It began around 8:40 that morning,
when he spotted several boxes of Krispy
Kreme doughnuts outside an office at the
World Trade Center. The doughnuts were
free — a complimentary treat for visitors.
“Hey, Bobby,” said Tabeek, the veteran
manager of security for the giant office and
shopping complex in lower Manhattan.
“Look at that — free doughnuts! You want
Robert Lynch, commercial property
manager for the plaza section of the WTC,
shook his head and laughed. Lynch was
worried about cholesterol. “No thanks,
George — that stuff’ll kill you!”
But Tabeek had never sampled a Krispy
Kreme, and he was curious. So he grabbed
a napkin and dug one of the gooey confections
out of the bright green box.
A moment later, they were joined by
Joe Amatuccio, another longtime property-management
employee at the WTC, and
two other employees. Together, the five
men began walking across the central plaza
that linked the two great towers with the
They were making their regular morning
circuit of the immense facility, where
more than 50,000 people worked each day.
As the security manager for the WTC since
1999, Tabeek was responsible for managing
nearly 500 on-site security guards,
along with several Operational and Security
Command Centers, an ID section, the
Parking Security Section, the WTC Outreach
Program for the Homeless and the
Key Control Facility for the two 110-story
skyscrapers that loomed high above the
The hands on George Tabeek’s Rolex
He took a bite of his doughnut — and
a bright red gob of raspberry jelly splattered
onto his white dress shirt. Tabeek
groaned, then began to dab at the spreading crimson blotch with his napkin.
Amatuccio laughed out loud. “George, we can’t take you anywhere!”
All five of them were chuckling now, as they strolled along the concourse beneath the North Tower. Another day on the job …
Then Tabeek heard a jetliner approaching, very loudly. The engines were screaming as the enormous airplane descended from the bright blue sky above New York City.
It was 8:46.
It was September 11, 2001.