I am fortunate enough to have a business that is headquartered in Coral Springs and has a subsidiary in London, United Kingdom. I have been involved in CellAntenna Corporation for over four years and it has allowed me to travel to everywhere, from the Middle East to the Far East. I never really thought about my safety until last week’s bombing in London, when I was there.
Our office/warehouse is located in Leyton UK, which is the ‘Bronx’ equivalent of London. However, the area that we stay is Bloomsbury, located north east of the center of town. This area would best remind you of New York with its numerous shops, and hotels. It is in this area that the bombs went off on Thursday.
The King’s Cross station, where the intersection of all of the bombed routes occurs, is one of a few main train and subway ‘tube’ stations in London. From King’s Cross you can take several tube lines to various parts of the city, and several trains to cities like Nottingham, and even Glasgow Scotland. It is a very busy station. The tube lines that I normally take are Piccadilly Line taking me to Russell Square and other parts of London, as well as the Circle Line which takes me to Paddington station and then off to Heathrow airport home. On the way to Paddington station, on the Circle line is where one of the bombs when off.
Thursday July 7th 2005, was a normal day for my wife and I. This was to be the last day of a long vacation-business trip which took both of us to Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Belgium, France, Netherlands and Greece. We needed to be at Heathrow station by about 9:30 am, with a flight back to Miami at 11:30 am. Normally, I would hop onto the Circle line from King’s Cross or Euston station and get off at Paddington Station. From there it is no more than 1/2 hour to Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow express, a non stop train. However, my wife Barbara considered the weight of the luggage now filled with gifts and purchases that we made on the long 17 day trip, along with the fact that the luggage had grown from 2 pieces to 4. She suggested that instead of taking the train and subway, we take a cab to the airport even though this was a longer route. I listened and obeyed. We took the cab. We left around 8:30 which would normally be the time that I would have left to take the subway. Had we not taken the cab, we might very well have been on the Circle Line train which blew up between Edgeware and Paddington stations, at around 8:50 am.
We arrived at the airport and checked in. At 9:30 am we were in the lounge of Virgin Atlantic Airlines and on the screen were reports of an explosion n the tube. At that time they mentioned that it was probably an electrical explosion. It didn’t make sense, and I thought at that time it was a bomb. Unfortunately I was right. When they figured out that London was under attack, when other bombs went off, my cell phone started to ring. It was various business people and friends in the UK and Greece asking me if we were ok. I then realized that many of our family will be waking up soon, ( 11:30 am UK is 5:30 am US time). It was time I woke up my kids. I startled my daughter when I started the conversation with ‘We are Ok, so don’t worry when you hear about the bombs in London’. I told her to contact the family and tell them we are ok and on a flight back to the US. At that time, I also sent out SMS messages to everyone on my phone list saying nothing more than ‘We r ok”. We were but about 100 people were dead and 700 people were injured.
It was quite a plane ride back to the US with most of the Brits not even talking about the bombings. ‘What will be will be’ one said to me.
However, it was not too long ago when Mohammed Attah, the sinister terrorist and murderer of 9/11 was living not more than 6 blocks from my home here in Coral Springs. How different things would have been if Attah had decided to leave Coral Springs a ‘present’ when he left to carry out his plan.
We are truly very fortunate. I hope that all of my friends in London are safe and that no more bombings happen. I will be back in London in in a couple of weeks and you can be sure that I will not be taking the ‘Tube’ or any buses.