Operation Find Don
I realized after a couple archive searches that this never made it over from the old site. Not sure how much good it will do now — my feeling at this point is that, if Don hasn't been found yet, there may be no finding the guy — but I'm happy to be proven wrong. Although…it could be kind of awkward. ("So, you waited for eight years for me to show up." "Uh huh." "And so did some of your readers." "Ehhhh-yep." "That's…quite odd." "Yessir it is. Beer?" "Um.") But the hell with it. Life is short, but not so short I can't make time to thank a guy.
This year I've given myself a bit more time to find him, so do me a favor: pass it on. FB it, tweet it, whatever you got. It's two presidential terms gone by now; we gotta find this dude.
OPERATION FIND DON
The latest news is that there is no news; if I hear anything, I will let you know, but I haven't heard anything…and it's starting to look like I won't. I don't think I would recognize Don if I saw him on the street, anymore; I doubt he would remember me, especially now that my hair is so different.
It's also possible that Don does not in fact want to be found, or that he's in the Yukon or something, but I've done the paid name/birthday searches and I've hoped that six degrees of separation would loop around, and I still haven't turned him up.
Thanks again to everyone who's mentioned it on sites they run or frequent, or to friends of theirs in the media, and to everyone who's sent words of support. I appreciate it. If you hear anything, or you want to mention it on your blog, please feel free — you never know.
Don: A (Very Very) Brief History
Don is a man I met on September 11, 2001. Don and I became "disaster buddies," and ever since, I've wanted to thank him for hanging out with me and helping me keep it together — but I haven't seen or heard from him since we parted ways late that morning.
What Don Looks/Looked Like
Don is an African-American man. I would estimate his age at between 25 and 35 on that day — probably not younger than that; possibly older, but not much. That means he's 30-ish to 40 now.
Don is between 5'9" and 6' tall, and probably weighed 160-180 pounds. (I suck at estimating men's weights.) In any case, at that time Don had a fit build — not pudgy, not skinny, well put-together.
Don had short hair and a goatee at that time. I do not recall any jewelry; he may have worn a watch, I don't remember. No glasses.
Don had on a grey windowpane-plaid suit and was carrying a black soft-sided briefcase.
Don didn't really resemble anyone famous, except Blair Underwood around the eyes a little bit.
Other Possibly Relevant Facts
Don and I met in the lobby of the Bank of New York building, located roughly at Wall Street and Broadway. We left the bank together at approximately 11 that morning.
Don lived at that time in Jersey City, or thereabouts — he took the ferry to Jersey City to get home, from a slip somewhere around Hester Street on the west side.
Don had come into the city that morning via the PATH train, and had gotten off at the World Trade Center stop. He had come into the city for work, but I don't remember whether his business that day was actually at the WTC complex; I don't believe it was. If he had gotten separated from any work colleagues, he didn't mention it. I don't know what he did for a living, and I don't know if his job was based in Jersey City or in lower Manhattan, but I got the impression that he was in the city for an errand or meeting, and that he didn't regularly commute in.
As I said, I don't recall a wedding ring; Don did not mention a wife or any other family at that time as far as I can remember.
Don's birthday is September 11. No idea what year, but based on my estimate of his age it's probably in the late sixties or seventies.
Why You Should Care
Because it's a mystery, a puzzle, a story that needs an end. Because Don is everything good and friendly about the world. Because I owe him my thanks, and possibly a cold beer. Because it's his birthday.
What You Can Do
Do you know anyone in Jersey City, or anyone who lives or works near there? Have you heard a story like mine — secondhand, thirdhand, on someone's journal? Do you recall reading or hearing anywhere about people who ran for the Bank of New York, walked uptown a bit, and took a ferry to New Jersey? Post in the comments, or email me at sars at tomatonation dot com.
And if you are in fact Don? Well, don't just sit there. Show yourself. My mom's friend swears you were an angel and she'll keep believing that shit until I can prove otherwise.
Suggestions? Clues? Conspiracy theories? Send 'em my way. I'll add any new information as it comes in.
In short: Don. He's still out there. And he's another year older.