'I Promised I Wouldn't Hang Up'
Lisa Jefferson, the phone supervisor who took Todd Beamer's call on Flight 93, believes God called her for a purpose.
BY: Interview by Wendy Schuman
|Taking the Call|
I was the supervisor over the call center in Oakbrook, Illinois, for Verizon Airfone, and someone had just come into the call center and asked me if I heard about the two planes that had just crashed into the World Trade Center and at that point, I told her no. And I said, “Two planes?” I said to myself, that didn’t sound like a mistake. You know, it sounded like it was meant for a purpose. As I stepped out of my office, I probably took six steps, and then I was stopped by a representative that received the actual phone call from Todd in flight. She called me over to her station and told me that she had a gentleman on her line and his plane was being hijacked. I asked her information that I needed to report to our surveillance center. And by the time I came back, she appeared to be traumatized, and that’s when I told her I would take the call over…I was asking her additional information and she wasn’t answering me. She was just dazed.
And so I actually lifted her up out of her seat and put her in the seat next to me, and I put her headset on and took her call over.
How did you manage to stay calm?
|'Todd Was Calm'|
I could just not believe this was actually happening. And I had to look at the screen. We have monitors that let us know if they are in flight or on the ground and what airline and flight information. And everything he was telling me was adding up. I could hear the commotion in the background and after we continued to talk, I’m thinking to myself, this is for real. This is a real hijacking situation. At one point, he thought I had left the phone. I told him I was still here. He was calling out my name and I didn’t want to lose his call. I told him I would be there for him. And I stayed ‘til the end.
One of the most moving things that most people learned about this was when you prayed the Lord’s Prayer with Todd. I know it brought his family a lot of comfort.
Yes, it did. His wife called me a pillar of strength and told me that she was glad that I was the one to take the call and to be on the other end and to be there for her husband.
It’s remarkable that you had the presence of mind to be able to pray with Todd.
A lot of people told me that they wouldn’t have been able to do it, but I guess, God just works in mysterious ways, and I can only say that’s why he used me because I made myself available to him.
When did you realize that you and Todd’s wife had the same first name?
|Sharing His Wife's Name|
And at Verizon Airfone, when we went to call the authorities and the FBI to report this to the emergency center, the emergency operator’s name was also named Lisa.
That’s why I said this was all planned. You know, it was just something in God’s hands that he had a plan.