The Eureka Reporter

Janitor turned activist recounts 9/11 tragedy

Janitor turned activist recounts 9/11 tragedy
The Eureka Reporter

by Ahley Bailey

World Trade Center janitor William Rodriguez was going to call in sick on Sept. 11, 2001. After some urging from his boss, he went in to work a little later than his usual 8 a.m. schedule.

The horror of that day lives on for Rodriguez, who has become an activist and travels the world telling his story of survival in order to help victims of the terrorist attacks.

Clad in suit and tie, Rodriguez came to the River Lodge in Fortuna on Sunday evening and greeted each attendee with a warm smile and a handshake.

“Thank you for being here,” he said as he made his way around the room of approximately 100 people.

He told his story.

While working at the WTC for 20 years, Rodriguez said, he had made many friends.

He clocked in the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and decided not to go up to the 61st floor to the Kitchen restaurant where he usually received a free breakfast.

When he heard the first plane fly into the North Tower, he said, all he could think about was the restaurant.

“Those were my friends there,” he said. “I would have gone through that fire to help my friends. I was not able to save a single one.”

He was, however, able to save dozens of others.