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A woman has launched a search for the people her late dad helped on 9/11.
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the 11 September terrorist attacks, which claimed 2,977 lives.
Now, Mercedes Martinez is trying to track down the seven people her 'hero' dad helped on that fateful day.
Taking to Twitter, radio host Mercedes said her dad was flying from Ohio home to Denver when the pilot announced there had been a security breach and the plane needed to be grounded.
Did my dad help you on September 11, 2001? If so, I'm trying to find you. (a thread)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
On September 11th, 2001 my dad caught a flight in Ohio to fly home to Denver. He was there on business and was anxious to get home to see his family. (1/11)
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot announced that the flight was being grounded. There was a breach of security and they had to land at the nearest airport. That airport was in Omaha. The pilot said he was hoping to have more information for the passengers when they landed. (2/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
Aware something was wrong, Mercedes' dad hired a rental van before the plane had even landed.
After disembarking and catching wind of what was going on, he rustled up a DIY sign and wrote on it: "Going to Denver."
My dad knew something was wrong, so as soon as he got cell service, he called one of the rental car companies and asked to rent the biggest van they had. At this point they were still in the air. (3/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
When he deplaned and heard what was happening, he made his way to either Avis or Hertz (we aren't sure which one he called), got the van, parked, and went back to the terminal. He found a cardboard box by a trashcan and asked to borrow a sharpie from a ticket agent. (4/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
He made a sign out of the box that said "GOING TO DENVER" on it. People started approaching him asking if he was going that way. He said yes, he rented a van and he would be able to take 7 people with him. Word started to get around. (5/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
He quickly filled the van with 'scared' strangers and drove from Omaha to Denver (more than 250 miles).
Each passenger was dropped right at their door, and he declined money for fuel or the cost of renting the van.
He found 7 strangers, all scared (so was he), that just wanted to get home to their families.The 8 of them hopped in and my dad drove them from Omaha to Denver. When they got to the metro area, he drove every single person to their home. (6/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
If you know the Denver area, it's big. There are many suburbs in the area. But each one got front door service. They all offered to pay him for the cost of the van. He wouldn't accept it. They offered him gas money. He didn't take it. (7/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
To him, seeing those people make it to their families when the country was being attacked was the only thing that mattered to him. Many of those people kept in touch with him for several years after 9/11/01. It warmed his heart. We were so proud of him. We still are. (8/11)- Mercedes Martinez (@MercedesLV) September 10, 2021
Mercedes' dad stayed in touch with a number of those strangers, but he sadly died of brain cancer in 2016.
Mercedes is now trying to track them down on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
She wrote: "My dad died from brain cancer on July 24, 2016. I often wonder if those people still remember him. I wonder if on the 20th anniversary of that day, will they think of him for a split second when they reflect on where they were?
"I know social media is powerful and I'm really hoping this tweet finds those people. I'd love to hear about that drive. His name is Emilio. And I know there were so many heroes that day. I am grateful for each and every one. My dad has and always will be my hero.
"And I do believe my dad was a hero to 7 people that needed to get to their families in Denver on September 11th, 2001."
If you're one of them, please send Mercedes a DM.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Mercedes Martinez
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