For me, choosing one person to honor was both simple and sad. Of the handful of people I knew who died on 9/11, the biggest loss was my brother-in-law, Wayne. Not a day goes by where we don't think about him, and miss him terribly. He brought out the best in all of us, and filled our family with laughter. This one's for you, Wayne.
Robert Wayne Hobson, III
Residence: Jersey City, NJ
Occupation: Broker, Cantor Fitzgerald
Location: World Trade Center, Tower 1, 105th Floor
What you won't find in any online tribute:
Wayne was not supposed to be there that day. At that point in his career, he was spending most of his time at the Cantor Fitzgerald offices in Houston, which made it that much more unbelievable that he was there on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. My sister, Cindy, worked in an office downtown that had a perfect view of the Twin Towers. She had spoken to her husband, Wayne, after his building was struck by the first plane. They were all scared, but he told Cindy, "Call my mother. Tell her I'm okay." After exchanging a few more brief, but personal, words, the phone call ended. That was the last time she spoke to him.
My sister wanted to run to the building to go and get him, or wait for him on the street to find him when he came out. Thank goodness, she had a quick-thinking boss who calmly took charge and led her out of the building, and out of the city. I was able to keep in touch with my sister as she made her way north, but never was our conversation more than a few seconds, because she wanted to be free to dial Wayne's number over and over again, hoping that the lines would open up and she would be able to talk to him again. I was able to phone Wayne's mother, Judith, who took up her post at Hobson's Choice, the bar Wayne and Cindy owned in Hoboken. Judith waited for her son, praying that he would walk through the door, grab a pint, and spend the evening regaling the crowd with another one of his great stories. I don't know when Judith left the bar...but he never came...
Wayne left behind a lot of friends and a family who loved him deeply. Wayne was the person you went to if you needed anything -- advice, a friend, a drink, a job, a car. Back in 1997, I got into a pretty bad car accident just a week before he married my sister. He was the first one who arrived on the scene, he took charge, and when it was all over, he handed me the keys to his Jeep. When I looked at him and said, "I can't take your car!" He replied, in all seriousness, "Why not?!?" because in Wayne's world, if someone needed a ride home, you gave her your car, of course! When someone asks me about Wayne, I tell them, he was the type of person that filled a room with his energy and sitting next to him was always the best seat in the house. I have yet to meet another man with his humor, energy and kindness.
I have no doubt that if there is a heaven, Wayne's running the bar and St. Peter is one of his best customers. It's always happy hour, the Redskins are always winning, and there's always a seat outside on the patio.
We miss you, Wayne.
We will never forget.
Read Wayne's Tribute on legacy.com
Read Wayne's Memorial on CNN.com