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Jeffrey Peterson🇺🇸 @realJeffreyP
, 14 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
On Sept. 11, 2001, everyone watched in horror as our country was attacked. Here is a story about a friend who died on 9/11 as an #American hero. I first met John years ago, we had both trained and worked in the business of corporate finance out of #NYC. John was a good man.
After working his way through the difficult first years many new executives face as they battle to make a career for themselves on Wall Street, John had worked at several firms with positions of increasing responsibility. It was difficult for him, because John was a nice guy.
By 2000, John had won enough battles to earn respect on Wall Street. He had become Managing Director of boutique investment firm Sandler O'Neill, focused on mergers & acquisitions of regional banks. John worked from his office on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center in #NYC.
In 2000, I went to visit my friend, after one of my own first battles as an entrepreneur. A new CEO had fired me from the company I started, Quepasa, about 60 days after I had hired that CEO. It felt like a terrible betrayal of trust...and although I received a good settlement...
...I couldn't get over the feeling of betrayal left over from the incident. When I met up with John, he had his usual warm smile and comfortable demeanor. He always felt different than others who worked in investments -- John was always simply himself, with nothing to prove.
We got on the subway in the financial district of #NYC, and transferred to a train that took us on an hour long ride in to New Jersey. During the ride, John told me he had submitted papers do to the unthinkable -- to take a DOWNGRADE in his job and pay, from the role of M.D...
to return to the trading desk where he would execute orders in a trade book while receiving less bonus with a higher base salary. From negotiating his M&A deals, John had become wealthy, yet he spoke of stress and the impact it had on his family. He said to me on that afternoon..
"Jeff, you know how it is. One battle after another. It never ends." He laughed as we exchanged war stories about our business history. As we exited the train, we walked past row after row of cars in at the station in New Jersey, to a corner where he routinely left his vehicle.
Much to my surprise, when we arrived to his parking space, John opened the door to a humble pickup truck, and we hopped inside. I noticed children's toys on the floor of his truck. We pulled out on our way to his house, and he began speaking of his family, beaming with pride.
"None of that stuff matters, Jeff," he said. "I married my high school girlfriend. I've got beautiful kids." John explained to me that he was living below his means while stockpiling financial reserves from his Wall Street job. "I'm a few years away, Jeff." John wanted to retire.
John had nothing left to prove, he had achieved a level of success that few of our peers had reached. When he returned to the stock trading desk from his previous position as a Managing Director, he did so out of love for his family and children...
I remember what he told me that afternoon as we reflected on our life priorities and respective work battles. "One day you will understand, I have to be in the best mindset possible, because now I've got the most important job of all," John said. "I'm a Dad."
On Sept. 11, 2001, 67 employees of the Sandler O'Neill investment bank lost their lives after the North Tower of the @WTC was struck at the 99th floor, 8:46am by American Airlines Flight 11, piloted by terrorist Mohamed Atta. My friend John Farrell was working on the 104th floor.
Maybe someday we will understand the 9/11 attacks and who was behind them. Maybe someday decency can return to world leaders and politics. This was just one story about a good man and his family who have suffered unfairly--my friend John, also known by his kids, simply as "Dad."
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