Michael Tuohey was going to work like he had for 37 years, but little did he know that this day would change his life forever. On September 11, 2001, Tuohey, a ticket agent for U.S. Airways, checked in terrorist Mohammed Atta for a flight that started a chain of events that would change history.
Tuohey was working the U.S. Airways first-class check-in desk when two men, Atta and his companion Abdul Azziz-Alomari, approached his counter. From all outward appearances, the men seemed to be normal businessmen, but Tuohey felt something was wrong.
"I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap...I thought, 'My God, Michael, these are just a couple of Arab businessmen.'"
Atta and Alomari, were flying first-class from Portland, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts, where they would board the American Airlines flight bound for the Twin Towers.
With security alerts at a normal level, and no solid security protocol in place, Tuohey gave them their tickets, but, going with his gut instinct, he refused to give the men boarding passes for their connecting flight, forcing the pair to go through another security check-point in Boston.
"I just had the feeling I was looking into the face of evil. They were the deadest eyes I've ever seen. I mean, it was just an unmistakable face. Cold," says Tuohey.
When Tuohey first heard about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, he thought it was just an accident. When the second plane hit, he knew his instincts had been correct. "My first reaction was, 'I was right. This guy was a terrorist.'"
Plagued by sleepless nights and visions of Atta, Tuohey felt another layer of guilt when he learned the ticket agent in Boston who checked in Atta and Alomari for the last leg of their flight committed suicide.
Tuohey: I'm saying, my God, if I had just done the job the way I was supposed to she never would have seen these people.
Oprah: But this is the thing … If you're going to beat yourself up and be guilty about it and say, "What I could have done," what could you have done?
Tuohey: Basically nothing.
Oprah: Well then…
Tuohey: Yeah, I know. I know that. … But try to convince your mind.
Every other year, thousands of contestants from all over the United States go head-to-head for a chance to win a $1 million grand prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. The 2004 competition was fierce!
The 100 finalists—95 women and five men—were flown to Hollywood to whip up their culinary creations. After one tasty competition, a winner was chosen: Suzanne Conrad's Oats and Honey Granola Pie! Get the recipe!
With one whiff, Oprah was hooked. "I can tell that this is killer good," she says.
So how will Suzanne spend her winnings? "It's spread out over 20 years, which is really nice. … It's like a salary. I'm getting paid to stay home with my children right now."
Just 10 years ago Bryony Evens was a literary agent's office manager. One of her jobs was to sort out manuscripts by new authors. Bryony opened a package containing a children's book submission. Although her agency did not represent children's books, the unusual folder caught Bryony's eye and she decided to read it rather than reject it.
"I read the first three chapters, which is what had been sent in, and I loved it so much, I wanted to see the whole book," Bryony says. "Really, I just wanted to read to the end of the book. I didn't care about whether we were going to sell it or not at that point. I got my boss to read it and he liked it."
The book was rejected by a number of publishers before it arrived at Bloomsbury. But they shared Bryony's passion and published…
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.
Since the fateful day that Bryony saved it from the reject pile, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has become a staggering success with six best-selling books and four blockbuster movies. Harry Potter has made J.K. Rowling one of the richest women in England.
Harry Potter wasn't the only success plucked from the rubbish pile. One retail giant started by selling discarded military surplus.
In 1978, Mel and Patricia Ziegler—young journalists with a passion for travel—stumbled upon a brilliant idea. While he was in Australia working on a story, Mel had purchased an old British military safari jacket in a surplus store. When he returned home, people were curious where he got it.
Mel and Patricia started buying and reselling exotic army surplus clothes like the "short-armed Spanish paratrooper shirt," which they bought by the pound! They sold their first item to a friend at a dinner party and other sales followed. Next they took huge risk, spending every cent they had on thousands of "Gurkha shorts." Again, the gamble paid off: Sales went through the roof, though Patricia says the shorts were "kind of outrageous in 1978."
