant my wife a safe trip and
be with her.

Shortly after I said ‘amen’ we both heard a loud pop and the car shook
violently. we had blown out a tire. I replaced the tire as quickly as I could,
but we still missed her flight. Both very upset, we drove home.

I recieved a call from my father who was retired FDNY. He asked what my wife’s
flight number was, but explained that we missed the flight. My father informed
me that her flight was the one that crashed into the southern tower. I was too
shocked to speak.

My father also had more news for me; he was going to help. ‘This is not
something I can just sit by for, I have to do something.’ I was concerened for
his safety, of course, but more because he had never given his life to Christ.
After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off of the
phone, he said, ‘take good care of my grandchild.’ Those were the last words I
ever heard my father say; he died while helping in the rescue effort.

My joy that my prayer of safety for my wife had been answered quickly became
anger. Anger at God, at my father, and at myself. I had gone for nearly 2
years blaming God for taking my father away. My son would never know his
grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ, and I never got to say

Then something happened. About 2 months ago, I was sitting at home with my
wife and my son, when there was a knock on the door. I looked at my wife, but
I could tell she wasn’t expecting anyone. I opened the door to a couple with a
small child. The man looked at me and asked if my father’s name was Jake
Matthews. I told him it was. He quickly grabbed my hand and said, ‘I never got
the chance to meet your father, but it is an honor to meet his son.’

He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Center and had
been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been caught
under debris. He then explained that my father had been the one to find his
wife and free her. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of my father
giving his life for people like this.

He then said, ‘there is something else you need to know.’ his wife then told
me that as my father worked to free her, she talked to him and lead him to
Christ. I began sobbing at the news. Now I know that when I get to heaven, my
father will be standing beside Jesus to welcome me, and that this family would
be able to thank him themselves. “

When their baby boy was born, they named him Jacob Matthew in honor of the man
who gave his life so mother and baby could live.

This story should help us to realize two things: First, that though it has
been two years since the attacks, we should never let it become a mere tragic
memory. And second, but most important, God is always in control. We may not
see the reason behind things, and we may never know this side of heaven, but
God is ALWAYS in control.