Anthony DeBlase of Colts Neck, NJ says he escaped the World Trade Center on 9/11, thanks to a 9-year-old little boy who happened to go to work with his mom that day. The two families recently reunited at Ground Zero for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Margarita and Michael agreed to meet Anthony at Ground Zero. It was only the second time the 19-year-old had been back to World Trade Center since 9/11.
"Do you think you will have a flashback when you see him?" Michael asked his mother. "I have been having flashbacks all week. I try to control them, but it's tough," Margarita responded.
"Oh my god," Margarita said, putting her hand on her heart as Anthony rounded the corner with his wife, mother, and two-year-old son. The last time they'd seen each other was inside the South Tower lobby.
"I remember," DeBlase said as he approached the mother and son, "I remember. Come here you," he said reaching out and pulling the teenager in for a hug. "You've grown since I last saw you," Anthony said to Michael.
"You don't know how many times we thought about you," Margarita told Anthony. "I was hoping that you had survived, that you would not go back to the first tower to the sibling you talked about."
"Yeah, I told you about him," Anthony looked at her and then looked down shaking his head, "He didn't make it."
"I'm so sorry," Margarita said putting her hand on her heart again, "I will be forever grateful to you for all the support and help that you gave," she said her voice cracking as she choked back tears.
"You're grateful to me? I'm grateful to him," said Anthony putting his hand on Michael's shoulder, "If it wasn't for him I would have helped someone else and my mother would have lost two sons."
Margarita introduced Anthony to her husband, who thanked him for helping his wife and child get out of the tower alive. Anthony introduced the Yakubov family to his wife, Lauren, his two-year-old son, and his mother.
"I'm so sorry about your other son," Margarita said, putting her arm around Anthony's mother.
For Anthony, who sought out the boy in the stairwell as part of his PTSD therapy, the reunion was healing.
"Seeing him puts closure on it. And the building is about to go up again, hopefully," Anthony said referring to the new One World Trade Center tower.
Michael, who is a graphic design student at Queens College, is also looking forward to the tower's completion.
"I told myself when that building is done, I'll go work there," said Michael gesturing toward the tower, "The Freedom Tower. I want to go work there."
Anthony and Michael are staying in touch. Michael is designing a logo for Anthony new company, while he waits for that dream job at the new World Trade Center.