They took yet another gamble and opened their first store in Mill Valley, California. Word got out and within two years, the Zieglers' mail-order catalog had thousands of fans. They opened a second location of their store…Banana Republic. The rest is retail history!
"We actually started the company mostly to have the ability to travel, to be free, to write our own paycheck," Mel says. "We never really had our sights beyond that."
Mel and Patricia eventually sold their company to The Gap, but Banana Republic still makes a version of those original khaki shorts and white shirt! See how another one of America's favorites got its start.
In 1933 Vernon Rudolph bought a doughnut recipe from a French chef and set out to make a sweet dream come true. He moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with just some old equipment and $200. He used every penny he had to buy a little store.
And though he died in 1973, Vernon's Krispy Kreme doughnuts now are devoured all over the world.
Today, Krispy Kreme shops produce more than 7.5 million doughnuts a day, enough in one week to stretch from L.A. to New York. In just 22 seconds, Krispy Kreme can make enough doughnuts that, if stacked on top of one another, they would be as tall as the Empire State Building!
To this day, there are just four people who really know the secret recipe that makes those doughnuts so good. The recipe, which is locked up in a vault, is blended into a mystery mix and shipped off to Krispy Kreme stores everywhere.
"Has anybody ever eaten just one?" Oprah asks. "I had my first one [a couple years ago] and I ended up eating four. It's dangerous!"
While at the Toronto International Film Festival, Janice Flisfeder, began to feel dizzy and dehydrated. Then, all of a sudden, she fainted.
"The next thing I remember," she says, "was waking up on the floor and someone was brushing my hair back and kissing me and whispering in my ear, 'You're okay, sweetheart. Wake up. It's all right.' So I thought, 'Who is this person that's whispering sweet nothings to me?' And I tilted my head back and I thought, 'Oh, my God.' It was Matthew McConaughey. I was told that I got mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from this hunk. And, unfortunately, I missed it because I was out cold on the floor."
Toronto newspapers reported the story, which quickly became known worldwide.
But that wasn't the last time Janice heard from this movie star. For her 50th birthday, Janice's husband, Avram, arranged for Matthew to call her. "And it turned out he told me that it was also his mother's birthday," Janice says. "But I let him know that I was much younger than his mother!"
You never know who will come to your aid, or who you might rescue. A doctor shares his account of the crash scene that took Princess Diana's life.
It was just a normal Saturday night, Dr. Frederick Maillez and his friend Mark were traveling home from a birthday party in the suburbs of Paris when they came upon a horrific site. Inside a tunnel under the Pont de l'Alma bridge a black car sat destroyed after crashing violently into the tunnel wall.
"Two were evidently dead. No reaction. No breathing. No talking," recounts Dr. Maillez. "The driver was almost inside the engine. I could hardly see him. The man on the left back seat was apparently dead. He was not moving. The person in the front seat was severely injured with very severe face injuries. But he was at least breathing and screaming. So he was alive. And the other person in the back right seat, the young woman, was injured but she was also reacting and breathing. She needed assistance, but she was alive."
After doing a quick medical assessment, Dr. Maillez called emergency services, and then began treating the injured. At the time, he did not know the woman in the car was Princess Diana.
Inside the car were Princess Diana; her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed; Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Reese Jones; and her driver, Henri Paul.
"I didn't have time to think who she could be and I didn't recognize her," he says. "I tried to help her breathe with my respiratory bag and after a few seconds she reacted a little bit better."
As a volunteer fireman assisted Trevor Reese Jones, Dr. Maillez continued to help the dying princess. "Her face was still quite peaceful, even during the accident. Pain[ed,] but no blood on her face. No blood anywhere else. She didn't speak at all. She was in shock. She was moaning and giving some sounds, but nothing I could understand."
The next day, Dr. Maillez woke up to the shocking news that the princess had died. Although rumors persist that Princess Diana confessed she was pregnant as she lay dying, Dr. Maillez wants to set the record straight and let the world know that is not true.
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