Friday, 11 September 2015

9/11

I will never forget 9/11.
We were doing a presentation at our Holborn Gate office trying to win the KPMG account.
I was very annoyed to hear gasps and shouts coming from our reception area mid presentation so I made apologies and stormed out of our conference room to give the staff a bollocking and tell them to stop spoiling our presentation.
as I was about to launch off at them the second plane hit and I saw it on the TV in the waiting area. Our business was travel and I knew instantly that hundreds of our customers were in that building including the folk from KPMG New York office.
I went back in the conference room, told them what happened and what we were doing to try and identify what was happening and how to get the survivors home. It was awful and we just sat looking at each other. They thought of the options and what any of us could do about it and asked us to finish our presentation. My and my team's minds were in shreds as we did what they asked.
The end result was we retained the account and won more business but that was not the real outcome.
The real outcome was our work had just begun. The phone lines were jammed with customer's families and loved ones who wanted to know if they were safe and how we could get them back. The whole of America had become a no fly zone and we had hundreds of our clients out there including many in the twin towers. Frankly it was the ultimate nightmare situation...magnified.
Ultimately we got them all back by bullying/begging British Airways and other airlines to get our people on the first planes out.
Sadly there were some of our folk who died in those towers. I feel so bad about them but yet so proud of the ordinary people in Hogg Robinson, my company, who worked day and night to reassure, help and bring our people home.
Thank you all those who may have read this. It has taken me this long to speak of this to anyone.